Non-profit, UAE based brand, BLSSD is the brainchild of cancer survivor, Lama Riachi. The 38 year old designer told Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, “Having gone through the exhausting emotional and physical experience of ovarian cancer, I always knew my experience had to mean something. That one day I’d ﬁnd a way to ‘make it count’. This eye-opening and life changing experience led me on this new and unexpected path. Purpose is what got me into fashion.”
The cancer survivor is transparent about her market and her reasons for creating BLSSD, “In its most fundamental form, BLSSD as a fashion brand emerged from a purpose, not the other way around. Our purpose was never conceived as a marketing angle.” BLSSD’s aesthetic and collection boasts a range of wearable minimalistic designs, neutral palettes, and a subtle logo.
Lama explained her design concepts to Bazaar, “Our Pret-A-Gratitude collection, which just showed at Arab Fashion Week, features a culmination of contrasts and dualities. Drawing crossovers between sportswear and urban luxe and telling a story that goes from streetwear to street style. From unexpected juxtapositions of hard and soft, to the use of hardware with gentle fabrics, to using luxe fabrics in unexpected ways, such as sequin being the lining, giving those glimpses into inner beauty. It features stories of deconstruction and celebrations of perfection in imperfection.”
Riachi’s covetable label utilizes a modern romantic style, marrying together oversized sleeves, floaty asymmetrical skirts, off shoulder knits and sequins. The brand’s name BLSSD is also something that is close to the designer’s heart, as she says, “BLSSD represents how blessed I have been along my path to recovery. A true sense of gratitude was the single most powerful feeling that got me through the hardest time of my life. Every single time I was reminded of the countless things and people I was grateful for, regardless of what I was going through, I found myself growing stronger and more positive.”
Not only is Lama Riachi a talented designer with her own label BLSSD, she is also a Managing Partner and Creative Director at independent boutique advertising, digital and design agency, Mojo. BLSSD is a “165-member (and growing) support group that provides emotional, educational, spiritual and ﬁnancial support to individuals whose lives have been touched by cancer.”