By Fatmé Fahda – Spring 2015 Lebanese designer Sarah Beydoun founded Sarah’s Bag in 2000. Sarah, among other Lebanese designers who came of age during the country’s seventeen-year civil war and are now rebuilding their country’s cultural life through their work in fashion, design, art and music is what inspired Sarah’s Bag to come to life.
During her studies, Sarah worked with a local NGO, House of Hope, which helps rehabilitate former prostitutes and ex-prisoners. Sarah was then moved to combine her work with underprivileged women with her love of fashion. Sarah’s Bag employs over 200 female prisoners and ex-prisoners in Lebanon and trains them as skilled artisans – its aesthetic gets more intricate and stronger with each collection. The women loved the plan, especially the upfront payment they received regardless of whether Beydoun sold the item. But everything sold.
“The trick Sarah’s Bag pulled off was evolving from cause to legitimate fashion brand, and that was only ultimately possible by putting the story second and the fashion first.” – Business of Fashion
Sarah’s bag proved that social entrepreneurship can be stylish and women across the Arab world acquired a taste for accessories that are unique, handmade and a celebration of Arab culture. The company’s success has reached Dubai, Kuwait, Amman, Jeddah, Cairo, and Riyadh. Through the long reach of Lebanese Diaspora, every year new points of sale for Sarah’s Bag sprung up in cities such as Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Marrakech.
As a brand renowned for its unique structure, every season, Sarah’s Bag seems to outdo itself. The spring designs feature vibrantly colored clutches and leather bags made with exquisite beadwork and woodwork, some of them adorned with tropical birds, fruits, and landscapes.
Sarah’s Bag is available online at http://shop.sarahsbag.com. Prices range from $15 to $950, though most items are between $100 and $300.