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Our farewell post. Bring some tissues, a polka-dotted dress and make sure to read each admins words to you. Cheers! 

By Admin I: It has been a long journey, 300 posts in less than 2 years, features in Communicate, ArabAd and The Daily Star, a workshop and an event at Beirut Design Week 2013. We have never imagined that a group of young creatives voicing out their opinions can actually change anything, yet we did. We have never imagined that a stupid blog can make a breakthrough in multinationals, be included in their reports, give them nightmares and push their orthodox boundaries, yet we did.

We’re not bragging here (okay, we are), but we’re actually having a moment with what we were able to achieve, whether in reviews or in research. We’re here celebrating the subjectivity that had once a voice, the hidden identity that was never aimed at self-promotion and all the hypocrisy we faced, especially from the Design and social media Mafia™.

This whole experience was as awesome as awesomeness can get, we grew with it and out of it; now we’re a group that knows more, and has more to say elsewhere.

There is no legitimate official reason, and it’s certainly NOT related to any mafia’s threats or pressure. Brofessional Review reached an end!

Thank you all!

By N:  Brofessional review was never a side project, we were not admins in this blog; we were brofessionals. Brofessional review came as a manifestation of our own personal journey in the design spectrum. When it first started, when we decided that we were going to start reviewing what was happening in the design/communication field in the country, we were just starting ourselves our own journeys as designers. With fresh minds and enthusiastic eyes, we delved in this journey and we grew as individuals and designers, so did the blog. And let me tell you, this journey was magic, it took us places, exposed us to works and introduced us to people that otherwise couldn’t have happened.

Through our journey in the design galaxy we met lots of jedis. Here’s a huge spazzy appreciation hug to everyone who supported us and believed in us as we stumbled through this path. Hugs to the people we met, the knowledge they passed on and their pompom cheers.

I probably was the most bipolar among brofessionals. I left, then I came, then I left then I started to write occasional out-of-the-blue posts, and then I simply became N (dropping the admin like diddy dropped the puff).But I love every single moment I spent with the blog and its admins. Hugs to them all, we taught ourselves lifetime lessons.

But what’s a cosmic journey without stormtroopers? Despite our attempt to make it clear, people still took us too seriously. Haters were spawning everywhere accusing us of the most notorious thing, like we ever claimed to be anything other than a bunch of kids with loud opinions. But hey, even Madonna managed to get haters during her erotica phase (not that we are, in any way, comparing ourselves to the queen). And since Ziggy doodle was preaching about the power of love in her TEDx talk, here’s a hug to all of you, may it merge my hateful poison with yours and create a dragon of pixie dust and rainbows. You guys taught me that in this world you either have to be a wolf or a sheep, but I didn’t like your system nor your rules, so I became a hippo.

Until we meet again,

May design be one day resurrected.

Love and cake.

I was once a brofessional, and you guys took me way too seriously.

By Admin NK: WARNING: This post has some serious emotional hate with so much love towards Admin I.

So when I first heard the news, I thought Admin I was being silly, but then I found out that he was serious and I only wished I was in the same continent where he was so I could punch him in the face. Before being an admin, I was a huge fan of Brofessional Review where I used to read and enjoy their old and latest posts until I got requested to be an admin in the blog, it was pretty much one of the happiest moments of my life. Being in the brofessional community was what I always wanted: freely expressing our opinions and most importantly critiquing what we don´t like and what we found impressive in this Lebanese chaos that we call design and advertising. Agencies loved us, even people from abroad were enjoying our posts, and at the same time we received hate comments from people not accepting what we´re doing, not accepting an opinion, and not accepting their identity mentioned by a bunch of brofessionals whom choice is to critique instead of causing drama. But again, unfortunately and with so much pity, this is the Lebanese Chaos community after all. And I could only say that this blog was a brave win-win!
I will miss writing reviews, I will miss reading the awesome posts from the admins, and I will definitely miss saying “holy shit I can´t wait to see what Brofessional Review has to say about this”
With all the love and the disappointment I have right now, Admin NK.
By Admin HY:  Being the youngest between all these admins, I had another take on Brofessional Review.  Some praised it, some ignored it, Agencies took it as a reference and kept refreshing our home page all day.Others didn’t get the point behind the blog and decided to dig deep to know who’s behind it
Some awesome people shared. liked, discussed, agreed, disagreed, opened discussions and embraced the whole idea behind the blog.For me, BR was all about EXPOSURE! I would have never been as exposed to the design and advertising scene in Lebanon if it wasn’t for the blog. And that doesn’t apply to me only! BR helped hundreds of readers, from students, to designers and creatives to be exposed to what’s happening around them (Opinions aside) and gave the chance to argue, take the admin’s opinion into consideration and express their own thoughts!
Being surroudned by design and advertising students for most of the times it was such a magical feelings to see them discuss and question a campaign or an illustration, just because BR showcased it. Brofessional Review was a jounrey of a lifetime, I started as a reader and moved as a occasional contributor.

