Marion Hanania (who goes by Mayon, happily for me, because I can’t for the life of me produce a convincing ‘r’ sound in French) is a girl who has a lot going on. It’s hard to label her, because she isn’t just a shoe designer, or artist, or singer, or vegetarian. She’s a really nice person above all else, and I was happy to talk to her about the new cruelty-free shoes she designed in collaboration with Brice Partouche of April77 called « Good Guys ».
photos by Estelle Hanania
sketches for the Good Guys collection and self-portait by Mayon
*Hi Mayon, thanks SO MUCH for doing this interview. Can you tell me about how this project came to life? I know it has something to do with Brice Partouche at April77 (love that guy!). Could you explain why leather-free products are important to you, and also about the type of production you chose in Portugal.
Mayon: Hello! Yes this project started first between Brice and me, we were both thinking at the same time about starting a shoe project and not using leather, or more precisely a cruelty free shoe brand.
When I met him the first thing we talked about was this idea that we had in common.Then a few months later we started to sketch and work together with a commercial agent. Leather-free products are important to me because I love animals. It’s as simple as it sounds. I design shoes for other brands and leather is always the main material we use in this industry. I started to feel the need to do my own brand, but I didn’t want to use any leather, and to start « fresh ». You surely know about Stella McCartney, she’s a vegan and you’ll never find leather in any of her creation and still it is very luxurious and the designs are incredibly beautiful and the materials high quality.
To produce in Portugal was also something I cared deeply about. I wanted to produce in Europe and for our kind of shoes Portugal was great. It wasn’t easy to find a factory that was ok not to use leather though.
*How long have you been designing/loving shoes? I know you love to travel, do you get your inspiration on the road?
Mayon: I’ve been a shoe designer for almost nine years now, I started really young. I had my first shoe collection called « Marion Hanania » when I was 21 and I was selling my shoes in France, Europe, Japan, etc. That lasted for three years then I started to work as a freelance for various brands like Isabel Marant, And A, Dévastée, Mellow Yellow.
I can’t really stay at the same place all the time, I need to go on the road and travel to get inspired, I need to be free and to have a little excitement and the risk of being my own boss. Travels are a very important part of my life and the creative process for me.
When you are on the road everything has a special power/effect on you, the lights, the architecture, the people, every minute is worth living and 2 weeks in Sweden or New York can help me go through a whole year in Paris. I also love Paris, and sometimes I try to recreate the excitement of being abroad when I’m home. It works but at some point I will always feel the need to go somewhere else.
*It’s not easy to find vegetarian friendly shoes, especially in great classic designs. Can you talk about why you wanted to offer this kind of product?
Mayon: Indeed, when you’re a vegan and you are looking for shoes it’s a tough quest, especially if you like fashion and not only hiking boots or plastic pumps made in China. I mean that vegan shoes can also offer style, great design and stay trendy or chic, and not only be comfortable and practical-it’s not an easy thing to find! Brice and I wanted to make a shoe collection for both vegans and non-vegans, just great shoes that you really want to wear because they look good and they are well-crafted just like any other shoes that I love like Rachel Comey, Opening Ceremony, Stella McCartney, Maison Martin Margiela, Marni, Dries Van Noten…
*It seems like you enjoy working collaboratively (photos by your sister, music by Yaya for the Good Guys video, etc). Can you tell me what you enjoy about this process?
Mayon: I love collaborations, I love working with other artists, photographers, musicians or designers. That’s how it started with Brice, we had a very good feeling and we didn’t hesitate to build something together.
My sister has always be an inspiration for me and we’ve worked a lot together since…always, she’s my twin sister and we always ask each other’s opinions on…everything almost! She took the « Good Guys » pictures for the Autumn/Winter « Good Guys » collection, I love them, she always understands what I want.
David Herman Dune is like a « muse » of my everyday life,his music is the soundtrack of my life. It wasn’t an option not to make him do « something » for « Good Guys ». He is a vegan like Brice and he was a strong inspiration for creating this collection. And he is beautiful and wears them so well!
*What is your favorite pair of shoes of all time?
Mayon: My favorite pair of shoes is the « Good Guys » Derby that I can’t quit right now!! But if I have to choose another one it would be my old Marni « cut-out-patched » loafer, masculine and so feminine at the same time. They are a really original pair that I found in London a few years back.
*People are dying of anticipation to get their hands on these shoes, when and where can we get them?!!
Mayon: I just want to make them happy!! They’ll be able to buy the shoes at the April77 shop in Paris but also in New York at MooShoes and in another twenty shops in France.
*Veggie burger or hambuger?
Veggie Burger+ oinon ring
*Blow dryer or air dry for your hair?
Air dry in the summer :) but blow dryer in the winter :(
*Bicycle, skate board, or…roller skates?
*Cats or dogs?
*Acoustic or electric?
*Flats or heels?
Flats (wish I was more of a heel girl)
*And last but not least, do you have an argument infaillible for durable development?
Mayon: I wouldn’t have any ARGUMENT INFAILLIBLE to convince people about the « developpement durable », I’m not into convincing or making a point but If you can do something to help our planet and the future generations, do it.
Wear Good Guys! They are good for you and for the future generations… ;)
You can get updates about Good Guys on their Facebook page.