Local Heroes: Roni Helou On How Beirut Has Influenced His Aesthetic

BY Harper's BAZAAR Arabia / Jul 15 2020 / 07:00 AM

The up-and-coming regional designer shares his story and discusses how his Lebanese heritage has influenced his designs...

Local Heroes: Roni Helou On How Beirut Has Influenced His Aesthetic

Roni Helou creates forward-thinking and androgynous ready-to-wear pieces that simultaneously shed light on both social and environmental issues. Bazzar sat down with the desginer to find out more...

Harper's Bazaar Arabia (HBA): Tell us how you started out, when was your initial ‘lightbulb’ moment?

When I was 10 or 11, I saw my cousin sewing clothes. I decided to try sewing bags together as I had no fabric at my disposal; my family immediately began supporting me by providing me with all the right tools. Over the years, as life happened, I started to distance myself from fashion and designing. It wasn’t until I realised that the path I had chosen wasn’t what I wanted that the lightbulb went off. I applied to Creative Space Beirut, a free school for fashion design, where my boundaries were really pushed. I founded my brand upon graduation.

HBA: How has your heritage and culture impacted your aesthetic?

I come from Lebanon, a beautiful country that, unfortunately, suffers from a long list of problems. My intention as a designer has always been fuelled by a need for change, which has guided me towards ethical production practices via sustainable materials and taking environmental issues into consideration. Beirut, in particular, has affected my aesthetic; my clothes reflect the contrasting, layered city which always seems to find a way to balance itself despite all the chaos.

HBA: What does it mean to you as a designer to be stocked on Matches Fashion?

It’s humbling to see an international platform supporting young Arab ethical designers, such as us. Their application of sustainable methods within all facets of their company is inspiring, and I am constantly working on applying similar values within own my brand, too.

Roni Helou is available at MATCHES FASHION. Lead image courtesy of Instagram/ronihelou

From Harper's Bazaar Arabia June 2020 Issue