A career in fashion is not necessarily destined for everyone. Some develop an interest in it much earlier than others, and have kept an eye out for the hottest trends, the most respected designers of the moment, and those leading the charge in the industry since childhood. Others, paradoxically, had to sharpen their eye in the later stages of their lives, developing an acute interest in an area of arts and creativity that requires expertise, knowledge, and practice and that is known for its cut-throat competition.
Although challenging, and quite daunting, making a name for yourself in the world of fashion isn’t easy at all, even more so if you happen to have embarked on a path that is usually labelled as unconventional. With that being said, some have used that to their own advantage, using their supposed untrained eye to birth a slew of sartorial creations that stray away from traditional cannons. Such is the case for Harira and Hoodjab, two labels that are bringing a new vision that blends their rich cultural heritage with contemporary trends.
On one hand, we have Harira, founded by Soufian and Asmae Lmajfi, who hail from Cologne, Germany, but have Moroccan roots, that are trying to add a new edge to the streetwear game. On the other, we have Hoodjab, a French-Moroccan label helmed by Farah Ack, that is continuously proving that being fashionable and modest is indeed possible without having to bargain or compromise with whichever side.
Not long ago, the two labels came together to give birth to a football-inspired capsule collection that takes cues from their North African backgrounds, and the cities that raised them, resulting in a lineup of jerseys, long-sleeve shirts, and a football that are sure to catch your eye and serve as a tantalizing taste of their unrivaled textile talent, despite being new on the block.
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As we kicked back with the creative trio behind this dynamic collaboration, we explored a plethora of topics, ranging from their influences to the inspiration behind their pieces while delving into the complexities of identity and what it means to be a creative entrepreneur in the fashion industry today.
It seems as if there was a sprouting friendship before this partnership came to become. What led you to collaborate on a whole clothing line?
Asmae: “After Farah and I met for the first time, it was clear from the get-go that we needed to work on something together in the future. Our brands combine the essence of the ‘streets’ and ‘culture’ with Hoodjab being more focused on accessories and Harira on textiles and fashion in general. We both wanted to push and support our community further.”
You made the very inclusive decision to share your mood board with your followers. Why the emphasis on football?
Soufian: “Football was always present in our family. I grew up in the 90s, which was the moment when I got influenced by the sport. Every player had their own style on and off the pitch. We spent our whole childhood playing with our friends outside. My mum always used to say ’give these kids a ball and you won’t see them for the rest of the day.’”
Farrah: “As Soufian said, football was very present in our family. My Uncle was a football player back in the day. We used to always watch him play and I loved his jersey collection! I always wanted to wear them.”
Asmae: “Fun fact: I always had to be the goalkeeper when my brothers needed one. I grew up with them so if I wanted to go out and join them, I had to agree to play football or at least be the ’fetcher.’”
Soufian: “A great source of inspiration was the Joga Bonito series. Back in the day, especially in that Joga Bonito era, you could see the player enjoying football. They were playing with such passion and I’ve always been a fan of old shirts, every single one is a classic.”
Farrah: “I remember that for our first mood board and brainstorming session, we watched every single one of them. It was like magic, we all caught the vibe and kept on developing from there.”
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What were some of the other main influences of this capsule collection?
Asmae: “NORTH AFRICA!”
Soufian: “It was already clear that we had to do something for our community and seeing our brothers and sisters from Africa make it so far was a huge pleasure.”
Farrah: “Street culture was also a big one. This is where Hoodjab initially comes from and that’s also something we wanted to spread. Here in France, especially in Paris, we’re widely influenced by that as our families still live there. So it will always be a part of our life which we’re proud of and wanted to make a shirt that would be represented through this collab.”
What does DOUBLE H stand for?
Asmae: “DOUBLE H stands for Harira and Hoodjab. As both labels begin with the letter H.”
Farrah: “There’s nothing better than working with friends and family that are creatives. Our motto for this collaboration was ON FAIT LES SOUS, PARTAGE LES BENEFICES (We make money and share the profits).”
Why make it an all-encompassing collection, uniting Germany, France, and Morocco?
Soufian: “We got our inspiration from so many things, but it was mostly our roots and the city we grew up in that gave us vision. As Farah grew up in France and we were both in Germany, it was clear that we had to put this in our drop as well.”
Where did the journey from Cologne to Paris take you? What are some of the memorable moments of this joint adventure?
Asmae: “It was such a blessing to work with all my friends who I can call family now. We had such a blast shooting this content in Cologne. Good food, good company, less sleep but great work. That’s how we play. And Paris goes the same, for me, it’s always like coming home when I visit my friends and family there.”
Farrah: “We just planned this trip to Germany just for a few days, for shooting only. But we spent an amazing time together. It felt more like an adventure with friends than work. And, for everyone visiting Cologne check out Kebabland.
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We see you behind the camera, design, and planning, as well as in front of the camera as models— is there a real desire to be involved at stages of your label’s creative process?
Asmae: “We weren’t sure at first whether it was a good idea to show our faces in our own work. But we realized quickly that the people enjoyed linking our faces and personalities to our brand. Representing your own work is such a great feeling and fills your heart with pride.”
Farah: “I think that it also gives the customer and followers good insight into the brand’s philosophy. It’s more authentic.”
The collab hints towards more collaborations potentially in the works… Are we right in thinking so? If so, could you tease us a bit more?
Soufian: “I think I can speak for all of us by saying that there are definitely more collaborations on the way. For us as Harira, it was our first collaboration and definitely not our last. What I can say is that we at Harira are definitely adding sportswear to our agenda.”
Asmae: “I loved working with Farah and the team. It was very emotional because it involved our family. Even our mom was included in those clips, preparing some delicious food. It was amazing. And for the future, as Soufian said, we’re definitely going to work with more brands and creatives because we’re all in this together right? And if we don’t support each other, who will?”
Farrah: “This year we’re all going to focus on our projects and growth. Hoodjab is coming with more stuff in store, so stay tuned everyone and be ready.”