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Sandra Mansur, the journey of a Swiss-Lebanese fashion designer

16-5-2017

The swiss-born Lebanese fashion designer, Sandra Mansur, has claimed an Arab and international repute for her distinctive pieces, according to Le Commerce du Levant. In a special interview with the magazine, Mansur said that while she did not plan to enter the world of fashion, she badly wanted to paint. But due to family impels, Sandra chose to venture into business. She received her masters degree in business administration from Webster University in Geneva, as she told Le Commerce du Levant reporter, before moving to the school of arts in the Swiss capital. And in a twist of fate, she returned to Lebanon in 2006 to enroll in Elie Saab’s school of fashion, and from there, decided to focus on a career in fashion design. To quench her thirst and gain more experience in the industry, Sandra headed to Paris where she received an M.S in fashion design from the Instituto Marangoni. Nevertheless, Sandra did not want to launch her own line from Paris but from her homeland, she told the magazine, and was staunch to enter the trade that is still largely confined to men. In preparation for her first collection, Sandra said, she applied for a USD 200 thousand loan from Kafalat Foundation that was channeled primarily for the rent of a workshop and the purchase of required sewing machinery, in addition to the employment of three women assistants to help her. The credit was not enough, Sandra told Le Commerce, for she had to buy the fabrics among other ingredients and recruit more employees, and hence, needed to rely on smart marketing tools to carry on. Despite the difficulties she faced in the beginning, Sandra boasted that she now has her own atelier in Jemayzeh neighborhood of Beirut, and has some 17 fashion assistants. Most importantly, she concluded, she has 15 points of sale in the UK and the Arab countries, and her reputation has expanded to Asia and the US. (Le Commerce du Levant, May, 2017)

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