The model’s new project celebrates her country’s fashion and beauty entrepreneurs.
“The idea came when we realized that our values and principles were so closely aligned,” says Kenza Fourati of her latest project, Osay (Our Stories Are Yours), with co-founder Simone Carrica. An Argentinian-American entrepreneur, Carrica moved to Tunis when she was a girl. The polyglot, fluent in Arabic, met Fourati in high school, after which they kept in touch, rooting for each other’s accomplishments. While Fourati was modeling for the likes of Giorgio Armani and Jean Paul Gaultier, Carrica was launching her first company, exporting Tunisian traditional decor items to the US.
Originally printed in the October 2018 issue of Vogue Arabia
Of her evolving relationship with fashion, Fourati shares, “I owe everything to the industry and I truly care about it – that’s why I see the opportunity for change.” Already involved with the Model Mafia and The Model Alliance, which work towards the protection of models in the fashion industry, Fourati sought to collaborate with emerging talents. The duo aims to “bridge cultural gaps from a region so close to us but sadly too often misrepresented.”
Part of Osay’s growing roster of Tunisian apparel, accessories, and beauty brands is handmade shoe brand La Babouche, founded by Chahrazed Chaieb. “My favorite piece is definitely the babouche,” says Fourati. “I love that they are made in the Medina. It is also a lifestyle, one that is extremely comfortable. They give any outfit – from a skirt to a pair of ripped jeans (my uniform) – a chic and unique twist.” Osay also stocks pieces from Lyoum, a ready-to-wear and accessories brand; SeeMe, which proposes handmade jewelry made by Tunisian single mothers; Vakay, a premium wooden sunglass brand; linen brand Charaa; ready-to-wear brands featuring handmade textiles Moka Cioccolatah and Anissa Aida; and L’Odaïtès, a French pharmacy beauty label grounded in traditional remedies passed down to its three founders from their Tunisian grandmother.
“I am obsessed with these products,” nods Fourati of L’Odaïtés. “I’m always on the lookout for natural products for my skin. Its smell is an emotional journey. It is so Mediterranean, with neroli, dates, orange blossom water, rosemary… It reminds me of long walks with my grandfather on our family farm in Tunisia.”