So, this took some time...
Maybe you know this, maybe not, but I have taken—or rather imposed on myself—the habit of writing a letter at the end of each year. It is my way of reminiscing on Emergency Room’s achievements or the difficulties we had to go through. Think of it as a diary, without the daily commitment.
Fact: I’ve been trying to write this letter for a few days now, and unlike past years, this one’s been hard to write.
Could it be because I’m tempted to ask ChatGPT for help writing a few paragraphs on events we’ve been through that AI could never really and truly experience, let alone feel or be affected by?
Or is it because the last few months have been alienating, to say the least, even to us humans? Making it almost impossible to feel anything else than rage, an indescribable rage against our own kind and lack of humanity?
As days go by it is becoming more and more clear that our world is divided, and it is hard to avoid seeing that unfold when it is understood that it’s much easier for us to live in a world that’s black or white, where there’s us and there’s them, where we’re constantly asked to pick a side and defend it, where if you’re not with us, you’re against us. A world that has pitted us one against the other, a binary world that is endlessly used to benefit a portion instead of the whole.
A world that has made us question: where do we stand as a brand? A brand based in Lebanon? In the global south? Yet a brand that travels and sees the world from many different lenses?
I am not entirely sure that Emergency Room or myself have any answer to these questions, but for better or worse: I will remember this year as the year that marked a homecoming, where being 'home' felt more important than ever.
First, I will remember how you all so quickly joined us in gathering donations for the people affected by earthquakes in Syria. At the beginning of the year, this was a very moving proof of compassion for humankind. I hold on to that thought, the belief and certainty that I am surrounded by people capable of coming together to help when given the chance.
But I will mostly remember how it felt to host our first fashion show in Beirut to celebrate our 5th anniversary. An experience that encapsulated many childhood dreams as well as hopes I’ve nurtured as an adult. Dreams of hosting a show in my hometown, surrounded by the people that made this brand, that helped me create this experience. And hopes of seeing my city burgeon again, seeing artists and designers from my hometown create events and shows that spread joy and bring people together.
Because we need just that, more than anything. In a world that pushes us to be divided, we need moments of togetherness more than ever.
I hope we get more of that in 2024, I hope to create more of these in 2024, and I hope we can all be even more kind in 2024.
Eric Mathieu Ritter