Anita (right) with shoe designer Ana. | Vicki McLeod

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It’s a hot Friday afternoon in Puerto Andratx and the area outside of the Club de Vela restaurant is being transformed from a tarmaced patio into a catwalk. There’s going to be a fashion show, featuring ten models, wearing clothes from local shops Verdissimo, and Whuaalaa, with sunglasses from Tutto Sole, shoes from the Spanish designer, Ana Marttin, and carrying handmade bags from Zinia, a new Belgian brand. Anita D’Hooghe, the woman behind Zinia, is staying cool, calm and collected as around her technicians erect the stage and lighting for the event. It’s a very different scene to the week before when Anita and I meet for a drink and a chat.

Anita, is originally from Belgium, and has had connections to Mallorca for several years. “We have a family home here in Cala Llamp just beside Port Andratx and that’s how I met Ana,” she tells me over a glass of “rosado con hielo” in the Club de Vela. Ana, the shoe designer, is also a practicing architect and the two met when she designed Anita’s house. When you think about it there are similarities between shoes and houses, I say. And handbags, I think.

You can see more about Anita’s bags on www.zinia-belgium.com

Inspiration, dream big

So what inspired you to create handbags? I ask Anita. “I started the business in 2020 in Belgium because I wanted to have a stylish bag which I could carry during the working day, which would be big enough to have my things for the evening inside if I was going out, and also have the option to have a smaller, evening bag which could coordinate. I fantasised about having my dream bag which I could bring with me on trips as carry-on luggage, a business day bag or an evening clutch bag. But I couldn’t find anything which fit the bill so I decided to follow my heart and create my own.”

Italian Tradition

How long did it take from idea to reality? “There are many factors to think about in the design of the perfect bag but quality and finish were at the top of the list, and this led me on a journey to Florence in Italy where I finally found the craftspeople who now create the Zinia bags. Each of the bags is handmade by artisans whose history stretches back to 1875 when the family first began to work with leather for bags. It was a very exciting day when my designs became part of that legacy!” Anita tells me with a smile on her face.

Famous friends

Monica Cruz, model, actress and the little sister of Penelope, is a good friend of Ana’s and heard about the Zinia bags through her. “She was very happy to support both of us and she offered to model for us in Port Andratx recently. The resulting beautiful photoshoot has become our current advertising campaign. The managed to showcase our bags, luggage, belts and scarves for men and women and we are delighted with it. We were very lucky to have her model for us, it has meant a lot."

Zinia travels!

How would you describe your brand? “Zinia is a fashion accessories brand which specialises in beautiful, classically made handbags and luggage that can accompany its owners around the world from Monaco to Dubai to Tokyo! That’s why I named the bags after these cities. I wanted to give them the international feel that I was craving in 2020 when we were all so restricted in travelling. And now we can travel. It is so exciting to be able to bring my bags to Mallorca which I love so much.”