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INSITE-FUL CHAT with Lilian Afshar

The Insite-ful Chat with Lilian Afshar, founder and creative director of L’Afshar.

L’Afshar is a Dubai-based handbag brand that gained popularity for its box silhouettes and use of unexpected textures, patterns and materials, making them the perfect way to accessorize modern evening outfits.

British-born Iranian Lilian Afshar graduated from Esmod in 2013. She’s lived in London, Vancouver, and Marbella. She is currently based in Dubai, where her clutches are produced.

It’s come as no surprise that the exceptionally covetable accessory is worn by the region’s leading style set and has been celebrated internationally by the likes of Bella Hadid, Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner, Laura Dern, Celine Dion, Queen Rania of Jordan and many who have been spotted with L'AFSHAR's box bags.  

How do you think the global crisis is affecting the fashion industry?

It's time for a positive change in Fashion. Aligning the seasons, sell summer throughout summer and winter throughout winter. Markdown at the end of the seasons and not in the middle. Producing less and slowing down the industry to work.

What are the challenges you’re personally encountering for the brand and how are you overcoming them?
 We have had to manage & find new ways to work during the lockdown. The uncertainty is a fact now that we have to consider, as it's difficult to plan and control in these times. On the other hand, it allowed me to really focus on projects I never had time to do, which has been wonderful. Being flexible is key.

Covid-19 is driving brands to engage and experiment with technology: virtual campaigns, catwalks, showroom… What are your takes on this?
 I think that this is the future of our industry and we have to find ways to be creative and adapt to these new changes. No one knows when showrooms/catwalks will be back or if they are a thing of the past. I hope not because it gave us a chance to really connect in person with either buyers, press and creativity.
Now with the consumer purchasing behavior is dominated by digital, how are you keeping up with this evolution?
 Being more active on social media, more newsletters. Creating content is a bit more difficult now, so I teamed up with a few of my really special clients who take the most beautiful pictures of their L'AFSHAR bags. They were more than happy to take part in content creation.

What are your future plans for the brand? Any projects/collaborations?
 We teamed up with Doctors without borders, I created a limited edition bag, where proceeds will be donated to their Covid-19 relief fund. Also this lockdown allowed me to work on a project that has been in the works for a while now, really happy about that. Stay tuned.

Can you tell us more about the Sierra bag and your initiative in supporting Doctors Without Borders?
 I wanted to create an initiative that our customers [as a collective] can come together and make a change - I reached out to everyone on an Instagram asking them to recommend all the great organizations we can work with and it came down to Doctors without Borders. That is what this initiative also symbolizes - unity and solidarity. The color of the bag is an ode to the 7th Chakra. It represents spirituality, strength, passion and meditation. Qualities that will help us get through this together. Proceeds from the Sierra Purple bag will be donated to Doctors without Borders (MSF) and their Covid-19 Crisis Fund.

*This campaign is registered in the UAE under permit #3023 by the Islamic Affairs & Charitable Activities Department (IACAD).