When she was 7, Rouba el Murr did not play dress up with her mother’s clothes; she painted on them and cut out the fabric to design her own. The 7-year-old devoured fashion magazines and studied runway shows. She announced to her parents: I want to be a fashion designer. Twenty-two years later, she is.
What was the first outfit you ever created?
A colorful bohemian dress, inspired by my mother’s flowing, gypsy-like style. I have always loved her fashion sense.
How did your parents react when you told them you wanted to be a designer?
My mother was supportive from the start; she bought me a child’s sewing machine so that I could make clothes for my Barbie. She said I should do whatever makes me happy, and that if that was fashion then she would do all that she could to help me.
My grandmother, who did craft work with her hands—sewing, embroidery— began teaching me her techniques. I learned a lot about art from her too.
And your father?
My father struggled at first with the idea of a career in the arts. He would have preferred I become an engineer, a career path he considered safer. But when I began taking courses in graphic design and later fashion design, he saw how happy I was and how well I was doing and became my biggest supporter.
What helped you get to the Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design in London?
I was a young girl from Hadath Baabda with a lot of optimism, hard work and a scholarship!
It takes courage to go on such a journey. Weren’t you afraid of failure?
Failure is simply an experience. One cannot learn and succeed without passing through the ups and downs. Failure never scared me because I knew that if it ever happened, I would simply get up and start again. I knew I wanted to be in fashion.
What is it about fashion and design that you love so much?
Fashion is an artistic world by itself, and fashion design is my lifestyle. I create because it is what I love to do. It is the moment in which I am mindful. Fashion as a whole is a cycle of trends that come and go. However, a woman’s sense of individuality and oneness shall remain the same.
Why did you choose to return to Lebanon now as a designer?
The word “international” is big for me. It comes with a lot of responsibilities. I am still at the earliest stages of becoming an international designer. But with regard to Lebanon, it is simply HOME. It always feels good to come HOME.
My country has had a great influence on me, both as a designer and in creating my brand. And Beirut in particular is where all the magic happens: the inspiration, the creation and the production. I think every person must honor and represent their country. It is a pleasure and duty to represent mine through my work.
What inspires your work?
My creative process is a reflection of whatever is happening in my life at that moment. Every new collection is born from a moment of inspiration that defines the initial theme. It could be a book, an exhibition, a documentary.
“I create because it is what I love.”
Then I do my research: I explore the major variables of the collection, such as colors, patterns, structures. At the same time, I work with these elements as the founding components to create my own fabrics. In the final two stages of my process, I work on structural design simulation through dedicated drawings and sketches, then, of course, I create the prototypes.
What are the greatest challenges you face in this process?
Fashion is a very competitive industry in which there is a lot of talent. My greatest challenge is constantly working on the brand and its identity, staying up to date and doing a lot of research to keep my inspiration flowing and my creations new.
Tell us about your brand’s identity. How would you characterize those who wear Rouba.G?
The Rouba.G woman is proactive and daring. She expresses herself differently.
And what about you? What defines you?
Well, I am a happy girl. I love my family and feel so lucky that they support my dream. My father is my role model; he is my greatest influence and best advisor. I admire him for the life he built for his family, working hard, never giving up.
I also feel that I am defined by what I love. My tastes and interests are reflected in my personality and my work. I love all colors but my favorites are Fog Grey and Metal Grey, for fabrics, wool and leather. My favorite styles tend to be more ethnic.I admire many designer brands, such as Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood and Yves Saint Laurent.
If you could talk to that little girl who was, once upon a time, dreaming of designing clothes, what would you say to her?
I would tell her to keep going and take the risks, no matter what people and the odds say. I would tell her not to be afraid of failure or of being herself.
What are your hopes for the future?
In five years, I would like to be doing something to ease the suffering I see around me in the world. I would like my collections to speak for causes I believe in and serve to raise awareness and inspire positive change.
For instance, my latest collection is called EARTH, and its purpose is to raise awareness of just how beautiful our planet is and the gravity of the damage we are doing to it.
What is the best part of your day?
Whenever it is time to eat!See as Published