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Martyre Founders Anwar Hadid and Yoni Laham Just Dropped Jewelry for a Great Cause

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Photo:  Jordan Keith, Courtesy of Martyre 

Anwar Hadid and Yoni Laham launched their jewelry label Martyre on a high note in May of 2019. The line’s unisex pieces in silver and rose gold struck a chord with friends like Kaia Gerber and Zayn Malik and quickly gained a cult following. Still, Hadid and Laham wanted to channel their success into a project that could have an impact beyond fashion. “I always want to be able to align what I create with things that can help people,” Hadid said on the phone from Manhattan. “[Projects] that will spread love, health, and bring good things to the world.” Via a forthcoming collaboration with the nonprofit Pencils of Promise, Hadid and Laham are doing just that. Starting this month, 50% of the proceeds of Martyre’s Eternal bracelet will go straight to the charity, which focuses on education access and child literacy.

Founded in 2008 by entrepreneur Adam Braun, the brother of influential record executive Scooter, Pencils of Promise builds schools and empowers teachers and parents in nations like Ghana, Guatemala, Laos, and Nicaragua. The organization has been planning the collab for a while, but the coronavirus pandemic and other global tragedies like the explosion in Beirut have only strengthened their resolve to do good with their business. Hadid and Laham wanted to contribute to an organization whose values reflected their own. “We’ve known about Pencils of Promise forever, and from the beginning of Martyre, we’ve been thinking about which charity represented our morals and how we can pair up,” says Laham. “When we were able to get in touch with them and found out that they were interested in doing things with us, we were incredibly excited. We’re aligned with their mission statement—what better fundamental principle is there than trying to give the best education to children in the developing world?”

The interlocking design and simplicity of the brand’s Eternal bracelet made it ideal for the collaboration. “The piece represents coming together,” says Hadid. “[And] all the great things that we and these organizations can do when we’re working together.” Shot on models Lucky Blue Smith and Cailin Russo weeks before Los Angeles’s stay-at-home order halted fashion production, the bracelet is representative of Martyre’s sleek aesthetic. Though the final images from photographer Jordan Keith are eye-catching, the project wasn’t the result of a lengthy creative brief. “There wasn’t much of a theme; we just try to portray our style,” says Laham. “It was a similar process to when we do a collection; we’ll put together our references and talk about what we visualize, but besides that, the rest is [about a] vibe. We get a bunch of friends together, from the models to the photographers and hair and makeup. It’s all people we know, so there’s going to be good energy and great chemistry.”

That kind of organic process has informed Martyre’s first year as a business, which has proven to be successful. The brand has already been showcased on the covers of international Vogue editions and worn by a cadre of global cool kids. Still, any endeavor has its ups and downs. “Yoni and I have learned a lot about creativity and the things that we want to push for in the future,” says Hadid. “Building a business is tough, but it’s rewarding to put our heads together and do the things that we’ve envisioned. Over time we’ve realized that we can bring things to fruition, and that has taught us a lot about ourselves.” Though it’s thrilling to land a placement on a household name or see their products in a magazine, Hadid and Laham are most excited when they spot Martyre’s wares on the street. “We work in fashion, so we’re surrounded by it, but when you’re out and see someone to the left of you wearing something that you’ve created, it blindsides you,” says Laham. “[To see] they love it not because it’s connected to anyone, but because it makes them confident is the best feeling.”

Hadid and Laham have kept busy during the quarantine, though they’ve chosen different methods of combating social isolation blues—Laham has been working on music, while Hadid adopted a puppy, Dexter, with girlfriend Dua Lipa. But it’s clear that making charity one of their brand’s principles has become a priority for both. “So much going on in the world right now, but Pencils of Promise has had this mission for a long time,” says Laham. “We’re blessed to have access to all these resources, but everyone in the world deserves a good education, clean water, and a safe environment.” Hadid echoed that sentiment. “It’s incredible that we are even in a place where we have the opportunity to do something like this,” he says. “Not everyone does, so we should always be thinking about giving back in everything we do.”

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