Nawal Assaoud: In Celebration of Love and Loss
Posted on December 18, 2016 | By Jad Haidar

The Bourgeoisie have always been against the idea of being seen in public wearing the same piece of clothing, twice. It is a reality, which with the rise of a new generation, not only changed, but is also trending!


Ironically, these energetic, savvy and quite intelligent youngsters, who were privy to a first-class education and upbringing, look at the world in a more sympathetic fashion. “They also are more knowledgeable of who they are, what they want, and where to get it,” explained Nawal Assaoud, founder of Depot-Vente vintage clothing store in Mar Mikhael as her exceptionally soothing voice its way through the telephone receiver made.  

This however, is not the story. The real story behind the launch of this store some five years ago, which she describes as being smaller than some people’s walk-in closets, was a reaction to her only thirteen-year-old child wanting to pave her own way by going out into the world. 

So, being the overly-protective mother that she is, the next two days were spent in solitary reflection, which was also when a different kind of reality she was also grappling with came to light. “The thirteen years I had dedicated to nurturing my daughter were gradually coming to an end driving the question of what I wanted to do with my own life,” she reasoned in a self-lamenting tone.

 

"Instead of mourning loss, I began to celebrate the rich history interwoven within the rich fabrics the various pieces on display offer."

 

With all the time in the world, Assaoud decided to have another baby, only this time around, it would be a place, rather than a person, where peoples’ lives are lent a second life. That was when one of the country’s hippest clothing stores was born. It also was when she had finally figured-out how to hold on to some of her most precious memories. 

“I have lost many people throughout my life, which till this day still hurts. However, instead of mourning loss, I began to celebrate the rich history interwoven within the rich fabrics the various pieces on display offer,” she said in a dreamy way. 

While some people call this nostalgia, her view is far more elaborate and meaningful. As a child of the seventies, her memory of times past constitutes a treasure trove of emotions and adventures that silently linger on more so today than ever before. 

Though her clientele include both genders and all ages, the majority of customers are 20-30 year olds who are highly opinionated and are daring enough to transgress antiquated social norms that used to dominate the country’s former civil society. “Most of the youngsters who step through my door truly appreciate quality, especially when it comes to one-of-a-kind items. Best of all, they crave that personal feel, which none of the available clothing stores could ever offer, that is without paying an arm and a leg as opposed to the minute amount we charge,” she clarified. 

In addition, she believes that the main reason behind this kind of resurgence, is due to a new found need to affirm a personal identity. “These hipsters who are constantly reinventing themselves have realised how different they are from every generation that preceded theirs and are out to communicate that reality through clothing items laden with history, thereby adding a personal feel to the entire experience,” she pointed out.  

While some believe that the trend of reverting to a certain era is driven by nostalgia, Assaoud clarifies before concluding that, “Despite the fact that most of my clients had not experienced that period in time, they nonetheless firmly believe in the difference associated with a look and feel that is unlike anything else, which is also how they see themselves!”