Her name is Fatima Essahsah, a 28 years old vibrant woman. Born and raised in Amsterdam with roots in the beautiful city Alhoceima Morocco; where her story begins. She has an education in social & cultural work and from there she found a unique way to combine her passion for fashion and art.
It is a pleasure to share her story with our readers,
After your study in social work what motivated you to open your own business?
Actually, I graduated with my business plan for my company; FANZ productions. My mentor believed in it and told me to go for it. I told him; in my head I already did! After my study I was driven to fulfill my dream. On graduation day he said: ‘Fatima went out and put her dream in an overall’. And I sure did! I have done some beautiful projects, for example; EXCEPTION (a lifestyle and fashion event) and Amsterdam Fashion College (a program for young entrepreneurs in fashion) and many more. Between these projects I decided to study anthropology. With FANZ productions I am always looking for the story behind the art, fashion and music. I was mostly intrigued by designers who made their cultural identity part of their work. It tells a story. Then I became more curious about my own story and what identified me as a person. I come from a very rich amazing culture and the more I learned about it the more I felt the need to do something with it. Especially the strength and beauty of the amazing woman, is worth telling about. Their stories back then were told in many ways; trough lyrics, tattoos they put on their faces and hands and of course through jewelry. I wanted to bring back the beauty of the traditional jewelry for the strong women of today.
What challenges faced you when you first started your business?
A lot of challenges and every day is still a challenge. Sometimes things don’t work out as you planned or your trust in people gets tested. But when I think about it, that is part of life. Not everything in life is in our hands. As a Muslim I always put trust in the Almighty. I work hard and let my Creator do the rest. That doesn’t mean I don’t get disappointed sometimes, but as I get older I learn to pick up myself easier and say ‘Alhamdoellilah (thank God); if this is not part of His plan, then it was not good for me or He has better things planned for me’. And that is the truth!
Why did you choose jewelry design, as it is a far path from your line of study?
As I explained in the previous question; it is a path that crosses my road of experience and interest perfectly. It is mostly the culture identity that comes with art that fascinates me. FANZ productions gives a platform to these stories, it was only a matter of time that I told my own.
Where do you get your inspiration from for your designs?
Mostly I get inspiration for my designs from the authentic Berber jewelry. I travelled to the North and South of Morocco to let the people, colors and patterns inspire me. To make the jewelry wearable for the women of today I tried to incorporate my designs with the trends seen on the catwalk.
Are you considering bringing your designs to the Arab world?
Definitely! I surely want to explore if my designs fall in the flavor of women all over the world. We are also working on a line of clutches. Some women love the authentic Berber designs but don’t like to wear jewelry. By expanding our collection with clutches we hope we can make more women happy and help spread the stories!
What advice do you give girls who have a talent for jewelry design?
If you have a plan and you feel excited about it, then go work your hardest to share your passion with others. Women always want to stand out so make sure you make something authentic. Women want to wear what suits them and what makes them feel like themselves. Just go out and find out what that is and enjoy every step!
How do you compare opportunities for women in the Netherlands compared to women back in Morocco?
I am not sure if there is a difference. Surely in the small villages in Morocco where the women live a different life, the opportunities are not the same. But that is because the circumstances are not the same. If they were, then I strongly believe that Moroccan women would do a better job with the opportunities they get and they do most of the time. They are strong women, who know what they want. Sometimes maybe they should get more space from men to develop themselves even more. But not every man is ready for that I guess. That is not only a Moroccan thing. But nowadays when I am in Morocco I hear the man say more than ever: ‘this is the time of women, they rule now. ‘Secretly I believe they are proud of them though’.
What are some of your future goals and dreams?
I hope I can make more and more women happy with STONESSTORIES and that I will keep on searching for more stories of the beautiful and strong women of Morocco. My future goals with FANZ productions is to develop myself every day and to continue to do projects that really make a difference on a personal level as well as in society. More important to me is that I not only focus on the goals but also enjoy the ride and learn from every step of the way.
Facebook | www.facebook.com/stonesstories
Instagram | @stonesstories
Youtube | https://youtu.be/w4b2_bhChdM
For this interview in Arabic click here
:للعربية اضغط هنا
photo credits for photo shoots by: Daisy van Knotsenburg