The 'crazy' ambitions of Lebanese accessories brand Foux

The company was launched last year in the midst of the country's economic crisis

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Out of cardboard, paper, passion and glue, one of Lebanon’s most intriguing up-and-coming brands was born last year in the midst of the country's economic crisis.

“We built it from scratch,” say Fouad Naccache, 28, who, along with Hassan Malle, 29, are the creative minds behind Foux.

The brand made its debut with a unique line of genderless handbags designed to “elevate any look”.

“We were sitting on the balcony when we grabbed some cardboard and created a prototype of what is now our bestseller,” says Naccache. “We knew when we constructed that bag exactly what our vision for the brand would be. And we went for it.”

Having worked in interior design and architecture respectively, Naccache and Malle found their calling after completing their studies in luxury brand management. The duo joined forces, quit their full-time jobs and poured their heart and soul into a small business that has since flourished.

“We wanted to share something of our own design with the world, something that looks like us and reflects our identity,” says Naccache.

Coming from the French term “foux”, which translates as crazy, the name is fitting for a brand that was launched in the midst of Lebanon’s economic crisis. The outcome, say the designers, has also been much better than expected, as they never expected their home country to be one of their biggest markets.

“It was so inspiring to us and it pushed us to keep going. Despite all the odds, Lebanese people did everything to support us and support our business, and we couldn’t be more grateful,” Naccache says.

Lebanon is currently facing one of the world’s worst economic crises since the 1850s, according to the World Bank. The Lebanese pound has lost more than 90 per cent of its value, pushing almost three-quarters of the population into poverty. The situation has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, electricity cuts, supply chain shortages and a banking crisis that has locked up depositor funds.

Despite all the odds, the Lebanese people did everything to support us and support our business, and we couldn’t be more grateful.
Fouad Naccache, co-founder of Foux

“We took a huge risk and launched our business at one of the worst times Lebanon has ever seen,” Naccache says. “But we followed our guts, and we are forever proud that we started from home and expanded.”

Despite the odds and challenges, Foux was able to launch six sleek bag designs over the course of a year. From clutches to belt bags and crossbody pieces, each of the models comes in a number of vibrant and eye-catching colours. The brand ships internationally, with points of sale in Dubai, Nigeria, Cairo and Doha.

With plans under way to establish a global presence, the men behind the brand have their eyes set on an even bigger picture: giving back to the planet. Foux takes pride in being vegan, sustainable and ethical, three values the founders take to heart.

“We all have an individual responsibility to protect our planet,” says Naccache. “It is everyone’s duty to help in any way to give back to the Earth.”

All Foux handbags are eco-friendly. Photo: Foux

From manufacturing to packaging, Foux products are eco-friendly, causing minimal harm to the planet or its inhabitants.

“Fast fashion may be the trend now, but slow fashion will soon take over, as it should,” Naccache says.

While Foux’s values will remain unchanged, its trajectory is versatile. While bags will continue to be a Foux staple, the founders are keen to introduce other items to the roster that align with their identity.

“As we speak, we’re currently experimenting and exploring to see where we can take our brand in its second year,” says Naccache.

In the meantime, they are relishing a reality that once seemed unattainable.

“It all happened very fast,” says Naccache. “Never would we have thought that one year could change our lives for ever.”

Updated: September 21, 2022, 1:54 PM