MAGAZINE | Hijacking the Language of Fashion


Become a RE FUSE contributor and create your viewpoint around the theme of ‘Sustainable Luxury’. Just like Ai Weiwei, Vivienne Westwood,  Imke Ligthart, Bas Kosters, Gwen Cunningham and dozens of others, you can help us by writing or contributing your viewpoints through a written article, video, photography or any means of media.

Someone To Talk To

I lived in Beirut in 2009. Every night on my way home, I would pass an old man who lived under a bridge in a small cardboard box. I often thought about how I could help this man. But I would always come up with an excuse as to why I couldn’t help that day: I didn't have money on me, I didn't have time to go for dinner, and so on. I would think about all the things that he might need.

One day, I prepared everything. I had cash with me. My house was clean and ready for a shower or a free bed. My fridge was filled with food. That night, at around 11 pm, I went over to the old man. I knocked on the side of his cardboard box. He peeked out and said hello. We greeted each other, and I finally asked if he wanted to come to my house for dinner that night.

He kindly said “no thank you” and smiled. I asked if he wanted to go for coffee or dessert. Again he smiled and said, “no, thank you”. What about a place to sleep or a warm shower? Again, a kind “no, thank you”. Finally, I took out some money and said: “Please take this and go buy what you need tomorrow”. I didn’t know what else to say, so I told the man good night and walked away slowly. As I turned my back, the old man suddenly said:

“I do need someone to talk to, would you please sit with me?”

What a revelation. I assumed that I knew exactly what this poor man needed from me: I had prepared it all. Yet none of those things was essential to him. He just wanted to be heard. To be listened to. At that moment I understood that not all needs are materialistic.

Sometimes the greatest needs are purely human. To truly help each other we need to connect on a human level. We need to communicate and listen.