Earlier this month, Cynthia Merhej became the first Arab woman to be shortlisted for the prestigious LVMH Prize. The Beirut-born Lebanese designer founded her ready-to-wear womenswear label, Renaissance Renaissance, in 2016, offering a contemporary reinvention of couture heritage. Asharq Al Awsat’s fashion editor and FTA contributing editor Jamila Halfichi interviewed Merhej for FTA, asking her about her fashion-filled past, her take on sustainability and her feelings about having been nominated for two awards this year, LVMH Prize and FTA Prize.