Designers based in Morocco usually have one thing in common: they all seem to be moved by their surroundings. Yves Saint Laurent was motivated to start using color in his collections after spending significant time in Morocco. Today’s designers tend to focus on combining tradition — embroidery techniques, styles, or even textiles — with modern looks whether bohemian, one-of-a-kind or inspired. In our latest blog post, we met with three of the most Instagram-enviable designers working in Morocco.
For bohemian fashion designer Sofia El Arabi, ‘the streets of Morocco are the real essence of this mix of inspirations. People live in these streets, they shout, they talk loudly, women from the Twin Towers desks [business center] meet others from the old medina, frequenting the same markets. It is a pure painting’.
Her design style could be summed up as a ‘story of speaking French, English and Arabic in the same sentence, salivating over both French cheeses and Moroccan couscous at the same table, wearing blue jeans under traditional djellabas during Friday prayers. It is not something I can put into words’.
Jerusalem born Artsi Ifrach is a fashion designer who is better known as ARTC in fashion world. Artsi has found his sanctuary in Morocco, where he’s on a quest for independence and has been actively creating his ‘one of a kind’ collections. Artsi — meaning ‘My Country’ in Hebrew and Arabic — lived in Tel Aviv, Paris and Amsterdam before settling in Morocco and has an extensive understanding of multiculturalism.
‘Since I only work with artisans people in Morocco’, says the designer, ‘my work is artisanal, where I try to combine culture, past and craft. I do one of a kind, only one piece of each. By doing so I keep the past alive and bring it to the future’.
Kaftan Queen uses dress shapes found in Morocco that can be worn as everyday maxi dresses in modern light-weight easy to wear fabrics once back home. Expect to see traditional dressmaking skills passed on from mother to daughter like embroidery and crochet as decorative motives, but on modern shape dresses and jackets. At the recently expanded boutique, fashionistas have the pleasure of purchasing a hand-made bag or dress — almost all made in house in the workshop below by a team of dedicated tailors.
‘Marrakech has to be one of the most creative places one can visit. Just a walk through the souks and seeing the woven fabrics the Jewelry and bead work the vibrant colors is absolutely inspirational’, says Sarah Buchan of Kaftan Queen.