WHY MEQNES — THE STORY.

In a normal world, the story of Meqnes would not even be possible.

Founder Kamal Jahid is from Rabat, Morocco’s capital. He came to Europe as a student intern, bouncing from Krakow, to Berlin, and to Paris before settling in Warsaw. Along the way, he slowly built his empire as a personal stylist, entrepreneur, author, blogger, and life coach. Next stop: fashion mogul.

His co-founder David Liebers is from upstate New York, USA and is a second-year medical student at Harvard Medical School. He came to study human rights and stayed in Poland as a Fulbright scholar.

They met on Warsaw’s Nowy Swiat Street through mutual friends, and quickly became good friends, bonding over an interest in psychology and men’s fashion.

Now, fast forward to a trip to the Moroccan desert…

The sounds, smells and feeling of the Moroccan market or “medina” cannot replicate anywhere else on earth. Aromas wafting from the spice stalls, the infinite patterns of the slippers, the proprietors hawking their Argan oil—it is a sensory overload. And the crown jewel of any Moroccan medina is the leather artisan. Morocco has a long history of producing some of the worlds most sought after leather products. Moroccans are very proud of their leather products.

And for good reason. The impressive designs found in men’s bags, satchels, luggages, pouches, and wallets are recognizable wherever you see them around the world. And the cool part of it is the tradition puts value on everything being hand made.

But the tradition has started to die. The real artisans—the guys who know their leather sources, know the real Moroccan designs, and handcraft products that will last for a lifetime—they are beginning to disappear. The reason for this is simple: The industrialization and globalization of selling products to tourists. Big manufacturers have stepped in and started to flood the market with cheap, poor representations of the high quality products that you used to find.

Given this, Kamal and David postponed any trip to the desert and sought out the last remaining real Moroccan leather artisans who did business the old fashioned way, and obtained a couple of their bags. On the flight home they got stopped no fewer than 15 times by strangers who wanted to know where they could get some bags of their own.

That’s where the idea sparked. Everybody loved them. Why not offer these bags to the world?

And then they had a second idea. Why not turn this into a true collaboration? Poland has started producing some of Europe’s finest leather. Why not put the magical Moroccan designs together with Europe’s highest quality leather and parts?

There’s no reason why not. So they did it.

They began to work closely with Moroccan leather artisans to design vintage-style luxury bags that gave a taste of what it means to be at the leather stall at a Moroccan medina. They went through 35 designs before arriving at the right one.

That is when the Moroccan story started merging back with the Polish story. Back in Warsaw, the renaissance of interest in leather products was roaring and a number of prominent old leather manufacturers were beginning to experiment with some extremely high quality leather and new designs.

They found the best one, and the team was complete.

Thus Meqnes was born. A Moroccan guy, and an American guy, producing Moroccan-Polish luxury men’s bags.

The bags are full grained leather. They use the highest quality hardware parts. They use a thicker leather than most bags so that it will keep its form over time. The design is unique—you won’t find another bag that looks like a Meqnes in the luxury class of men’s products. They come in three exquisite colors: brown, black and blue. They have the trademark Moroccan stitching, and a flashy red lining interior.

Each bag comes in a protective canvas drawstring bag, and with instructions about how to make sure the bag gets taken care of.

Meqnes cares about the details, and it will be obvious that this is the case if you get one.

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