The Creative Space was launched on June 1, 2011 in Beirut, Lebanon. It is a free intensive educational program that aims to inspire and empower youth from various backgrounds, through fashion design. Gathering for seven hours a day, five times a week, the initiative functions out of a vibrant space in Saifi Urban Gardens.
The project is run by Sarah Hermez, a graduate from the BFA Fashion Design program at Parsons the New School for Design, and Caroline Shlala- Simonelli, a part-time faculty member at The School of Fashion at Parsons the New School for Design and Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Caroline has had a long and highly praised career in the fashion business. During the summer, Sarah and Caroline taught a class of five students between the ages of 16-22, from different backgrounds, lifestyles and education who lack fair opportunities and have an interest in fashion design.
Their goal was to guide their students on the road to discovering the roots of their creative ideals through fashion, creating an atmosphere of teamwork and collaboration while promoting individuality. Throughout the two months, the class worked together to create an haute-couture collection, with each student responsible for designing and producing at least two garments that contributed towards the final collection, that was showcased in a selling exhibition in the beginning of August 2011.
The long-term vision for The Creative Space is to develop a participatory, democratic educational system that also serves as a brand, a system that generates income by producing and selling collections in which profits are equally distributed among designers, giving them opportunities to work and sustain their lives.
The Creative Space is a journey- not to make clothes, but to make designers.
More images can be found on The Creative Space Flickr page.