Founded by Rabih Kayrouz and Tala Hajjar, STARCH is a non-profit organisation that helps launch emerging Lebanese designers in international markets.

The annual program hosts a rotation of debut collections from four to six specially-selected young designers, where each are guided through the process of developing their collections, as well as assistance in promoting them in the areas of communication, marketing, branding and public relations. The collections are then presented for a period of one year at the STARCH boutique in Saifi Village, downtown Beirut. Throughout their one-year development program at STARCH, the designers also receive the chance to participate in design related workshops, seminars and collaborations.

As a continuation of Tranoï’s commitment to the development of emerging talent and reinforce its position as a leading creative platform and authoritative source of the best international creativity, Tranoï is proud to welcome the STARCH program to its Homme & Preview show this season.

The five designers representing the STARCH program will be presented in their own dedicated space within the new Tranoï venue, Cité de la Mode et du Design.

Meet the five designers representing the STARCH program at Tranoï Homme & Preview this year:

BASHAR ASSAF is a Beirut-based Lebanese fashion designer. His garments tend to accentuate the female body with sophisticated yet demure silhouettes, solid colours and clean cuts. Graduated from ESMOD Beirut in 2011, he began to work as a designer and a stylist for an array of clients in the Advertising and Entertainment industries both in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. In December 2012, he was chosen as one of the Starch Foundation’s designers where he produced few collections like “Metamorphism”, “Open Heart” and “Hallucinations”.

ELIE METNI is currently completing his diploma of Higher Studies in Architecture at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts (ALBA), where he is also a part time instructor. With a particular interest for product design, Metni constantly explores a projects’ conceptualisation by experimenting with materials and ergonomics. He believes that a project doesn’t end at the completion of its construction but continues as the user starts interacting with the product; one of the reasons why he was selected by Starch Foundation to design the 2015-2016 boutique.

Merging their two cultures and their shared love for nature and animals, Morning Lau from Hong Kong and Yasmine Jaber from Beirut imagine a line of hybrid handbags named EXOCET. After several tests and experimentation (laser cutting plastic, assembling leather, etc.) to create their fictitious animals, the designers finally chose to work with 3D printing, which enabled them to transform almost everything in their mind into tangible objects.

27 year-old designer, Joe Arida grew up in Beirut. Frustrated with the constant disposal of used sets, Arida began crafting durable decorative items, furniture and installations, blending raw and noble materials.  He made the choice to create his own brand LA TERRE EST FOLLE (THE WORLD IS MAD) in 2014. LTF is an artisanal, eclectic brand producing a limited edition of furniture pieces and a clothing line, crafted in Beirut but with worldwide inspiration.

NOUR NAJEM, born and raised in Beirut, graduated in fashion design from ESMOD Beirut in 2012. Throughout her career, she has interned at several Lebanese designers, such as Elie Saab and Caroline Seikaly. She launched her eponymous fashion label, NOUR NAJEM, in the spring of 2013. Najem addresses the modern and independent woman through fluid lines, luscious fabrics, and intricate details. She combines strict geometry and architecture, all the while being anchored in her oriental heritage. She is inspired by a wide range of traditional artistry; artisanal crafts and the know-how that she applies to her designs.