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MEET THE MAKER - RAMI FROM LOLA JAMES HARPER

This week we were gifted a little glimpse into the wonderful world of Rami Mekdachi - founder and creative director of the holistic and lifestyle project, Lola James Harper. All their products are made by artisans in France using the very best natural ingredients and essential oils and we've been truly hooked since we lit the first candle in-store last summer. 
Lola James Harper tells stories, memories and affirmations through evocative scent combinations and language. There's an emotional connection there and the products have a glorious sense of the autobiographical to them.

This is Lola James Harper. We invite you to meet Rami.

Talk us through the origins and journey of Lola James Harper... How did it all begin?

'I’ve been traveling for years (even decades) gathering photography, film, music, scents and meeting amazing artists and people. I realised along the way that our society was getting more and more virtual and digital which was great to some extent. I was able to tour the world still connected with everyone... we were more and more informed and in control... I thought that we needed more room for dreams and poetry so I decided to create a place where anyone can come and dream along, being inspired by our scents, songs and photography... an open world where you can draw your own fantasy by letting your imagination interact with our art... keeping some room for dreams and using our 5 senses and imagination for peace and joy.'

Tell us about your creative process. How do you begin to translate a personal memory into something physical? 

'Memories are real, they make us, they shape our reality and values... our 5 senses are gifts and each second of the day you can press the pause button and smell where you are, watch the colours and lights surrounding you, listen to the combination of sounds playing around... I love to do so... I love to create a 5 senses memory of a moment... since I have the chance to be able to take pictures, record sounds and create scents I have the tools to share those memories too... our 5 senses anchor us in the present and give us the opportunity to be fully here and now.'

'Home' can be a beautifully transient thing, but can also be somewhere quite fixed in time, place and memory. Where's home and what does home mean to you?

'Home is not a place. Home is a feeling. It is linked to what makes us who we are and what energises us... It is a combination of people, sounds, colours, lights, smells and rituals... whenever we live a strong powerful positive moment we draw a home.'

You've lived in some incredible places. You were born in 70's Beirut and grew up in Paris. You've travelled at lot and at one point you lived in a lesser known little place called Lancaster. (Being from Lancashire myself I know it well!) What brought you to the UK and what can you recall from your time here?
'I spent 2 years in Lancaster playing music with a local artist and learning percussion and music improvisation...It was in the mid 90´s... There is something wide and peaceful there. I met amazing people that had a kind of wisdom and optimism that really inspired me... rain and immense green fields with little brick houses... and so much tea to drink while playing music... it is a rather spiritual place for me...'

This past year has been a pared down existence for most of us without the freedom to travel and see the ones we love. How has this year been remedied for you, both personally and creatively? 

'This year was a good moment to go deeper in our photography, sound and fragrance archives, to extract memories and souvenirs and share them. I really want to create new ones now and travel again with my family to meet new horizons...'

I watched your film, 'With' which beautifully captures both the vast space of the open road and the intimacy of togetherness, with music at the heart. I loved it. What was the inspiration behind the making of the film? 

'It is so amazing to meet someone and to write a song together in a few minutes on the spot like a sound photography, like a piece of time caught forever... music allows us to talk to another level with our friends, our children or with strangers... I wanted to share the fact that music can also be as simple as playing together... taking the time for togetherness, friendship, family, travel and dreams...'

What is on the horizon for Lola James Harper?

'I am working with my daughter and son on a T-shirt collection that re-compose and mix our photography with a great factory in Portugal... I just began editing our next feature about basketball, travel and friendship...'

If you were able to write a note to your childhood self, what would it say?

'Keep dreaming, keep planning projects and adventures but know that almost none of them will go the way you planned (and never when you want it) but amazingly everything will be even better than what you planned. You may try to control things but know that the best things that will ever happen to you are gonna be surprises.'

Sincere thanks to Rami and the team at Lola James Harper.
It's been a joy to hear from you.

Photography by Lola James Harper 

Interview by Charlotte for Hub

WITH the film