fama sami lakouait

Is Sami Lakouait Building the Region’s Next Cultural Powerhouse?

Introducing FAMA

fama sami lakouait

In case you didn’t already notice, we’ve got a thing for burgeoning Arabs trying to make a difference here at Mille. One such example is Sami Lakouait, Morocco’s talented flag-bearer who is trying to put both Africa and the Middle East firmly on the map.

At only 24-years-old, the young multihyphenate has been on more sets than most can only dream of. Following a quick spell in Tunis before settling down in Paris, Lakouait has been striving towards reclaiming his roots and bringing those that identify with his creed along with him on a journey to the industry’s summits. An occasional model (Paris, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen fashion week are already under his belt) and a part-time actor for a slew of independent movies, Lakouait’s range of skills are quite hard to compete with. Resilient and always up for a challenge, the Rabat-born boasts a wide portfolio of experiences demonstrating abilities behind and in-front of the camera, while also showing initiative in designing game-changing projects. FAMA, standing for The Fashion and Art Morocco Association, is his latest endeavor. 


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Une publication partagée par (@fama.office)

Launched earlier this year, in January to be more precise, the non-profit organisation aims to promote and develop the professions, and professionals, from the fashion, music, film, and art industries in Morocco and abroad. Way past the stage of not being mainstream, FAMA wants to place the onus on the Arab World, institutionalize it, and bring in the grass-root level talents that struggle to make it to the top. 

In its first steps in the industry, the recently-launched platform has already made a name for itself, counting the likes of Dior, Louis Vuitton, and contemporary Moroccan-Dutch photographer Mous Lamrabat as collaborators and clients.

Ambitious and slowly cementing itself as the pivotal institution that will foster change and creativity in the future, we sat down with FAMA’s founder to talk inspiration, motivation, and his  ultimate goals. Meet Sami Lakouait…

You’re a model, an actor, an editor, and founder of FAMA. Which title do you feel most comfortable with ?

Why choose? What I feel most comfortable with is transcending barriers between professions, industries, cultures… What drives me is passion. In my early days I would have joined a project as a cup holder if that meant learning from people I admired. Today, the diversity of my experiences is what makes me good at my job.


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Une publication partagée par Sami Lakouait (@samilakouait)

Where did the initial idea for FAMA come from?

When I started modeling I realized that African and Middle Eastern models were grossly misrepresented. I had very few role models to look up to. Initially, I just wanted to connect with other models with similar backgrounds but then it became about bringing them all together and building a professional network. I am extremely proud of the role FAMA is playing in connecting talented artists and giving them visibility in the international scene.

What’s the main objective behind this venture ?

The mission of FAMA is first and foremost to celebrate art in our region. We need to work together to promote the incredibly rich and diverse cultures of the African continent and Middle Eastern region.


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Une publication partagée par (@fama.office)

Why focus on the region ?

FAMA has a very broad scope and focuses on Africa and the Middle East. When I kicked off the project I had to choose a home base. I am originally from Morocco, so it made sense to set up shop there. But there is also a strategy to this choice. Morocco is a vibrant symbol of cultural and an artistic melting pot: Gnaoua music influenced by African percussions, Andalusian rhythms, Arabic lyrical performances, native (berber) tattoo traditions, Muslim, Jewish and Christian heritage…The country is geographically at the crossroads between the African continent and the Middle East.

Your first steps in the industry are quite remarkable. How did you move up the ladder so fast ?

I have 3 rules: always aim high, picture yourself there, aim even higher

I have often been coined as a dreamer, some have even called me crazy… but a great quality I share with other utopians is tenacity. I never give up.

I have also been extremely lucky to meet the right mentors. I am extremely grateful to the guidance of Declan Eytan, former Vogue magazine editor and of course Adriano Baptista and Anna Barr who gave me my chance at Fucking Young magazine


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Une publication partagée par (@fama.office)

How do choose your collaborations and projects ? 

It’s just about kindred spirits meeting at the right time and place. That’s exactly what happened when I met Moroccan rappers Ouenza, Anys, Madd and Dada. I was on a surf trip in Taghazout and they happened to be at Aloha Vibes recording their latest Live performance with the Aykonz. 

It gave me the opportunity to expand my horizon to music and most importantly to understand the daily technical and financial challenges faced by local artists. 

FAMA was instrumental in building bridges between different arts and coming up with smart solution to do more with less. The icing on the cake was that we ended up shooting Ouenza for FW21-22 MENA print issue of FY magazine.

What is your ultimate goal? Where would you like to take FAMA?

My aim has always been the same from the start: stay the course of my initial vision of FAMA, that of a reference for artists at different stages of their career.

FAMA is as good as the community behind it. My aim relies on the creative and talented artists that are part of it. There is no I in FAMA.

Where do you hope to see FAMA in 10 years from now?

My hope is to continue bringing together artists, and spark ideas, collaborations, and new projects. 10 years in this industry is like 100 years in any other field. I don’t know what the future holds, my only hope is to handover this project to the next generation and see them as excited as I was when I first started this adventure.

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