STAND Up!: LvPxAlsama, an upcycling service transforming clothes with hand-embroidery in Lebanon
“Our model allows us to tackle both the environmental and social issues within the fashion industry, and have a tangible impact on the lives of our artisans”, states Larissa Von Planta. She is the entrepreneur behind LvPxAlsama in Lebanon, a postgraduate in womenswear from Central Saint Martins (United Kingdom) who created this idea out of her haute couture atelier, where she spent most of her time working on custom-made commissions.
This fashion designer has launched an upcycling service that transforms pre-loved clothes with fine hand-emboridery providing regular employment to female artisans in Lebanon. They work closely with their team of artisans and then customers are happy because their pre-loved garments are given back ready for a new life. At the same time, artisans can find with this project regular employment and have income security. “Through our costumer base, we can provide reliable income streams for Beirut’s female artisans”, says Larissa.
This is especially important as artisanal craft is often relegated to unreliable markets such as tourism, which undervalue the skill and creative expression of artisans. “The long-term relationships that we have with various groups of female artisans in Lebanon provide access to global markets and regular productive work for the artisans”, explains the Lebanese entrepreneur.
Out of the 131 applicants to the program, 22 projects were selected by Berytech to join STAND Up! and were then narrowed down to 11 to pitch their ideas in front of a pool of jury members and more than 110 attendees. LvPxAlSama is one of the four finalists selected that will be part of the 20 early and growth-stage ventures supported to reduce environmental footprint in the Mediterranean region.
From an environmental point of view, the upcycling process provides a technical solution by creating value from what would otherwise be waste. That means that each upcycled piece is an item of waste saved, extending the life-cycle of clothes and proving that loved clothes last. During the training sessions provided by Berytech, Larissa Von Planta was glad of hearing expert experiences of the textile and fashion industry. “The biggest motivation was that our mentors really gave their all, I was moved at times by how much effort the brilliant women leading the program put into it”, recognizes Von Planta.
They started with 30 pieces in their first collection to now over 100, which they can do three times a year. The project is about to expand to supporting more embroiderers and Larissa has been amazed to see a core team build itself up with such energy and commitment.