One of the best parts of traveling is exploring the local markets to find the best local goods and artisan craftsmen. However, if you're housebound in Houston, Souk Chic is the next best thing.
The idea for Souk Chic began when founder Ashley Srouji left Houston to study at the American University in Beirut and found herself surrounded by designers and entrepreneurs making interesting things. Fast forward a decade or so, and Srouji felt like the time was right to introduce her favorite lines from around the world to the Houston market, some of which are available in the US for the first time ever.
Srouji is holding the second Souk Chic pop-up on this Friday, July 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cuatro. Look for handmade leather sandals from Greece and Spain, cheeky straw hats and bags from Beirut's Caren Lola, colorful fabric clutches made in Morocco, woven beach totes made in Colombia, kaftans made in Morocco by a pair of Saudi Arabian designers and embroidered dresses inspired by the traditional grab of Ukraine by Foberini.
The stand-out brand at Souk Chic is Sarah's Bag, a line of kitschy yet beautiful clutches from Lebanon. The brand scored a major coup when Amal Clooney was spotted carrying the bags around town, but that's not the only good reason to pick one up.
"It's amazing the work that they do. [Designer Sarah Beydoun] has trained prisoners to do the bead work because in Lebanese society, if a woman has been in prison she's not accepted back into society and it's hard to find a job, so she trains them in these artisan techniques," says Srouji.
Srouji has dreams of turning Souk Chic into a brick-and-mortar concept, but for now she's focusing on a regular schedule of pop-up events in Houston and beyond (she's taking her wares to Dallas and New York in the fall) as well as launching a website in August.
Until then, think global and shop local.