THE LEHHO NOW SERIES
Welcome to the LEHHO NOW SERIES, where we ask some of our favorite humans from the LEHHO family to share a glimpse of their present in a short interview format. We hope you enjoy, and please share your love below!
Heba Malaeb is a writer, designer, and artist based in Beirut, Lebanon.
1. You've lived in New York City for seven years, and now you live in Beirut. What do you like about the fashion in these two very different cities?
I love New York because it's a fashion playground. Anything goes. Inspiration is everywhere, not necessarily to directly draw from, but seeing everyone do their own thing in so many different ways just makes the possibilities seem so open. The subway is so fun for peeping people's different looks! Extreme weather is also always a fun challenge.
In Beirut, I find myself creating looks that are more tame, but I still do feel able to play around. In such a small place where people are often judging each other, I find a good outfit can be really good armor. So even when I'm wearing something "weird" by Beiruti standards, I feel empowered by it. It's fun to be provocative and to search for fellow weirdos in the crowd.
2. What does style mean to you? Does your style change depending on your location?
My style definitely changes depending on location. Style to me has a lot to do with self-expression. Just like I speak a different language in Beirut than I do in New York, I express a different version of myself to adapt to the context when I'm in a new city. I find style has a lot to do with feeling - the feeling of looking in the mirror and just knowing, "That's exactly it," or, "What if I...?" In this way, style is a way of coming home to yourself, by creating and exploring who you could be.
3. How is art differentiated from design?
I think of art as a medium of expression but also of communication, since art happens when there is an exchange between an art piece and the person interacting with it. Art is something that you can keep going back to, and always find a feeling. Design is fun because while it is more utilitarian, it still has room for artfulness. Just like art involves a great deal of consideration and intention, design becomes exciting to me when I can recognize the decisions the designer made. And just like you can't separate art from its medium, design is limited by manufacturing processes, which creates a beautiful opportunity to use this limitation as a material in itself, for design that is poetic, playful and robust.
4. What do you love about your LEHHO jacket?
I LOVE my LEHHO jacket
! I like to wear it around the house on regular days to feel special. Out in the world, it gets a lot of looks. Sometimes it's good to be flashy- it's a fun exercise in saying, "Yes, I'm here, it's me!" One time I put the jacket on when my hair was still wet from the shower and slicked back, and I pretended to be Danny Zuko in a sci-fi remake of Grease. I find the jacket surprisingly versatile - it works perfectly when I want to feel delicate and feminine, but also easily becomes a badass "don't mess with me" sign. I also just really love the feel of it.
5. Finally, where would you recommend for lunch for a traveler in Beirut?
My mom's house. Ahla w sahla!
Thank you so much, Heba!