Kounouz combines traditional Moroccan style with international trends to produce luxurious clothes sustainably produced by local artisans
Morocco is a country known for its historical cities, rich landscapes and vibrant culture. Part of this culture is the ancestral clothing worn daily by locals and bought by tourists as souvenirs.
Yasmina Bejjit has a passion for the art of living of her native country and a vision of making Moroccan clothing available worldwide. In 2013, she founded Kounouz, a unique fashion house that supports the skills of local craftspeople in producing luxurious Moroccan clothing fused with a modern, international inspiration. “We want to transform the idea of Moroccan garments to one of clothes you can go out in,” says Yasmina. “We want people to feel they are wearing something new and special. The clothes are a talking point, with details that make you think.”
As a director of premium handicraft stores who knew creative craftspeople keen to work with a modern luxury brand, Yasmina was well placed to found her company. These factors, combined with her vision, soon made Kounouz into a leading brand.
Kounouz collections include everything from luxurious kaftans and gandouras to warmer-weather jackets and trousers, featuring trimmings and fastenings sustainably made in the company’s Marrakesh workshop. Men’s and women’s ranges include Trendy and Oriental lines made of velvet, cashmere, satin and silk. Shoes, belts and bags complete the looks. All garments are decorated with a small, ornate metal button featuring the Kounouz logo, inspired by the traditional Moroccan zellige star pattern.
Such details are important to Yasmina. “It was my dream to create luxurious locally made clothes that are both comfortable and original,” she says. “I watched experts in the medina creating stunning silk buttons, knotted frog fasteners, cords and tassels, then took on a number of them in a small workshop.” The workshop now employs 120 people, mostly women.
From one Kounouz store in Marrakesh airport, there are now ten across Morocco’s biggest cities and a branch in Kuwait. “The craftspeople are teaching a new generation and we are keeping local traditions alive,” says Yasmina. These ideals are perhaps why Kounouz has attracted celebrity customers. “Even His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco honoured us with a visit,” she says.
The company’s green credentials are equally important. For example, as well as employing local artisans and championing local heritage, fabric offcuts from the workshop are woven into Berber rugs. “Nothing is wasted at Kounouz,” says Yasmina. “Ever.”