Balancing the limitless responsibilities of motherhood with the creative intricacies of being a designer is no easy task but, for Rula Galayini, a new collection from her eponymous handbag label presents the ideal opportunity to explore this newfound relationship between her two colliding worlds. Named “The Balancing Act”, Galayini’s SS20 collection reflects the absurdness the Lebanese designer often feels when she pulls an item from her handbag that doesn’t belong there but in the hands of her new child—whether it’s a Lego block or a stuffed animal—and the ensuing desire she feels as a working mother to regain that fragile sense of balance between her divergent lives.
Bringing the contagious curiosity embedded in each child to life through vibrant hues and imaginative silhouettes, the latest pieces from the 2016 Vogue Fashion Prize finalist is a novel representation of the fun found in the everyday. While the mini Beau bag reminiscent of a pop-up storybook offers more space than its two-dimensional appearance alludes, the latest version of Rula Galayini’s signature clutch featuring intertwining gold plated squares evokes memories of dancing toddlers. However, the top handle bag named Freya after the Norse goddess of fertility with hardware symbolic of Wonder Woman’s infamous emblem is the true tribute to the superpowers found within every working mother.
Sustainability remains at the heart of each collection through an entirely Middle Eastern-based creative and manufacturing process. Beginning in Dubai where Galayini resides, the design is finalized—sometimes with input from regional retailers—before being handed over to artisans in Lebanon to completely handcraft it in local factories in an effort to be both a socially and ecologically responsible model for the region.
“As part of our belief in developing strong ties within the Middle Eastern community, we often visit each factory we partner with to build strong personal relationships with our artisans,” explained Galayini. “In cultivating these relationships, we ensure every design is crafted with integrity. From design and raw material production to manufacturing and transport, we aim for sustainability and a reduced carbon footprint.”
Capturing the attention of style-savvy regional stars from Dorra Zarrouk and Salma Abu Deif to Raya Abirached and Laila Eloui, the Middle East is not only at the heart of the UAE-based brand but also the “raison d’etre” of everything they create, explained Galayini. “As an Arab living as an expat for most of my life, I have always dreamt of being able to represent our region in a different light—to be able to show the rest of the world that we have so much more to offer beyond the existing stereotype,” she said.
Well on her way to doing so through an appearance on the fashion-imbued TV series The Carrie Diaries and the recognition of being named one of Vogue UK’s 100 best bags, Galayini continues to shine a much-deserved international spotlight on Arab designers in the Western world.
Scroll through the gallery below to see more of the handbags from Rula Galayini’s playful SS20 campaign.