BEIRUT: Organizers of Beirut Designers’ Week have postponed the opening of the four-day market featuring local clothing and accessory designers at Zaitunay Bay until Friday afternoon due to weather concerns.
The designer trunk show was scheduled to open Thursday, but the event planning company GATA Events and Promotions made a last-minute decision to move the event one day, after weather forecasts reported a high likelihood of rain Thursday. Organizers also added a day to make up for the postponement and will close the event Monday night.
Weather forecasters are predicting lower chances of rain Friday as well. Sandra Ghattas Ferzli, founder of GATA Events & Promotions, said she hoped this would not discourage people from coming out.
At the inaugural edition of Beirut Designers' Week one year ago, it wasn’t any one dress, bangle or lampshade that made the event memorable, but the overwhelming proportion of women selling their creations.
Most of Beirut’s trade and trunk shows, showcasing everything from wedding venues to real estate, are dominated by male-owned enterprises. But there is one place where women have carved out a business niche, and it’s in the country’s small- to medium-sized design enterprises printing children’s apparel, bedazzling tennis shoes, designing fancy dresses and creating decorative home accessories.
The impressive variety of businesses led by women was the theme threaded through The Daily Star’s coverage of Beirut Designers’ Week in May 2013, and it seems we weren’t the only ones who noticed it. This year’s edition of the open air trunk show, opening Friday afternoon, has themed the event to honor women.
“The event’s name this year is ‘Lebanese Women for a Better Lebanon,’” said Sandra Ghattas Ferzli, founder of the organizing company GATA Events & Promotions. “We have chosen this theme because the majority of the participants are women and with all this rage in the media and with all the press talking about their rights we thought it would be a nice theme.”
The first event of Beirut Designers’ Week will be a private fashion show hosting around 150 of the nation’s most important women, from judges to Parliament members and deputy ministers, Ghattas Ferzli said. The runway show will kick off with some empowering messages from a few of the guests and then feature clothing and accessories from 15 designers.
The trunk show is only in its second year but has attracted a lot of enthusiasm from designers. Across the Facebook page for Beirut Designers’ Week, business owners and their clients and friends have been posting excitedly about the upcoming event, and the tents were booked within two weeks of opening registration, Ghattas Ferzli said. Some stands will be shared by multiple designers as a way to include as many businesses as possible.
This weekend’s edition will have a similar layout to last year, with around 75 tents featuring casual clothing, evening apparel, home accessories, jewelry and leather goods. The event puts a particular emphasis on aspiring designers who do not yet have the resources for a boutique or the proper network to reaching buyers.
“[Beirut Designers’ Week] is to support creativity in Lebanon,” Ghattas Ferzli said. “The designers are Lebanese and their designs are manufactured here. It’s a boost for our economy, even the tourism sector because some people are managing to come down here in spite of the political situation.”