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Stories from the Middle East Region

INTERVIEW with Bird on a Wire Founder, Rayya Morcos

Rayya Morcos

Who or what are your influences?

I would say Yohji Yamamoto par excellence! He’s a man with a great vision who is not only interested in fashion, but in the construction of objects in general, a self expression.

What inspires you? From the Middle East? Around the world?

I dream a lot...I really daydream, and anything that triggers that is food for soul to me. I love stories! I can obsess over one song and play it on repeat for a month! Social interactions fascinate me, as well as scientific discoveries. I also love surprises!

Tell us a bit about your production process: where do you produce? What materials do you work with?

I can never have too much fabric. I can get lost in a fabric shop for hours. I touch the fabric and feel it on my skin… I even listen to its sound. I usually work with natural fibers, but it's not a must. The dryness of linen, the cold of cotton, the roughness of wool, and the sound of silk inspire volumes but never clothes. So I construct volumes, I get myself into a mood (after reading a story or living it sometimes), and I delve into it. Then the volumes transform into skins and shapes with voids where the human body slips inside. It's a process that, along with a lot of research, takes about three months. After that I move to the factories. Working with factories also generates new pieces. I get inspired by how a piece is being put together.

How long have you been in business? When did you start?

Bird on a Wire celebrated its two year anniversary on March 29 of this year, but I worked with Rabih Kayrouz from 2006 to 2011.

Why did you decide to become a designer?

Because I couldn't be a pilot.

Describe a typical day in the studio.

Nothing is typical! No day is like the other! I work on a dozen projects at the same time so it depends where I am in those projects. It can vary between costume designs for plays or bands to collections or collaborations with other brands, such as Alya for conservative women's ready-to-wear. I also work with Palestinian modernized embroidery.

Who is your favorite Middle Eastern designer and why?

I love Ronald Abdala's rock chic garments and the sensuality of Rabih Kayrouz pieces. These designers do it with a passion!

Designer Rayya Morcos

Where did you study? Train? Work?

I got a degree in Interior Design from LAU then one of Fashion Design and Pattern Making from ESMOD. But my real training was my 5 years of work with Rabih Kayrouz who taught me everything: pattern making, textiles, sculpting.  I consider him my teacher, mentor, and inspiration.

How would you describe your work in three adjectives?

My work is spontaneous, sharp, and witty but if I was to describe Bird on a Wire I'd say innovative, architectural and humorous!

Anything you would like to add?

I think we should'nt take life too seriously. Rabih Kayrouz used to say: "We're not saving lives, we're making clothes!" So as long as we're enjoying it, it's worth it.

With contribution from Hala A. Malak.