Raffia. You’ve seen it, worn it, possibly even recycled it. If, in recent years, raffia has “flooded the fashion marketplace,” to echo the words of Zyne co-founders Laura Pujol and Zineb Britel, it is a bonafide reflection of women’s desires to invest in long-lasting, comfortable, and natural materials. A bonus—in the hands of Zyne’s craftspeople, located in Casablanca and coming from all over Morocco—it is weaved into seemingly endless chic styles, most recently, knotted, braided, and fringed for Zyne Spring/Summer 2019.
Raffia origins stem (pun intended) from the longest leafed palm trees in existence; stretching 25 meters long and three meters wide with shiny, brown, pineapple-looking fruit attached to it, explains Pujol. Each palm branch holds multiple leaflets, which are cut vertically and left out in the sun to dry. This is how the natural beige color seen throughout Zyne’s collections is attained.
“Normally, it’s a man’s job because of the hard physical work involved in sourcing raffia—it is very manual,” shares Pujol. “However, more and more women want to learn the handwoven techniques. We started to train them to improve their skills.” One Zyne craftsman, Abdelaziz, writes, “I’m a master cobbler from father to son. Over the past 60 years, I was handcrafting shoes and babouches targeting only the popular Moroccan souks. I created a cooperative where I can provide training to new apprentices. Therefore, they can put in practice the craftsmanship techniques learned and earn money.” With Zyne driving the craft, the team has grown to 25 artisans so far. “Even my daughter Bouchra joined,” he adds. All the artisans have different paths that have led them to develop a passion for their artistry, but they share one common vision—a desire to be independent and confident in their craft to empower others.
The award-winning accessories brand is in the process of growing its cooperative. “We want our workers to exchange their skills and learn from each other,” comments Pujol. “Maybe the one who beads can also weave. We want them to be multitaskers in order to help us answer the growing demand.”
As the co-founders seek to strengthen their relationships with their customers, they are embarking on a series of international pop-ups. Meet Zyne in Los Angeles from August 9th to 11th at Palisades Village and Marbella from August 13th-14th at Puente Romane Hotel. Zyneofficial.com
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