“Since we were kids, this place has been special to our hearts. This is where we used to go with our grandparents, who would take us to the famous buffet. At the time, we felt privileged to be able to visit and explore Mamounia,” starts Laura Pujol and Zineb Britel, friends since 12 and co-founders of the Fashion Trust Arabia award-winning shoe brand Zyne, which is handmade in Morocco. “It is a place that made us realize the value of excellence, Moroccan craftsmanship, and savoir faire. We found everything there to be special, from the smells to every detail around.” Launched in 2016, Zyne offers an exclusive collection with the iconic hotel located in the heart of Marrakech for women and, for the first time, men. “For us, Mamounia can be described as an old lady that never ages. Her elegance reflected in her traditional essence, while balanced with modernity and exuding timelessness.”
The collection is inspired by the warm colors – traditionally Moroccan terracotta red and green – and graphic aesthetics of the hotel. “The Mamounia is decorated all around with breathtaking tile work; every inch of the hotel seems to be covered by an eye-catching arabesque,” recount the women. “We wanted to incorporate this into our collection with styles like the jacquard and the knots that are hand- embroidered with delicate beading and handwoven to reflect the beauty and complexity of the tile designs we found in the Mamounia.” Already a trend pre-Covid, versatility, comfort, and luxury are what women seek today in fashion footwear. Zyne offers heels, sandals, and babouches that can be worn day to night. The babouche has long been considered a unisex shoe in Morocco and increasingly in the world, hence the introduction of a men’s offering. Natural fibers, handwoven by artisans in Casablanca, are featured along with black satin, embroidered with beads for a discreet style.
At Zyne, the art of footwear expands to hospitality – in the sense that one’s success is only authentic if shared with others. The Moroccan young artist campaign, launched by Zyne, aims to preserve Moroccan craftsmanship and encourages community by offering a shopping platform to fashion and home brands.
For any handmade brand, challenges arise with time a constant constraint. “Scaling handmade production is not as easy as buying more machines. We opened a new atelier so that we have access to more space to teach people about our techniques,” explain Pujol and Zineb. To overcome hurdles, the women lean on women. “We are lucky to work with an incredible team of independent and hardworking women,” they underscore. Along with their artisans, they collaborate frequently with event creatives Rosena and Fred Charmoy of Marrakech-based Boutique Souk, who help bring their ideas to fragrant life. “Their creative efforts have challenged us as we do to them. We have all grown as a result of it, strengthening Zyne’s identity and message. We have found over the years that the best way to overcome hurdles is to pace yourself accordingly. We prepare for obstacles and with a strong team behind us, we know that we can always move forward.”
Marrakech at your fingertips: The friends share their favorite spots in the city
L’Italien at Mamounia for its delicious food
The Moroccans for the shopping experience, food, and smells
Mouton Noir for its succulent menu
Soufiane Zarib for its modern carpet empire
Lrnce for the coolest artist studio for home furnitures and clothes
Originally published in the May 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia