Designer of the Month: Sophia Kacimi founder of Zoubida

Designer of the Month: Sophia Kacimi founder of Zoubida

5 min read  —  Apr 14, 2024

by Eya Rziga

Sophia Kacimi

Art To Wear

In this Designer of the Month feature, we're immersing ourselves in the captivating world of Zoubida, a shining star in the fashion landscape. From the rustic brick-paved streets of France to the bustling souks of Morocco, each creation from Zoubida exudes a unique blend of playful elegance and cultural allure.

Allow us to introduce Sophia Kacimi, the visionary force behind Zoubida. With a passion for storytelling and a deep appreciation for heritage and tradition, Sophia's designs transcend mere clothing, weaving together narratives that celebrate the rich tapestry of Moroccan culture.

Discover the Designer:

Who is Sophia Kacimi, and what sparked your journey into the world of fashion design?

I am a French-Moroccan, rooted in the Amazigh heritage of Khenifra in central Morocco, yet influenced by the vibrant streets of France where I spent my formative years. My path into fashion took an unconventional route. Despite studying mathematics and economics during my youth, I found solace in the world of theater, believing that life should be approached with a sense of playfulness and a connection to our inner child.

My professional background in project management led me to explore the luxurious worlds of brands like Chanel and Alexander McQueen while residing in Paris and London. However, amidst the allure of high fashion, I began questioning the industry's values and its growing disconnect from traditional craftsmanship and heritage.

The inception of Zoubida emerged as a rebellion against the conventional norms of the fashion world. Fueled by frustration with the industry's disregard for authentic craftsmanship, I embarked on a journey to rediscover my Moroccan roots. The brand was not conceived to conform, but to celebrate the intricate tapestry of Moroccan culture through the medium of fashion.

How have your experiences and cultural influences shaped Zoubida's design aesthetic?

My journey into the fashion world has been a serendipitous one, driven by a desire to bridge the gap between tradition and innovation. Immersed in the rich tapestry of Moroccan craftsmanship, I discovered a cultural renaissance waiting to unfold. The vibrant colors of Moroccan markets and the timeless allure of Berber textiles served as my primary sources of inspiration.

The intersection of Moroccan and French cultures has imbued Zoubida's design aesthetic with a unique duality. Drawing inspiration from the eclectic streets of London, my current home, I found liberation in embracing bold colors and unconventional silhouettes. Zoubida's signature style embodies this cultural fusion—a harmonious blend of tradition, modernity, authenticity and audacity.

How would you describe Zoubida's signature style, and what inspires it?

Zoubida's signature style is a fusion of storytelling, resilience, and reverence for tradition. Each garment embodies a narrative of creativity and commitment to heritage. What sets us apart is our unwavering dedication to local sourcing and production, breathing new life into forgotten fabrics, and crafting timeless pieces that defy trends.

Inspiration for Zoubida's designs stems from unconventional sources, such as the eccentricity of friends like Paulina Lenoir, a Mexican clown artist, and Maryam Keyhani, an Iranian artist based in Berlin. These individuals inspire us to prioritize creativity and experimentation over commercial success, pushing the boundaries of design.

Credits to : <a href="">Alexandre Desmidt</a> Credits to : Alexandre Desmidt

Design Process and Sustainability:

How do you strike a balance between traditional Moroccan craftsmanship and contemporary aesthetics?

Our design philosophy revolves around striking a balance between tradition and innovation. Inspired by the authenticity of Moroccan craftsmanship, I noticed traditional products being sold at inflated prices abroad, prompting me to create something new. Collaborating with local artisans, we reinvented the classic babouche, showcasing Moroccan craftsmanship on a global scale.

Despite challenges, such as convincing artisans to embrace bold innovations, we remain committed to elevating tradition through collaboration and innovation. Documenting the creative process with filmmaker friend Sara Benabdallah captures the essence of our journey, demonstrating how collaboration and creativity can enhance tradition in fashion.

How significant are collaborations with local artisans for Zoubida, and what impact do they have on both designs and communities?

Collaborating with local artisans is a source of immense pride for us. Despite the challenges of starting a company, the positive impact of these partnerships on artisans' lives reaffirms our mission. Beyond creating beautiful designs, these collaborations create opportunities and make a real difference in communities.

Spending time with artisans, whether sharing meals or discussing ideas, inspires us to continue our work, knowing it enriches our designs and communities. The happiness of artisans is our driving force, and we're grateful for the chance to be part of their journey.

How have you integrated sustainability into Zoubida's design process, and what challenges have you faced?

Sustainability is central to Zoubida's brand ethos. By sourcing locally, using deadstock, and embracing made-to-order production, we minimize waste and support artisans. Despite challenges, such as innovating within sustainability constraints, we remain committed to creating beautiful pieces that resonate with customers.

Transparency and accountability are crucial throughout our supply chain. With a tight-knit team led by myself and my father, every step of production is ethically managed. Sharing stories behind garments on social media fosters trust and connection with the community. Despite initial skepticism, our designs have become sought-after worldwide for their rich heritage and unique storytelling.

Mini Gilet

Shop Now £225.00

Fabric Hood

Shop Now £55.00

Mini Zouz Bag

Shop Now £48.00

What’s ahead for Zoubida?

What role do you see emerging designers like yourself playing in driving Moroccan culture promotion in the fashion industry?

Emerging designers like us serve as cultural ambassadors, blending traditional craftsmanship with contemporary design to showcase Moroccan artistry globally. Our designs facilitate cultural exchange, inviting diverse audiences to explore Morocco's rich heritage through fashion.

By collaborating with local artisans, we preserve and evolve traditional craftsmanship, challenging stereotypes, and fostering greater appreciation for Moroccan creativity worldwide.P

Photo credit : Philippine Antoine Photo credit : Philippine Antoine

What future initiatives or projects is Zoubida excited to pursue soon?

As Zoubida continues its journey toward greater sustainability and craftsmanship, we're excited about future initiatives and projects. Winning a prestigious grant from Maison Mode Méditerranée reinforces our commitment to our vision.

With this support, we aim to embark on meaningful endeavors close to our hearts, such as preserving the art of brocade in Fez and collaborating on an exhibition showcasing the remarkable work of seamstress moms. Through these initiatives, we hope to honor Morocco's rich cultural heritage while creating exquisite pieces that resonate with authenticity and artistry.

For aspiring designers, Sophia’s advice is to dare to be different, embrace innovation, and trust in your vision. Success often comes from taking risks, so stay open, remain resilient, and remember that challenges are growth opportunities. As we celebrate Zoubida as our Designer of the Month, we invite you to explore her world of creativity, passion, and innovation. From the runways of Paris to the streets of Marrakech, her designs continue to inspire and enchant, leaving an indelible mark on the world of fashion and beyond.

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