Last note to our readers: No matter who you are, how good you are and wherever you work or study, if you don’t know what’s happening outside, you’re nothing! (it’s a jungle out there) (ok that was very dramatic) (ok sorry I’ll clam down)

Loads of love,

The Brofessionals. 

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F/I/M²/P: awesomeness on matt paper

By N. & Admin HY: Lately, we’ve been called names and we’ve been questioned, they have threatened us and will continue to do so. People have called us haters who know nothing, but In the land of the DesignMafia™ and DesignWannabes™, we do know an eye-candy when we see one. Yesterday, An up and coming design magazine celebrated its annual anniversary and we were pleased to be there.

F/I/M²/P stands for Fashion/ Illustration/ Music/ Movies/ Photography but all in all, we like to define it with awesomeness. A Lebanese magazine founded by our new friends (we are so excited, like omaygad), Mohamad Abdouni and Rudy Shaheen (and co.) managed to standout with a high affinity to design and aesthetics. But enough with the emotions, let’s set aside the fact that we are as cheap as a glass of vodka (Admin I killing himself before publishing), and let’s get down to business.

The first time we got F/I/M²/P between our hands, we had a hard time believing that the Lebanese market could produce such a thing. A mat cover (a pet peeve of ours), beautiful typography and very neat layout, the magazine is basically a mix of sans-serif and serif classical typefaces, with a display slab-serif type custom-made by the team (Kudos to that). The main focus is exposing the local designers, whether photographers, illustrators, musicians or fashion designers; the team wanted a little escape where they could be free to do whatever and let the little genies inside of them run free. And so, F/I/M²/P was born. A platform for exchanging thoughts, opinions, and collaborations. This baby is a teaser, meeting its reader every two months with lots of visual treasures. The thing we liked most about F/I/M²/P is that each issue has a theme; starting off with the first one, an issue dedicated to the nineties that our ‘N.’ oh so gladly baptised as her bible (that 90s freak!). And it continues to tackle different subjects such a death and legacies, superheroes etc…

But in the end, we are Brofessionals and we have a reputation of spraying venom all over. See, the thing about F/I/M²/P is that it’s too westernised for a magazine that showcases Lebanese design. We would have loved to see a splash of Local identity added to it. But, that’s just our own opinion, we won’t really expect an audience of Posh rich kids to identify with it.

To wrap up this party, we will not sing but we will cheer for F/I/M²/P and their 50+ contributors for the great job they’re doing!

For Online viewing: http://www.issuu.com/fimp-mag

Gradients are back!

By Admin I: It’s the ultimate nightmare for any conservative swiss-orthodox design teacher and practitioner: the gradient tool! Well guess what, all of you out there: gradients are back! Back to invade your book covers, event posters, your wardrobe and even your furniture. It’s the latest shocking design trend that scared so many of you out there!

You might be the type that’s too arrogant to experiment, to give gradients a shot after more than a decade of hate and misuse. They’re back in analogous or monochrome tonalities and soft pastel usages, but let me tell you, those guys are tricky! The trick behind using the ‘hip’ gradients is to make it look anything but natural!! No small nuances, no bits and pieces, but the whole nine yards!

A final note before ending this design statement is a spotlight on a local super well done gradient usage by who other than ‘maajoun’ for the ‘Minassa Theater Festival’, a poster that mixed experimental  expressive lettering with a blue-green-yellow gradient, an eye candy!

In the end, it’s a matter of having ‘the balls’ to go and try, once, twice and more, simply because minimalism is too easy, too blah! Today’s design practices require much much more than type on white space, unless you are Micheal Bierut, who himself admitted having a case of ‘Chromatophobia’, the fear of using color: (…) I hope one day to begin to conquer mine (the fear). Until then, it’s back to the comfort of my nice dry towel, well away from the water’s edge — suitably striped, of course, in my two favorite colors: black and white.

