"The whole point is creating clothing that is comfortable and loveable" – Rebecca Gabbai
Buro 24/7 Middle East explores new label Lu Re
Created by half Palestinian and half Saudi Lulwa Al Kilani (Lu) and half Chinese and half Italian Rebecca Gabbai (Re) – which is where the name of the brand derives – Lu Re aims to bring out every women's inner confidence, beauty and character – freeing her from discomfort and commercial styles.
The brand's core belief in empowerment is even further echoed as 10% of all profits from sales are donated to women starting their own businesses in disadvantaged communities around the world.
Buro 24/7 Middle East sits down with one of the creative founders Rebecca Gabbai as she talks us through the new Lu Re collection 2014 and how she started in the business of stylish loungewear...
The word “pyjama” did not always stand for clothes for sleeping. It used to also refer to loungewear, day wear, or just clothes worn throughout the day.
I have always dressed for comfort, I have a belief that you will always look your best when you are at your most comfortable, wearing something you love. For me, comfort is important, but so is a story or a design that I love and can relate to. My research into pyjamas revealed a rich history of what was initially lounge-clothing worn by men and women, throughout all times of the day. These beautiful clothes were not discarded at a whim – as they were made of beautiful materials of wonderful colours and patterns: they could be worn for many occasions.
I wanted to bring back this luxurious lifestyle where people are dressed by materials that are intricately designed and produced, and in styles that are comfortable, practical and beautiful.
Talk us through the design process – how does it go from idea to creation?
I started the design process a year ago in 2013. I first chose six colours to inspire me, from there I matched them with six cultures. The next process was the most creative, where I would use images, motifs and patterns historically linked to each culture, to create a digital design to match each colour.
Following was the fabric and tailoring process, each design was matched with blouses inspired by their traditional cuts and clothing patterns. I chose one of the most luxurious fabrics available – silk charmeuse from Hangzhou: a material that mixes the best of classic silk with modern spandex. The liquid feel of the material is not only heavenly to touch, it also frames the body in the most flattering drape.
The pants themselves are all the classic slim line style, featuring my invention of the double-elastic waistband (which is not only more comfortable, but also shapes the figure). Once complete, the designs all told their own story, and from there it was to choose a name to match the story of each pattern.
Who would you most like to see in your designs?
Everyone! We have started with a womens collection, but have already been asked to go into menswear and especially childrenswear. It would be amazing to see more people believing in our designs, the whole point is creating clothing that is comfortable and loveable. Every time someone purchases one of our sets or is interested in our concept, we already feel like we've made it!
What is your biggest source of inspiration?
History, antiques, tradition: all of these things that have survived centuries and still stand out in our modern world, I find them fascinating. The past is my inspiration, but not because I dwell in it, but because if we remember the lessons from before – we cannot go wrong in future adventures. I think it is very sad to forget where we come from, we can only evolve from past mistakes and successes.
What is the greatest advice you ever received? Who was it from and why was it so great?
My mother always taught me to “follow my heart”, it may sound cliché but it is remarkable from a woman who has been dealt some tough cards in her life. We lost my father when I was quite young, and she has been the one pillar of strength and love for me, my brother and the rest of the family ever since. She has owned her own business for over 40 years, and I have always wanted to be like her- tough and smart – but she always told me that believing yourself is the true way. Following her advice has never failed me, and if being like her is the result, I will continue doing so!
How did the brand come about?
Creating a brand that focuses on things we love, on making the wearer comfortable and beautiful – these were our first goals. We then decided that parts of our profits would go directly to women starting their own businesses in disadvantaged communities. Investing in each other is a very rewarding act, working with Lulwa, who works in the humanitarian field, is also a very inspiring and grounding force.
I have always dreamt of designing my own collection, I am not really a commercial designer. To be honest I don't follow trends much, but I do love beautiful things. I love colours, patterns, and beautiful materials. I was also lucky to find a partner (Managing Director Lulwa Al Kilani) who believed in my designs, at the time we wanted to make sure that we made something that gave back to our community.
Who does what for the business?
As of now I am solely in charge of the design direction and running of the business, Lulwa is away at Tufts University doing a Masters in Diplomacy. We are both very supportive of each other, she respects my individuality and designs, and I in turn respect her advice and commentary. We balance each other out.
Tell us about the name – what does it mean and why did you chose it?
I think it is quite obvious once you hear our names that Lu Re derives from Lulwa and Rebecca. We also liked the fact that it spells “lure”, which reflects the attraction that naturally derives from encountering beautiful things.
Lu Re's collection 2014 is available to purchase at www.lu-re.com, and exclusively at the Zein K store at The Four Seasons Amman