Gourmet products from Lebanon’s top chefs, beautiful handmade home goods from Iran’s finest artisans, hand-illustrated silk scarves from Turkey and gorgeous plus ethical everyday shoes from Tunisia…check out some of the best online shops from all around the Middle East that focus on the regional and the highest of quality.
Sisters Pinar and Deniz left their corporate jobs and started their own joint project in 2011 to not only carry the whimsical world of their illustrations and design to a wearable canvas, but also to empower women. With a name inspired by their favorite poet, the Sufi mystic Rumi, their brand represents a whole colorful world of ethically manufactured silk and wool scarves with one-of-a-kind illustrations. Whether it’s a she-wolf representing strong female archetypes or mythical sirens paired with photographs of Lofoten, Rumisu scarves depict a unique world of lush imagination. Every scarf comes with a handmade crochet character (the traditional Turkish art of oya) made in Southeastern Turkey in cooperation with a UNDP project that aims to empower the region’s women through employment.
House of Touran
Having grown up between two countries, the Iranian-American designer Shirin Ehya has always had an interest in finding harmony between seeming opposites in her own designs. As the founder and curator of her own multi-brand concept shop House of Touran, Ehya decided to focus on the preservation of artisans from all around the Middle East whose work is increasingly being left on the wayside. The online shop is a celebration of functional design and meticulous craftsmanship with products that are ethically sourced by Ehya herself. From limited edition ceramics to Shak-Bafi wool, golden, and silver decorative bands from Qeshm to handmade bags made from restored vintage textiles, House of Touran is a sumptuous collection of artisan talent that anyone can have in their own home.
Kanz Beit el Baraka
Founded by the Lebanese non-governmental organization Beit el Baraka, Kanz aims to elevate the quality and image of traditional Lebanese mouneh (preserves) and their producers all around the country. The collection of handcrafted delicacies not only creates a source of income for its producers but also redirects all its profits toward the Beit el Baraka NGO, which supports Lebanon’s disadvantaged with food, shelter, health and education. To give its products a modern touch, Kanz worked with Lebanon’s most renowned chefs to create its line, including such gourmet items as spiced date apricot chutney, vine leaves stuffed with goat labneh, mama ghannouj and much more.
thekanz.com (opening soon)
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Created by Tunisian-French model Kenza Fourati and American-Argentinian entrepreneur Simone Carrica, Osay is a direct response to the fashion industry’s negative impact on the planet and its people. The brand focuses on the production of La Babouche, an everyday shoe inspired by the historic Rihya worn in the Middle East in the nineteenth century. The twist is that each shoe is entirely composed of high-quality upcycled leather scraps sourced from the luxury industry and made entirely by hand by a master artisan in the heart of Tunis. A versatile shoe that works for day or night, La Babouche is a real representative of the art of Mediterranean living.
Conde Nast Traveller Middle East, February-March 2021