Donations in store on the first day.

The days of numbness and indifference are over, and the time has come to face our reality endlessly fueled by crises.

Although the end of the pandemic is in sight, hopes for a new era of social justice were quickly dashed. Instead, recovery is slow, trauma remains high, standards of living see no improvements, insecurity increases, and the trend toward more inequalities and recklessness continues its spreading across the globe, unstopped by borders … We ended 2022 asking “who drew the borders of our world?”, and 2023’s answer proved once again that borders are not drawn nor recognized by health, economic, and climate crises. In these times of great emergency, a nation on its own cannot survive. We either lose or save ourselves collectively as humans … and at Emergency Room, we champion a united world. How could we be divided when the families of our Syrian colleagues have had their lives turned heads over heels due to the devastating earthquake of February 6th. Therefore, we decided to act and do our best to organize a donation drive at our shops in Beirut and Tripoli to help and send relief boxes to those who are in dire need.

Donations in store on the third day.

Many Emergency Room supporters and friends answered our call of solidarity and dropped in-kind donations. Once they were collected and sorted out, we had to ensure that our efforts are going in the right direction. Therefore, we decided to partner up with Nation Station and its trusted network of businesses, initiatives, and individuals such as The Great Oven, Nehna Hon, Azka Denya, El Rass (Lebanese rapper), and Bu Kolthoum (Syrian rapper). We unanimously adhered to Hussein Kazoun’s (co-founder of Nation Station) belief that “we survived August 4th and learned from its aftermath. We lived similar devastation. We know they need help, so we reach out and help. It is our duty. It is only through universal acceptance and tolerance that we survive.” The coalition worked hand-in-hand with Syrian Eyes, an experienced grassroot initiative, whose volunteers received and distributed the relief packages, like baby food and medicine, according to the victims’ needs. Since with every passing day the devastating reality sinks in, our help does not have an expiry date. Until today, money donations are being accepted at Emergency Room and Nation Station to find its way to families in Syria to pay their rents three months in advance, set up communal kitchens, and provide people with baby milk and other needed items.

Donations after being sorted (with help)

Even if Lebanon was technically spared, but with its proximity to the borders, Tripoli was affected. The architectural integrity of Tripoli’s buildings has long been in question, but the threat is imminent now. These buildings house small businesses, schools, and homes. Just like we, as Emergency Room, rehabilitate careers, we, collectively, can rehabilitate concrete and bricks by donating to these buildings’ restorations. Giving back allows us to grow, to become better people, and to feel good about life. The feelings of gratitude and empowerment felt through collective work are indescribable, according to Joy Karam (sales and communication manager at Emergency Room).

Quick sketch illustrating how overwhelmed we were

Why would Emergency Room, a fashion brand, care about injustice and help those in need? It is because we witness it daily on the frontlines of our solid relationships with our partners. We teach them clothes making, and they teach us prejudice down breaking. It is an exchange of skills within a community. A community that doesn’t only care about sustainable fashion, but also about sustaining wellbeing. Just like worn clothes have holes and stains, our society has flaws and shortcomings, just like we became masters of upcycling, we became apprentices of kindness, and just like our pieces are a patchwork of materials, our world is a web of extended helping hands.

Words by Christelle from The Way It Is Worn
By Overworked Beirut