THE NEW STARCH CREW 2016
From a low key start eight years ago as a small fashion hub for emerging talent, Starch today commands global attention. Last February, Starch co-founder Tala Hajjar and nine Starch graduates had traveled to London’s Somerset House to participate in the International Fashion Showcase. They presented “Blueprint Beirut”, an installation dedicated to their Lebanese heritage, and amongst 24 countries and 80 designers they took home the Curator Award.
When Hajjar teamed up with Lebanese fashion patriarch Rabih Kayrouz to launch Starch in 2008, their mission was, loosely, to support emerging fashion designers. With each year, the foundation’s structure evolved, and they began accepting talent in other disciplines: jewelry, handbags, accessories. True to their word and the evolution of the program, Kayrouz and Hajjar welcomed applications across categories this time around. The only criterion was that they must be pushing the boundaries of design.
The 2016 lineup, that debuted at Fashion Forward Dubai in April, promises to be one of Starch’s most exciting: a fashion designer and an interior architect, but also a team of product designers, a “design documenter” and a “storyteller.”
From left to right:
Sayar & Gharibeh, product designers and interior architects
Product design duo Stephanie Sayar and Charbel Gharibeh push simple pieces forward with new materials, forms and humor. They are creating several objects exclusively for Starch, including a sculptural floor lamp and a Lebanese kibbeh plate, which features a motif their mothers carve into the traditional dish with kitchen knives.
Lobnan Mahfouz, fashion designer
Don’t even attempt to confine Lobnan Mahfouz’s work to one category. The founder of Perverse Label designs unisex and aseasonal pieces intended to transcend gender, culture and even personality. Playing with texture and familiar silhouettes, his work appears to adapt to its individual wearer.
Vladimir Kurumilian, interior architect
Vladimir Kurumilian’s work is at the intersection of visual art and music. An interior architect, multidisciplinary artist and composer, his mesmerizing video projections and installations often unfold to an original piano soundtrack. Kurumilian was selected by the Starch Foundation to reimagine this year’s Beirut boutique.
Sana Asseh, design documenter
Sana Asseh’s unusual background in documenting design and manufacturing processes has translated into a minimalist collection of notebooks and picture frames for Starch. Each object explores a different binding or framing technique, altering the way it is used and its contents perceived.
Salim Azzam, storyteller and illustrator
When local craftswomen tell their stories, Salim Azzam listens – and then recounts them in an illustration. The same women interpret his sketches on the designer’s shirts and dresses using traditional embroidery techniques. Together, they pass on wearable tales from Lebanese villages and communities.
Tala Hajjar, Starch co-founder
“I wouldn’t change a single thing about Starch. I would just wink at myself and say, ‘It’s going to be amazing, just you wait and see.’”
Read the full feature in A-magazine issue 83 or online here.