Renwa Yassin Explores The Similarities Of Cultures

Her Roots collection is an ode to Africa

Renwa Yassin Explores The Similarities Of Cultures
Yaseen Dockrat

Renwa Yassin is an African designer with roots in the Middle East. As a child she was driven to understand these two cultures, how they differed and, vitally, how they connected.  Moved by the idea that “Cultures have no barriers” she aims to show these ideas through her collections.

Renwa Yassin‘s Roots collection is her expression and gratitude that the designer has for Africa, the place she spent most of her youth. It is Africa that serves as the source of her strength and inspiration. Here, Yassin explains the creation and direction of her eponymous fashion line.

Renwa Yassin Explores The Similarities Of Cultures

Where are you from and where are you based?

I am originally from Lebanon, but was born and raised in the Ivory Coast. This where I’m based right now, and work with several Lebanese artisans on a project to expand into the Middle East.

You have an interesting story, travelling and living between Africa and the Middle East, tell us a little bit about your life.

I feel lucky that I grew up between Africa and Lebanon, surrounded by nature and beautiful cultures.  I find my inspiration just by looking around me, and I am always trying natural and sustainable fabrics by working with local artisans and merging both cultural heritages in my designs.

Renwa Yassin Explores The Similarities Of Cultures

Tell us about the impulse and origins of how you became a designer?

I have always wanted to be a designer since I was a little girl. I can’t tell you exactly when because the desire has always been there.

Is it difficult to continuously try and innovate?

It’s not easy! There are a lot of challenges and deceptions, and fashion moves very fast. But when you do this job with passion, the motivation to make and create new things always remains.

Renwa Yassin Explores The Similarities Of Cultures

How do you balance originality with a commercial appeal?

It’s easy to do what everyone expects of us, I think you have to dare and let your intuition guide you and know how to break the rules if you want to, I just make designs based on my inspirations that come at the moment and then without asking too many questions I try to see them on women who want to be comfortable and who will be able to wear them several times if it feels good.

Which designer do you admire the most and why?

Stella McCartney for her approach to sustainable fabrics and Azzedine Alaia for her timeless cuts.

 If your clothes had a soundtrack, what would it be?

“Sunlight des tropiques” by Suna feat yumi.

Renwa Yassin Explores The Similarities Of Cultures

What struggles have helped shape you throughout your career?

Pressure, criticism, and many people have told me to give up. You have to have a lot of patience and a lot of courage to be able to inspire yourself and with time you learn and look at things differently.

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind this current collection?

In Africa, cowries are very spiritual and bring happiness to the wearer. They are worn during ceremonies. I was fascinated by the belief around the cowrie and the energy it has.

You are nominated as one of the Fashion Trust Arabia (FTA) finalists in the RTW category. Tell us about the collection.

I’m looking forward to presenting my new collection, it’s inspired by the lands I come from, so we rework local and traditional fabrics to give them a modern touch and a different approach.