This article may use affiliate links. Eluxe Magazine only links to products we trust.Lebanese born, Dubai based couture designer Sohad Acouri is one of the few coutiers known for his sustainable approach to his luxurious red carpet and bridal designs. His style and ethics have won him a notable clientele, including celebrities and royalty from the Gulf and beyond. Here, he tells Eluxe about culture shock, gaining trust, and the sweet cedars of home. How did your interest in sustainability start?I have always observed nature and our constant abuse/over use of resources. Living in a big city like Dubai, which is efficient, you see the amount of waste produced and transported on a daily basis. If one doesn’t stop and think about it, one will never notice. This thought never leaves my mind and it has become part of my life and therefore, thinking process.
I have managed to incorporate that in my daily routine; doing my little bit for a better world and keep working on incorporating it in every aspect of my life, which work is part of.
What were the greatest challenges you’ve faced in trying to launch your business?
Moving to a new country, is definitely a great challenge, let alone starting a business as you can imagine. Getting started in a ready established market, which attracts bigger players from all over the world was definitely a challenge, which I must admit, gave me the motivation to study and improve. I had to grow up, and mature faster and better. With the culture shock, I had to use that to my advantage, understanding the culture and adding my own bit and interpretation without compromising my original thoughts and style.
Where do you source your sustainable materials from?
In Dubai, we have the advantage that we import from all over the world. Some of my sources come from Spain, Italy, France, Switzerland, India and Thailand. Aside being present in best textiles fairs worldwide
The Middle East, especially the Gulf, seems a bit slow in picking up on the importance of being eco-friendly. How you see that changing in the future?
The Middle East is a happening global region. People living here are very much aware of Global issues and trends. But sometimes, other issues get the spotlight and attention. This is the case with eco-friendly initiatives. They are very much everywhere and in lots of aspects, but potentially not well organized, or rather, well exposed to the mainstream.
In what ways are you eco-friendly in your personal life?
I have interest in gardening and having greenery in my life and environment. I try to plant trees even in small pots in the house or office. I always try to limit the use of water and air conditioning, which is tough in this region but we have a good 5-6 months, during which we can absolutely adjust and offset the belligerent abuse of the cooling systems and water!
What’s your greatest ‘eco sin’?
In the past we were heavily using non eco fixative sprays, to maintain extra thickness for some fabrics
What’s the earliest memory you have of being in nature?
It must be growing up in Lebanon. Going for picnics in the mountains, where cedar trees grow, and water streams flow. Other days, would spend a day in historical ruins or just go to the sea and enjoy the Mediterranean all year round.
Which elements of nature do you find inspiration in?
Interestingly, I don’t get my inspiration from nature, but get help from nature to put my ideas together. It’s the calmness and resilience of nature that helps me, after studying the themes and trends then build the strong concept.
What are you proudest of so far in your life and work?
I am proud that my family are happy of my achievements and see the rewards of their support. Work wise, am proudest when I see the satisfaction of my clients by gaining their ultimate trust and letting me create their dreams for their special moments and life events.