When it comes to joining your personal and professional passions, Sarah’s Bag founder Sarah Beydoun is living the dream. Her now-17-year-old bag line was spawned from thesis work with an NGO for her grad school studies in sociology in which she helped rehabilitate female prisoners by giving them marketable skills. It has since grown to employ 150 women across villages in Beydoun’s native Lebanon. To create her latest capsule collection, she turned to another group of women in need of a guiding hand to get them back on their feet: Syrian War refugees.
The current cultural zeitgeist that included the Women’s March in January and crisis of the Syrian refugees cultivated the collection. The former was always a part of Sarah’s Bag’s brand ethos, and Beydoun stressed that empowering these women—whose post-prison options economically and socially speaking were nil—was key from day one. She’s witnessed these women turn around their circumstances both at home and in society as they gained independence and authority by becoming breadwinners.
Beydoun was struck by the words of protest scrawled across posters during coverage of the worldwide Women’s March. She saw the signs as both humorous and highly prolific, especially those in the States. “Look at the U.S. doing this—and they are an emancipated country! We should be doing this here because we really need this,” she said of her native country that, according to the designer, could use some progression when it comes to laws that are unfavorable for women. Entitled “Who Runs The World?,” an obvious riff on the Beyoncé tune, the collection not only reflects some of the slogans seen at the various marches such as “The Future is Female” or “Hear Me Roar,” but each design is also unique in its shape and embroidery, representing the diversity of women across the world. The capsule collection is also Sarah’s Bag’s first foray into see-now, buy-now, with the collection being turned around in six weeks versus the standard six months.