‘The News’ By Liana

You would never catch me alive with a newspaper in my hand, unless you see me in a waiting room with no other means to occupy my time. Liana Mismar, a Jordanian handbag designer, is making news in the region with her ‘Al Akhbar’ clutch. She has transformed ordinary news into a fashion statement that I certainly wouldn’t mind carrying around.

I am reminded of the Kate Spade ‘New York Journal’ clutch, but no offense to the A-list brand, it doesn’t hold a candle to the ‘Al Akhbar’ clutch in terms of innovation and uniqueness. I’m sure you all would agree. It’s one thing taking a rolled-up newspaper and turning it as-is into a fashion accessory; and it’s another to piece together a work of art with a pop of color and a custom masthead in traditional Arabic calligraphy. This is what Liana Mismar with her self-named brand ‘byLiana’ has done.

Kate Spade vs. ByLiana

I love its vintage look, clearly influenced by the designer’s Arabian heritage, in modern design. The ‘Al Akhbar’ clutch is available in Dubai at O’ De Rose, Galeries Lafayette, Boom and Mellow, Valley Dez and auraB. I had the privilege of getting an interview with the lovely Liana, and here it is.

Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you originally based?

I was born and raised in Jordan. I have a degree in Interior Design, but my profession has always been as a Graphic Designer. As I grew up, my passion turned very much to fashion styling. I decided after working for so long, that it was time to create a venture of my own, an inspirational setting, between my experience, passion and my emotional connection with my culture. I moved to Dubai a year ago, and that is where I am now. 🙂

When did your love affair with designing handbags begin?

Growing up I always admired fashion accessories, especially handbags. They always seemed to be the one item that revolutionized an outfit. Since then I had always paid attention to handbags more than other accessories… To me, a handbag represents a status, a personality, and a clear sense of style.

Where did you get your inspiration for the ‘Al Akhbar’ designer clutch?

It was a combination of many incidents and thoughts. I’ve always wanted to carry or wear something that is Arabic fashion, and if it was out there it should be bold and vibrant. Since I admire handbags, the idea revolved so much around it, having a newspaper under your arm while texting on your phone for example is a common scene. I wanted it to look so real but once you get a closer look you would notice it’s a clutch that stands out.

Does the design come from a significant page in a past newspaper?

These are collection of several Arabic newspapers from the past, about 3 to 4 years old. They are cut outs, mixed and merged, most of them don’t form a full article. As for the the logo ‘Al Akhbar’ (in English ‘The News’), it’s my own creation, inspired by ‘The New York Times’.

Aside from Dubai, where else are your unique vintage clutches being sold?

Jordan, Amman at ‘For The Love Of Vintage’ and online at www.aura-b.com

Visit the byLiana Facebook page on http://www.facebook.com/byliana.handbags for more information and become a fan to stay updated.

Photographs by Faith Rodriguez (yours truly).


  • Belle Castillo
    Feb 5, 2013 12:37 pm

    Hi Faith. I honestly love your blog! Keep it up! XOXO

    • Feb 7, 2013 11:06 am

      Aww…thanks so much Belle! 🙂