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Moroccan Fashion : The Kaftan

Does an international designer have to necessarily start from Paris? Why not from Casablanca, Marrakesh, Fez, Agadir, Rabat ...

Well, Moroccan designers choose to showcase their collections in Morocco, as the people are the judge of their work while the place has no relevance for them, specially if the collections reflect originality and modernity of a specific culture and society on one hand, and on the other hand if the design and style are known to be acclaimed all over the world. This is exactly the case of Moroccan Fashion.

In Morocco, fashion preserves its traditional style inherited from various great civilizations that found their way to Northwest Africa. What is important in today's Moroccan fashion is the fusion of modern Western style with the traditional Moroccan fashion. Moroccan fashion has been recognized for its style and has garnered a reputation, winning awards in international fashion shows throughout Europe. This contemporary style responds to today's Moroccan women's needs: authenticity, sophistication, and fluid lines.

Women in the Western world are migrating towards this contemporary Moroccan fashion as it brings the Old World to them in a New World elegance and chic style. The Moroccan Kaftan transitioned from traditional apparel made from heavy and excessive fabric to today's sheer, form-fitting, and bare gowns. Moroccan dress has more westernized arms that are less cumbersome and allow for more natural movement without excess fabric. These are two movements in fashion, which represent a progressive current towards Western dress.

Various ateliers in Morocco design traditional and adopt contemporary fashions to meet customers different taste and needs. There is no dress, which is replicated stylistically, though some may seem similar, each is unique. Moroccan fashion's goal is for various lines of clothing to attract a myriad of different women with different styles and fashion needs.

The process begins by importing high quality fabrics from India, Japan, China, the Middle East, and France. Once these fabrics arrive, they are carefully and personally handled and form a kinetic relationship with designers and tailors, feeling them for motion, pliability, sensuality, and texture, then the process of design for the dress whose inspiration comes specifically from that fabric's aura begins. Thus, it is the fabric, which inspires the design, with an attempt to bring forward this artistic energy in the choosing of colors which range from chartreuse to rich rusts, enhanced often with gold or silver threading or embroidery. Understatement becomes crucial in any presentation. Moroccan tailors often rely on tribal accessories to complete the outfit and bring to it an Old World quality while fusing with New World chic.

As Nader said: "design is like a language”, it is often specific to a place and to a culture as a whole. objects reflects society and the way of life of which they are part. To speak about design in Morocco is the same as speaking about ‘a creative act’ that confronts materials with technical and cultural baggage. It is as well a willingness to find the balance between earned knowledge and the search of new paths. The challenge is to conciliate the richness and abundance of our patrimony with the technical and cultural requirement of the present and the future. If one considers design as a human activity consisting of conceiving objects of daily life, then the culture of design is ancient in Morocco. There is no doubt that it’s one of the world’s oldest professions . Then it is only a matter of researching our roots, our history and the multiple and diverse influences that have made the interior landscapes of past generations.

“What about the relationship between our ancestors and objects?” wondered Nader. “ Personally, I found that there are objects with an intimate sense tied to functions. Some designers would dream to invent an object like the Kasaà . this is a wooden tray on which women rolled grain with an open , hospitable movement, gentle and not emphatic, mute and humble. This same tray would serve as a table for the family and for an always welcome guest. A thousand years old, the Kasaà is not tied to any formal fashion, as one sometimes think about those objects that are either uniquely decorative or uniquely functional. The Kasaà is not the only object where formal Moroccan tradition expresses all its meanings.

There are others like The barouche “sleeper” and the Kaftan. The Tagine plate has become only a serving dish, but before it used to have many uses in cooking the most delicious food of the poor as well as for the very very rich”. The future of Moroccan design is most probably in how it relates of the foundation of the values of Moroccan society.






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