Zyne, a new footwear label on the rise, is grabbing buyers’ and shoppers’ attention alike with its contemporary take on the traditional Moroccan slipper.
The brand’s founders, Laura Pujol and Zineb Britel, who are based in that country, gave themselves the challenge to modernize a style steeped in tradition and create a new iteration that would appeal to a global audience and shine the spotlight on local craftsmanship and its rich heritage.
“The babouche is the iconic shoe worn throughout the Moroccan world for traditional events. It encapsulates centuries of history: it has always been around events and local houses, but it never made it onto the international scene,” said Britel. “I wanted to mix the ancestral Moroccan embroideries and handmade work on the babouche shape with the characteristics of a high-end shoe.”
Cue a playful collection of pointed-toe, flat slip-on shoes that are rich in embellishment: some come embroidered in abstract shapes and rich colors, there’s a range of sorbet-hued satin styles are embellished with tassels and sequins, while others feature woven raffia, which the designers describe as “the most intricate work [they] have done.”
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“When designing, I was thinking about the beach, summer parties and the ease of slipping on something colorful, casual and very comfortable,” Britel added regarding her focus on pastel shades and natural materials featured in the label’s spring ’18 collection.
Britel also highlighted that each shoe can take up to 36 hours to make, and she makes a point never to compromise on the quality of the shoes.
“My vision of the craftsmanship was really clear since the beginning. I wanted a handmade product with very high quality. Every pair has its own story. They are crafted by an artisanal cooperative of Moroccan women whose work not only preserves and celebrates the skill and artistry of their heritage but also gives them greater independence and equality amidst a climate of social and economic change. Every shoe we sell includes a card with the artisans’ name and the time it took to make it,” said Britel.
The brand quickly built up a social media following and uses Instagram on a regular basis to connect with influencers and customers. At same time, it’s staying focused on establishing itself in the market by “having the support of international retailers.”
In the last year, it has built a network of key wholesale partners including the likes of Level Shoes, Moda Operandi, Lane Crawford and Bergdorf Goodman.
“We are more of a summer-focused product; therefore, we need to chase the sun and always be present in these locations. Today our strategy is to focus on three regions: the USA, the Middle East and Asia. We are staying focused on growing our wholesale channels and working hard to get one more key retailer on each continent before the end of the year,” she added.
Net-a-Porter is the latest retailer to partner with the label, with a launch that will include a selection of exclusive styles, slated for April.
Next on the agenda for Zyne is the introduction of new products including a kitten heel and men’s shoes, as well as new categories such as bags and belts.