After a tumultuous year in Lebanon, Beirut-based brand Boyfriend is powering through into 2021 with the launch of its very own e-shop. On this occasion, the ready-to-wear label has also launched a poignant new collection, which is exclusively revealed to Vogue Arabia by designer Amine Jreissati.
The word sajeen, meaning prisoner, is at the core of the inspiration behind the collection. It is the last word of the song Wayhet Eli Rahou, translating to “I swear on the lives of those who have gone,” taken from the musical Sayf 840 and sung by Hoda, Fairuz’s sister and Hiba Tawaji. Patriotism is rooted deep in the makings of the collection with Jreissati collaborating with only local businesses and artisans every step of the way. This includes working with Beirut-based factories, a local threader from the mountains, as well as the more renowned Lebanese brand Hassidriss which has lent the embroidery of the song lyrics to the pieces.
We caught up with the designer virtually to learn more about the collection and the future of Boyfriend the brand.
What made you want to launch your own e-shop?
The e-shop was always part of the brand’s 2020 plan. Unfortunately, and ironically, 2020 happened. Additionally, everything Lebanon, its people, and its businesses (big and small) endured, lived, and went through made it impossible for us to develop our e-commerce let alone our business properly. And after having lost our physical showroom on August 4, it was the obvious step for us to launch our digital platform. And here we are today launching boyfriendthebrand.com.
Do you have a favorite piece from the new collection?
This collection is my favorite out of Boyfriend’s seven collections. To pick one piece is quite difficult I must say… But I have to admit that two one-off pieces have a special place in my heart. Both are hand-embroidered abayas, and both with the lyrics of the inspirational song Wayhet Eli Rahou. The first abaya has a 3D hand-embroidered spinal cord along the back, and the proceeds of its sale will go to FabricAid organization whose goal is to deliver good quality clothing into the hands of people who need them , while reducing fabric waste.
The other piece is hand-threaded entirely with the colors of Beirut’s explosion which will be donated to Creatives for Lebanon who will host an auction for which the proceeds will support the rebuilding of Beirut’s creative community.
What is the most important thing that this year has taught you?
Well, I think that 2020 has taught the entire world so much; how to adapt to a new way of life, how to rethink our entire being, and how to slow down. It taught us to be mentally strong and physically more aware, and of course to take nothing for granted. But most importantly, and of course, being Lebanese, it taught me that life can change in a second.
Why is it so important now to collaborate with and support local talent?
To be honest, it has always been of the utmost importance to me; collaborating and/or supporting local talent. It is vital to push each other, share our knowhow, expertise, and talent; to support, help and grow one another. It makes the entire adventure and process richer and much more interesting. I would even say that it’s our duty. We’re all in this together aren’t we?
What is next for Boyfriend the Brand?
I’d say next steps, there are just so many! It’s all quite exciting. But I must say that the main focus will be sustainability, and working towards making the brand part of everyone’s daily lives, by being more diverse and adapted to today’s lifestyle
How do you envision the pieces being worn?
On him. On her. On they. In the morning, at noon, in bed. For lunch or dinner, and in between. In the fall and in the spring, the summer or the winter. Your Boyfriend, ready at any time and for everyone.