Be a challenging design freak, or stay away from the water’s edge, you’re probably too boring to swim!

Pulse: Gradated colour application often gets a hard time. Perhaps it is due to two decades of bad clip art and super corporate PowerPoint presentations. But this year has seen the triumphant return of the gradient, as designers start to explore colours pale, dark, and everything between.”

Thank you HF for the research!  

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Pictures showcase a selection from different Elie Saab couture shows, between 2004 and 2012 (every picture is labeled accordingly to show how similar 10 years of ‘design’ have been).

Identity Crisis 02: Elie Saab

By Admin I: It’s not like we’re bashing the ‘Jesus’ of the Lebanese fashion design, even if we already know that many of you are going to totally disagree with us, but it’s high time someone bursts that fragile bubble protecting a rare talent; Elie Saab is by fact one of the all-time most talented designers: he knows very well how to accentuate a woman’s silhouette and can easily charge any garment with mere aesthetic beauty, the way that no one can really argue with, but on the other hand, Saab faced lots of ups and downs in his career, even if the Lebanese bourgeoisie was too distracted by his red carpet style and couldn’t notice flaws. It only takes a quick flashback to his latest 10 years of runway shows to notice that so little has changed, an identity is there yet very shy and too passive; An identity in crisis!

Where Saab went wrong was in contravening an unwritten code that distinguishes couturiers from merely serviceable dressmakers. That is, every single outfit should be special in its own right. (Sarah Mower/ Style.com)

Hundreds and hundreds of beautiful garments have been designed by Elie Saab and worn by the most famous international and local celebrities, but when a designer fails to improve, to develop and to reinvent himself, a “designer” title becomes somehow a sign of overrating, more of a privilege than a truly deserved position. Redundancy is what his collections have been struggling with, despite all the influences he tried to enrich the garments with, from cultural to historical eras; silhouettes remained very similar, embellished, heavily beaded and too harmonious! It’s somehow reflecting this Lebanese urge to add too much sugar to the tea.

Saab’s talents don’t lie as much in patternmaking (the cuts are quite simple and repetitive) as they do in his way with embellishments:

He opened with a caftan shape in embroidered black tulle. The silhouette looked novel for him, but he mostly stuck to his Oscar-winning formula of red-carpet frocks. By Nicole Phelps / Style.com

One of the most interesting thoughts on Saab’s identity crisis was Mower’s take on his development:

If that makes Saab a designer who understands the popular appeal of all-out glamour more than the high-minded conceptualism of traditional haute couture, it certainly hurts his business not one jot.

Saab still likes to be absolutely sure no one misses the point of his dresses, and since there were essentially four shapes in a 44-look show, quite a lot of surreptitious Blackberry twiddling had broken out in the audience a quarter of the way in. (Sarah Mower/ Style.com)

So guys, let me reformulate this argument: as much as we hate when Lebanese bash their successful peers, we do care to spread design awareness for the sake of triggering an active chain of thoughts. Whoever tells you Elie Saab is a great designer, nudge, agree and totally get excited but try to complement your supportive attitude with an insight: Elie Saab is a great couturier, but still has a lot of room to grow as a designer, as an innovator and that’s quite promising.

Creative Space Beirut exhibits : Seascape / F12

By Admin I (Exhibition photos by Admin N): It was last Thursday that Beirut suddenly got reshuffled by a New York-ish vibe hitting the concept store 6:05 Depechemode! Creative Space Beirut – A free non profit Fashion design educational program – launched their Fall 2012 collection “Seascape”, inspired by the sea’s color palette, shapes and textures.

What was super interesting about this particular Creative Space exhibition is the audience: this time, everyone was there: hipsters, fashion enthusiasts, designers and high end clientele. This time, it wasn’t only about how genius the program is, but about potential talents truly finding a spot, where handmade couture is finally getting some credits and students/designers starting to reach a level of signature looks, even if it’s still somehow naive and primitive.

It is truly immense, how an experience founded by Sarah Hermez and Rania Dalloul and guided by Caroline Simonelli From Parson’s New School of Design (New York) , can reshape design minds that even lack the basic tools; No ESMOD involved, no Starch and no marketing! A true challenge is taking place everyday to sustain the program and make this design guild a reality.

