The fashion capital of the Middle East has always been Beirut, and L.I.P.S. Management with its CEO – Johnny Fadlallah has battled to recover its place through the commitments made in the course of recent years and to give the best fashion weeks and events with its topnotch presentations and achievements. We interviewed Johnny Fadlallah and here is everything you need to know about his views on fashion, recent events, and his next big steps.
What do you expect from the second edition of Designers & Brands?
Designers & Brands will be held at the Four Seasons hotel in Beirut from the 20th till the 22nd of March. I expect that it’s going viral. We have had about 9 countries in the last edition of Designers & Brands, now we have 14 countries. Instead of having 30 media partner, we now have 42 media partners, and it’s going bigger and bigger. So, the whole country is talking about it, even before it started. And of course we have a huge number of attendees because there are 8 or 9 embassies attending and they are getting the diplomatic world to attend as well.
What do you believe is new or different in Designers & Brands this year than the year before?
It never happened that we’ve had 25 back-to-back shows in Beirut, and it is a formula that we’ve worked at for about at least 3 years. We tested it in the last edition and it went very well. The difference is that we are highlighting the designers and the brand not the fashion week name. Here, the hero is the designer or the brand name. We will have 25 designers and brands from Lebanon and all over the world participating in the event. Also, there will be an Egyptian designer for the first time, the talented Farida Temraz. There will also be live streaming of the event for people all over the world to watch it.
Tell us more about the first fashion show in Saudi Arabia held by you!
Actually Saudi Arabia went great, we were the pioneers of holding fashion shows. We had 21 fashion shows held over 3 days, in Jeddah Hilton, sponsored by Princess Moda Bint Nasser Bin Abdelaziz Al Seoud, on the 22nd of February, 2018. Participating in the event were Saudi designers Amal Ankawi, Latifa Moamena, Lobna Shaaban, and many more. The guest star of the event was the Kuwaiti social media star, Noha Nabil.
In your point of view, what should an Arab designer do in order to reach global lights?
In my opinion, a designer should have creativity, should never copy anyone, and should have a line to draw for his career. He should have at least 2 fashion activities. Sometimes free events could ruin his reputation.
In your own opinion, is the purpose of fashion shows to sell clothes or are they simply a method of advertising the designer's brand?
Both. And it would be better soon since we are holding in parallel showrooms for international buyers.
What does the word “fashion” mean to you? And what is your outlook on fashion in general?
Fashion is a means to a lifestyle and a process to be trendy. It has many meanings but the outcome of it is beauty. And in fashion, less is always more.
How did fashion bring a change in your life?
My background is computer science and I was working at an NGO. In 1991, I started my mission into the fashion world and now I got to the point of becoming the godfather of fashion in Lebanon.
What is your next huge step in fashion?
We are holding on the 21st of April the biggest fashion competition among young fashion designers, it’s called Beirut Young Fashion Designer Competition, where we are having Rabie Kayrouz as the head of jury and we have a celebrity guest star, Victoria Bonya as well. We also parted with Elle magazine to have them as the main media partner. So mainly this is the hugest event of this year.
There is no deny that Johnny Fadlallah is the current Godfather and Guru of fashion in Lebanon and the Middle East, and with his upcoming events, we are certain that his future success will overrule everyone in the fashion industry not just in the Middle East, but all over the world.