BEIRUT: Lebanese designer Rouba Moukadem’s exceptional design philosophy empowers women and renders her an exemplar for emerging designers to pursue their utmost passion.
Tripoli born designer discovered her passion for fashion at a very young age. As a child, she used to stuff fabric dolls and style them; later, she quickly learned how to sew and created some of her outfits. Her initial inspiration lingered within the glorious era of the 70s and 80s. She stated that the fashion scene that proliferated during Dalida’s live concert in el Mina in the late seventies as well as the one revived in “Dynasty,” the reminiscent show set in the eighties, gravely marked her path.
Moukadem was an Economics honor list student at the American University of Beirut. Yet, she decided to drop her major and enroll herself in ESMOD Athens (Veloudakis) for three years, embracing her true passion. She then spent another three years in Paris as she attended the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne; during her stay in Paris, she did three prominent internships at the Maison Dior.
“My designs are closer to the western approach and modern fashion. I love to mold the fabric, feel its weight, touch its texture, and imagine who is going to wear it and to what occasion; that’s my approach to design. Drawing was always frustrating for me, I needed something real! I favor the cut to the ornament and personalized and custom made is what I enjoy the most. The outcome always stands out as it reflects my client’s personality,” she shared with Annahar.
In summer 1995, Moukadem returned to reside and flourish in Lebanon. She started working from home until she opened her atelier and boutique in 1998. Two years ago, she celebrated 20 years of her atelier in a retrospective exhibition set in the abandoned train station in Mina, a place which holds a sincere nostalgic sense in its own way.
Throughout her rich career path, Moukadem faced a plethora of challenges that she never surrendered to. However, one of her biggest challenges was of sentimental and personal value to her.
“I remember my father never wanted me to drop science and choose humanities or art, let alone fashion design! He wanted a higher education for me as I always earned top grades. To be exact, he stopped talking to me for three months back then; though I’m sure he was proud of me before he passed away!” she noted.
“Another challenge that I faced throughout my career was to stay credible to my clientele while operating only from Tripoli and not investing in big shows, events, and promotions abroad. Thus, my brand was never about an inflated image; on the contrary, it has always been more about a real product and a contemporary yet timeless garment that everyone loves to keep.”
When discussing her stance on High Fashion in the Arab world, Moukadem stated that the latter is evolving in the Arab world thanks to the Lebanese designers’ constant and significant successes in the international scene and on the Red Carpet in specific. She also noted that Casual Arab Fashion still needs to exert rigorous endeavors to catch up with the modern world, favoring practicality, comfort, and ecological concerns.
Rouba Moukadem has also left her mark in the domain of women empowerment. For International Women’s Day, she designed the “me” T-shirt which aims to celebrate each woman’s uniqueness.
"In a world of standardized looks and viral contents, I wanted to say to the women that you don’t need to fit in to be special... You are different, embrace your true selves and that’s how the ‘me’ T-shirt came out! It was also a hint to the fake belief of value granted when you wear a T-sirt shouting just a logo!" she told Annahar.
With over 22 years of experience, Lebanese designer Rouba Moukadem continues to strive within the prolific field of fashion, while maintaining her alignment of aesthetics and refinement in the esteem of ethics and utility. She ardently believes in the uniqueness of every piece she creates for her clienteles, for they are her true muses and models.
Welcome to “NAYA," the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. NAYA is devoted to women of all generations-NAYA Editor, Sally Farhat: Sally.email@example.com
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