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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Stella McCartney for her approach to sustainable fabrics and Azzedine Alaia for her timeless cuts.
“Sunlight des tropiques” by Suna feat yumi.
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.
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.
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.