Eco-Friendly Sandals from Lebanon

Lebanese footwear designer Hazem Haddad’s new models are inspired by the recent past but futuristic in their flair

Hazem Haddad’s latest collection of footwear reflects the earth-shattering changes that Lebanon has undergone over the past 12 months. Released in May 2021 and simply named Four, the new HH line includes six models – five sandals and one slide – described by the Lebanese designer as “chunkier” that his past work and “all in black.”

He describes Four as a sort of sequel to collection Two. “My creativity was blocked after the Beirut explosion,” he says. “But I didn’t want to burn an entire collection, so I did an extension of collection Two.” The six models are gender neutral, as with all HH offerings, and available in sizes 36 to 46. “I introduced the slide as an online exclusive. This time, all six models are also available as slides, without the back strap.”

Hazem Haddad Fashion Trust Arabia 1
Hazem Haddad Fashion Trust Arabia 1
Hazem Haddad Fashion Trust Arabia 2
Hazem Haddad Fashion Trust Arabia 2

Prior to his foray into fashion, Haddad worked in branding, marketing and advertising for 10 years. Then one day, he decided to shift gears. “I’m a shoe collector, and I love shoes,” he says. In pursuit of this passion, he created his first collection of footwear. “I identified a gap in the market for luxury summer shoes at affordable prices. That’s when I designed collection One. I produced the collection in Tripoli, and I liked the designs but not the finishing, so I canceled it, but kept the shoes as a trial collection.”

For his following releases, Haddad decided to work with the skilled artisans in Beirut’s Armenian neighborhood of Bourj Hammoud, where all his designs are now produced by hand. “Handmade and handcrafted elements in my brand include the lining, made from lambskin so the foot doesn’t sweat or slide.” He’s also striving to keep his brand ethical and sustainable. “All my leathers are sourced from dead-stock shops around Beirut, and all other materials are also sourced locally,” he says. “I always help Lebanese craftsmanship and shops.”

Hazem Haddad Fashion Trust Arabia 3
Hazem Haddad Fashion Trust Arabia 3
Hazem Haddad Fashion Trust Arabia 4
Hazem Haddad Fashion Trust Arabia 4

He officially launched his brand in summer 2019 with collection Two, initially conceiving HH as a summer footwear range, with six models only per season. “I started HH as a summer-based label,” says Haddad. “But after collection Two, I changed my mind and decided to follow the fashion calendar and have two collections per year. This is how I’m going to continue.”

HH footwear is now available at Lone Design Club in London, FLTRD in Dubai, Al Ostoura in Kuwait and Xini Concept in Singapore. “These places carry gigantic brands. My shoes are next to brands like Chloé and Comme des Garçons!”

Coming up, Haddad will be releasing a limited edition model – a slide created in collaboration with designer and illustrator Ahmed Amer. As with all HH footwear, the new collaboration will espouse the three core HH tenets: “Gender neutral. Minimalist. Timeless.”