The model has joined forces with Port Tanger, a glasses company named for the Moroccan city of Tangier, to create two new frame shapes. As part of her desire to help lift up the Arab community, she has named the styles after the two strongest women she knows: her mother and the famous Egyptian singer, Umm Kulthum.
The Umm frame, named for the singer, is fittingly a cat-eye shape, while M’Barka is wider and 1970s-style pair.
The unusual name, M'Barka, is one that is very close to her, she explains. “It comes from the word mabrook, which means congratulations. But it’s also my mum’s name. And when I was making this collaboration, the first person that I thought of, who I love and who I think is my icon, is my mother. And back in the '70s and '80s, my mom was a fashionista. So she’s been a big inspiration for me too.”
The Dutch model, 26, who is of Moroccan and Egyptian descent, grew up in the Netherlands and is now one of the most recognisable faces on the fashion runway, having walked for brands such as Fendi, Maison Margiela, Versace and Moschino.
This collaboration is part of a wider effort outside of her modelling work, to help draw attention to the talent coming out of the wider Arab region. “I want to be a role model for young girls who are struggling with racism or struggling with their looks or with their skin colour,” she explains. “There aren’t many Arabic models, and being an African-Arabic model, I’m trying to open doors for more Arabic girls.”
Hammam is also part of the platform She's the First, which promotes equal access to education for girls around the world. Determined to help promote diversity and uplift Arab girls and women, the model explains she has struggled to reconcile the different forces that shape her identity, describing her own "journey of finding my roots as a Moroccan-Egyptian".
"The older I’m getting, the more I realise the importance of speaking out and sharing where I come from, and my people. I’m really proud of my heritage, so I try to put it into everything I do in my life and my career. For me, doing this was also celebrating the fact that Arabs are doing so amazingly at this time, and I feel like there aren’t that many people that come together and unite and support each other.”