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Harem Modern—the cult-favorite rug brand on every editor and tastemaker’s moodboard—originally started as an inspiration hub for founder Lauren Harb. “It was born out of my desire to share more about myself and my design interests,” says Harb, who started out by documenting her design process on Instagram, eventually using it to sell vintage furniture and lighting that she’d thrifted for herself. “I wanted to shift from being just a personal page to more of an online store, so I re-branded to the name Harem Modern and began intentionally sourcing furniture and objects to resell.”
A fateful trip to Morocco in 2017 was the push she needed to find her focus: After coming home with seven rugs—six more than would fit in her one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles—she posted them for sale. “I began getting more requests for rugs than I had for any object or piece of furniture I’d ever sold before. One couple asked me if I could get more, and without hesitation I replied yes, determined to figure it out.”
Now, Harb works mostly with Berber women, who are indigenous to North Africa and Morocco, on many of her rug designs—including some of the checkered pieces you’ve probably seen on Instagram. “That resonated with me, a Palestinian who originally comes from a Bedouin tribe,” says Harb, who notes that each rugs takes about three months to hand-make. But for her in-house line, as well as her collaboration with Infinite, Harb works with a family of weavers in India who also hand-spin each rug. “While the handmade Moroccan rugs tend to be made of sheep‘s wool, my partners in India have the capability to use a lot of different materials, and I love working with the father-son duo.” Oftentimes, Harb sends them designs, and then works with the duo to tweak it to align with their own aesthetic and capabilities.
No matter which team she’s sourcing her pieces from, she knows this to be true: “People want what is visually pleasing more than anything else. It doesn’t have to be super trendy, it just has to be beautiful and interesting.”
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