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Exploring Beauty with Bahaar
When you discover that boho-chic fashion brand Bahaar was inspired by a walk on the beach, it all falls into place. Undulating fabrics as effortless as the rolling waves. Silky linens that slip through your fingers like sand. An earthy palette of ochre, chocolate and terracotta that speaks to the dunes and rocks. This is a brand built not on fast fashion, but on the timeless emotion of a specific place and time: the sea, the sand, and the founders’ home country of Morocco.
We spoke to co-founder Soumaya Benzakour about how Moroccan craftsmanship will always be at the heart of Bahaar, the endless inspiration of her hometown of Fez, and how the brand’s beautiful philosophy translates into equally beautiful pieces of clothing.
Where did the idea for Bahaar come from?
Bahaar is a family story that began during a summer weekend between sisters in Deauville, France. As we were walking on the beach that day, it suddenly started to rain. We were taken with nostalgia for our native country, Morocco. We missed the scorching sun, the colors, the sounds. The idea then came to create a bohemian-chic brand inspired by our roots, with pieces that are at once contemporary and ethnic. Bahaar, which means “the sea” in Arabic, was a tribute to this day by the sea, featuring transparent caftans and printed kimonos perfect for a walk on the beach. Since then we have expanded the range with ready-to-wear and accessories, always with a bohemian touch.
Can you walk us through your creative process?
Bahaar is about travel and wellbeing. It's a bohemian-chic style that’s an innovative mix of our Moroccan and Arabic roots and Western clothing. It represents a Moroccan lifestyle through its incredible artisanal heritage, combined with an epicurean and bohemian atmosphere.
Where do you draw inspiration from, both within Morocco and beyond?
Bahaar is inspired by the vast culture of Morocco. Craftsmanship, tailoring and architecture are the pillars on which the brand creates its pieces. Our brand is a tribute to our Moroccan heritage: Fez, our hometown, is truly the capital of craftsmanship in Morocco and even the Arab world, as it is the oldest medina in the world. We wanted to refresh this heritage and bring it into the 21st century while sharing it with the rest of the world.
How has your brand been impacted by the pandemic?
The impact of the pandemic was really hard on the few retailers we were working with and therefore on our business. However, our core strategy was always to be a digital brand, so any slowdown in our sales was mitigated.
I also feel that customers realized that they were consuming too much fast fashion before the pandemic and now want to buy fewer but better quality products, both for themselves and the planet. As a result they have turned to small, conscious brands like ours. Finally, our social media community really showed their support and bought into our summer collection, even though it was released late due to the supply chain interruption during the lockdown in Morocco. We are very grateful to them.
How important is craftsmanship in your community?
Consumers are increasingly looking for authentic products to buy. They don't just want to consume mass-produced products; they want to know the story behind them. Who made it, under what conditions, what raw materials…Our mission is to preserve local heritage in a sustainable way and share it with the rest of the world. It’s important to us to highlight the ancestral know-how of Moroccan craftspeople, which is truly amazing.
What's next for Bahaar?
Our long-term goal is to become a leading international brand in resort fashion. Accessories are definitely a medium-term priority, especially since Morocco has solid expertise in leather goods and Fez is famous for its tannery, where leather is processed by craftspeople.
Where is your absolute favorite place in Morocco?
Fez, because first of all it's my home town. But more than that, we’re passionate about its refined ancestral heritage, monuments, medinas and landscapes. The images we hold of Fez and the experiences we’ve had there have marked us for life in the best possible way.
What's your skincare philosophy?
Minimalist: less is more. I purify, hydrate and exfoliate on a regular basis, and go to a dermatologist for a skin peel from time to time.
What’s the best beauty advice you've ever received?
To wear sunscreen everyday, even when it’s not sunny. But to be honest, I don't always apply this good advice!
What’s the skincare hero you swear by?
Moroccan Argan Oil is magic. It has many benefits for skin, such as moisturizing and protecting from sun damage. It treats a number of skin conditions such as acne, heals skin infections, and improves wound healing. It also soothes atopic dermatitis by reducing the effects of aging.
Bahaar have extended a 15% discount code to the whind community, use code BAHAARxWHIND15 at bahaarofficial.com
Follow Bahaar’s journey at @bahaar_official – and to be the first to know more about how we’re working with our community of creators (as well as exclusive offers, product drops and more), connect with us @whind.