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Phillip Lim on Launching a Limited Edition Collection to Raise Funds for Beirut

Phillip Lim, Beirut

Phillip Lim wearing the ‘Beirut. Tougher Than Ever’ sweatshirt. Photo: Instagram/@therealphilliplim

On August 4, 2020, Beirut, Lebanon witnessed one of the world’s largest, most devastating blasts. In an effort to help citizens rebuild their lives, regional and international industry icons have been using their platforms and mobilizing their fans and followers to contribute what they can. Among them is American fashion designer Phillip Lim.

Lim collaborated with Ruba Abu-Nimah, the creative Director at Revlon, to produce limited edition, screen-printed sweatshirts that boldly bear the slogan “Beirut. Tougher Than Ever” in both English and Arabic. The sales proceeds from these sweatshirts will be donated to the two organizations working on the ground in Beirut: the Lebanese Red Cross and Slow Factory.

We caught up with the designer to learn more about this project.

How did the collaboration with Ruba Abu-Nimah come to be?  

We are friends and also neighbors who experienced the beginnings of the pandemic and stayed in New York City through the entire quarantine. Together we witnessed it all — the human emotions, struggles, anger, resilience, and hope. We decided we must do something about this energy and harness in a way that we can use it for good.

Courtesy of 3.1 Philip Lim

Why did you choose the words “Beirut. Tougher Than Ever” for the sweatshirts?

It started with the NY Tougher Than Ever project that Ruba and I created in response to the pandemic to remind all New Yorkers how resilient and strong they are. So, when the devastation took place in Beirut, it felt like a natural extension to evolve this message for the Lebanese people.

How important is the power of fashion in supporting the victims of tragedies such as the one in Beirut?  

There has never been another time in history where fashion’s reach has been more mainstream and part of popular culture. With this new expansive platform, we can no longer just say “it doesn’t affect me, I’m just a designer”. It is our shared responsibility to play a role in helping to shape and be accountable for society.

As a designer yourself, what is your message to the Lebanese designers whose creativity was affected by the blasts?  

I would love to share with them the message to stay strong and keep the faith because Beirut is tougher than ever.

Read Next: Public Figures from Lebanon and Beyond React to the Blasts in Beirut

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