‘Seascape’ focuses on different design inspirations, from patchwork to dyeing and direct printing techniques reaching a very exotic use of prints and volume, using expensive fabrics donated by international designers such as Donna Karan, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Derek Lam.

It’s all happening following this expected pattern: earning international exposure while local media and designers keep disregarding this project’s urge for support and recognition. Typical Lebanon, no?!

Dresses are still available for sale by silent auction (link)

Credits:

Creative Space Video: Roody Khalil

Creative Space  Poster: Imad Gebrayel

nadine mneimneh en minuscule

By Admin I: It’s such a weird field in Lebanon: fashion design… While some totally rely on marketing and emerge from a commercial background, others still struggle to fully depend on their design principles trying to reach a defined audience and sustain their own brands in what is hardly balanced between design and entrepreneurship.

‘nadine mneimneh’ is our latest fashion crush, with a defined line that somehow finds a very unique spot in the local scene: clean cut silhouettes, meticulously hand sewn garments and a minimal choice of menswear fabrics cut to form basic urban looking shapes and forms.

And yes, the outrageously curious us, went and actually visited nadine’s atelier (We’re touchy people) and were astonished by the fact that nadine is one of the very few designers actually producing their whole collection by hand from pattern making to sewing to all other details; a one woman show that proved successful from the very first beginning back when nadine was a ‘Starch’ designer’; she is certainly no ‘Starch’ dependent though; thankful for what the experience has offered to her career, but totally flying away from the previous ‘Starchers’ and what characterizes their couture, nadine keeps digging in her multicultural background to keep producing reasonably priced ready to wear collections, that only lack good marketing to reach a wider audience.

With her timeless silhouettes that somehow bring to mind the loose geometry of Yohji Yamamoto’s creations as well as his dark color schemes, nadine can totally make a difference in the land of glitters, feathers and you know, umm Galliano wannabes!

When fashion is NOT for all!

By Admin I : We have introduced you earlier to this great initiative called “The Creative Space Beirut” in a series of posts, and an exclusive coverage for their second collection exhibition at Beirut Art Center.

Proudly being a part of this space, we’d like to take you on a ride visiting the struggles one can face while trying to establish an NGO in Lebanon, especially when it’s related to the field of the “riches et nouveau-riches”, when sometimes raw talent is not enough to break through.

In the new term of this free fashion program, 2 new students were added to the group, and their only fault was being veiled; at least for some of the fashion boutiques in town. We’re sadly reporting what happened during the trend reports, when students were having a look at the new collections released in Beirut, which is supposedly labeled a diverse city for everyone. It is somehow ironic how rich faux-hipsters can enter international brands stores, while a veiled group of students can’t, or let’s pretend being nice and say “they’re not very welcomed to”. It is more ironic when brands like ‘Chloe’ and ‘Stella McCartney’ allow the group to go check the collection, while a shop owned by a Lebanese like ‘Sophie’s Choice’ showed an almighty form of discrimination and kicked the group out, minutes after they came in (after taking the permission), followed by the owner herself asking employees to wipe the floor seconds after leaving. It’s almost like Cinderella or some other sort of bloggers drama; this time the cause wasn’t a parking spot at a restaurant, no foreign workers, just fashion students checking brands and designers; it’s a whole issue of discrimination based on appearance.

Creative Space has been through more than one obstacle, from the lack of resources to logistics to the recent discriminative issue, just because they chose to let go stereotypes and look for people in need, creating opportunities through education.

We’re not here accusing anyone of anything, we’re just portraying an incident that can happen even in NY, when black celebs used to be kicked out of elite brands shops just because they were black and had no star dust on, which doesn’t by any chance justify our pretentious shop owners/managers interaction with a group doing trend reports, a very basic step of the fashion design process; hmm, would that happen if ESMOD was the school behind those students? me doubt it, me don’t even care!

The space is now in the process of making their third collection with a marine inspiration preparing a launching event on the 23rd of August at one of the city’s most interesting fashion spots, 6:05 Depeche Mode, Downtown Beirut; on another note, the space located in Jeitawi-Ashrafieh is now available for everyone planning events and workshops, still in cooperation with NY’s Parson’s New School, and international designers like Donna Karen, Diane von Furstenberg and others.