It’s nearly impossible to scroll through our Instagram feeds and stories without seeing images of the likes of Nadine Labaki, Alaa Balkhy, or Nadine Kanso sporting badges emblazoned with the text “Who runs the world?”. Responsible for the empowering crest is none other than Sarah Beydoun, the founder of cult accessories label Sarah’s Bag, as part of the “Women of Wonder” campaign, an initiative that serves to celebrate and support women every day. “We want to recognize and empower all women, regardless of their differences,” shares Beydoun with Vogue.me.
At the heart of the accessory brand lies a mission to advance gender parity. The label’s signature handwork is meticulously crafted by over 200 prisoners, ex- prisoners and underprivileged women, trained by the Sarah’s Bag team and skilled artisans. Some of these women have gone on to train other women3 and even established their own ateliers, “and thus completing a virtuous circle where fashion and the cause are seamlessly intertwined,” the designer says.
We caught up with the designer to find out more about the campaign that coincides with International Women’s Day (March 8).
What does sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood for me is all about kindness, support, respect of women for each other – first and foremost. Ultimately, together we shine brighter, stronger and bolder.
How did the campaign come about?
Throughout our journey at Sarah’s Bag we have encountered countless of women who have been undermined due to gravely unfavorable legislation. Here in Lebanon, we have recently had four women appointed in government office, which hopefully will pave the way for much needed, and way overdue legislative change to improve the personal and economic situations for women in the country. On a positive note, lately, women have been at the forefront of important tremors of change taking place in the Middle East — from a political, environmental, socio-economic, creative and business standpoint. We wanted to encourage and celebrate this progress with a unified movement the inspires support and female camaraderie.
The campaign came about while myself and my sister Malak were brainstorming with the team at MWPR trying to create a positive movement to celebrate the achievement of all women from all walks of life. Hence, the idea of a crest was created as a symbol of women belonging to the same tribes — in struggle, achievement and ambition. We wanted this female belonging and bond to spread — beyond CEO’s or entrepreneurs and recognize and empower all women, regardless of their differences. Women supporting women, every day through the mundane and magnificent.
Name a few women who have inspired you and why
Besides the obvious, I find that the women that I have encountered in prisons and other unfavorable situations have been the most inspiring by their will, grit and courage to survive despite the odds against.
Who do you think is leading change in the region?
Thankfully, there are a lot of women paving the way for amazing change into the Arab world. The ones that I feel are most significant for me currently, are Rayya Hassan, Nadine Labaki, Amal Clooney and Queen Rania.