You're probably thinking why Lebanon?
Kristina's appreciation of makers and cultural heritage combined with Lebanon's rich history of handmade craftsworks (dating back to the Phoenicians) pushed her to create a line of footwear handmade in Lebanon.
"I believe in people and it is only when I met a talented artisan named Naji that I decided to launch the project."
The idea behind this 961 project is to put Naji and his team's exceptional knowledge and skills in the spotlight.
The Beirut Explosion 2020
On August 4, 2020, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history pulverized the port of Beirut and damaged over half the city.
Since then, Lebanon, has been facing three mega-crises all at once: a financial crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the aftermath of the port blast.
The population is experiencing anger, despair and anxiety. The UN estimates that 78 percent of the Lebanese lives below the poverty line.
"With the 961 project, my aim is, in my own modest way, to give a financial stability to one, two, three Lebanese artisans and their families."
A connection for life
Kristina has Lebanese origins. She was born and raised in Lebanon, and moved to Brussels in 2015.
"The love I have for Lebanon is hard to describe, it's a connection for life. I couldn't say it better than both of those articles combined :
"I have decided to introduce The 961 Beirut collection with a series of mini-reportages. The idea is take you on the project's journey : from idea to project launch.
I'll be introducing one episode at a time - starting the week of April the 11th.