From professional fashion photography to family snapshots, the Instagram account “Lebanese Fashion History” documents Lebanese life via images of the fashion and social upheaval of the late 20th century. Its creator, an Australian fashion designer with Lebanese roots, told the FRANCE 24 Observers team what inspired him to create the first archive of Lebanese fashion history.
Australian fashion designer Joe Challita launched the Instagram account “Lebanese Fashion History” in March 2021, garnering 22,000 followers to date. Challita lives in the United Arab Emirates but his family is originally from Lebanon. The designer dedicates his free time to this online public archive of Lebanese fashion history.
Challita lived in Beirut from 2011 to 2020 after leaving Sydney in order to discover more of his home country. He moved to Abu Dhabi after the explosion at the Port of Beirut in August 2020.
‘The explosion also triggered this nostalgia’
When I left Lebanon after the explosion and moved to Abu Dhabi, I was seeing Lebanon from an outsider’s sort of viewpoint or eyes. And I think the explosion also triggered this nostalgia. This feeling that we must fight for our country, we must do something for our country. And I thought what can I do? You know, I thought the only way I can fight for my country is through my knowledge, my academic background and as a designer, I can fight through fashion.