Saudi Arabian fashion designer Lamia and Syrian fashion designer Rakan decided to form their fashion house Lamrak while working at Esmod, Beirut. Lamrak is a combination of elegance and modernity… Now we can say İstanbul is Lamrak’s hometown. Trying to create a new fashion taste for modern, feminine women, it’s time to meet Lamia & Rakan!
How did you two come together? And why did you decide to live and work in Istanbul?
We became close friends during our studies at Esmod, Beirut. After the situation in Beirut became unstable, we had to move to a safer country in order to express our creativeness in a peaceful mindset. We started working together for the reason that our ideas and designs fit perfectly. So, we decided to establish our own fashion brand, since it was our dream from a young age.
Can you tell us how you embraced this city and how you are working on forming the same emotions in return?
It was not difficult embracing the glorious Istanbul seeing that we have not faced extensive cultural differences in view of the fact that the culture here is somewhat similar to that of Arab countries in general. We are representing our traditions and cultures (Saudi Arabia and Syria) through our designs. We are getting rid of the stereotypical image that people around the globe have laid on Arabs, by demonstrating modern designs with an oriental twist to it.
Is there a figure that influenced your inclination towards fashion?
The figure that influenced our inclination towards fashion would be the legendary Egyptian actress Soad Hosny. She was a fashion icon in the golden age cinema (1960s) in the Arab world, her sense of fashion was daring yet classy- the optimum representation of a women. A rebel of her time.
Can you tell us about your design process, from the first drawing to design to the manufacturing? What is your work share? Or do you prefer to work together in every step?
Lamia & Rakan: Prior to designing the clothing we agree on an inspirational topic and we research further into it. After gathering all of the necessary information we create a mood board which would be the soul of all of our designs, upon making the mood board we start the process of designing the clothing. All of our designs are produced in our atelier and all of the details on our designs are handmade. We prefer to work together in all of the designing and manufacturing processes.
Could you tell us about your upcoming collection?
The upcoming collection is inspired by the 1920s era (ART DECO). Unlike other designers who copied the designs of a certain era, what makes us unique is that we are creating different volumes and modern designs with details that capture the richness and elegance of the 1920’s. In our designs we involve both modern details and the essence of the 1920s.
How does sticking to a certain style aesthetic affect the creativity of a fashion designer? Do you think it limits creativity?
Yes, it definitely limits creativity within a fashion designer. We always think outside the box and sticking to a certain aesthetic style would corner the designer’s creativity within a box. Not sticking to certain design is what captures a lot of different and unique customers attention and help a brand stand out.
The key point of your design is “feel unique!” From that point of view, how do you see fashion today? Will you do more bespoke pieces in the feature?
We see that fashion today is based on old fashion styles brought back to life with a more innovative outlook. We will certainly have more bespoke pieces featured in every season.
Do you believe that the Internet can help one change the current fashion industry?
We believe that the Internet is not just changing current fashion industries; moreover, it is changing the whole world.
“We do not believe that the fashion industry has any restrictions on creativity; fashion varies in style, sense and time. We all exist in the same era, however, you still find different and unique designs out there.”
When you consider the speed and development of fashion today, how do the rules of the industry affect your creative process?
We do not consider fashion as a certain era. Fashion is a timeline, starting from the birth of fashion and it is still going on. However, fashion trends are changing quickly and we find that it is only natural for us to do so. Fashion just like anything in the world develops and changes; we discover new trends and explore old ones. We do not believe that the fashion industry has any restrictions on creativity, fashion varies in style, sense and time. We all exist in the same era, however, you still find different and unique designs out there. You find older designs or more modern ones, simple designs or more complex ones.
What do you think is the biggest challenge of your job?
The most difficult aspect of our job is balancing between quality and quantity and satisfying customers demand.
How do you renew yourself and your mind with every collection?
We renew ourselves before every collection by discovering new things and being updated on our surroundings, from history to architecture.