“I often approach places, emotions, or symbols from the Moroccan culture. I want to reflect that concept of people looking for an identity, for comfort and sustainability.”
Many Moroccan artists take Morocco as an inspiration for their fashion designs or collections. Fashion designer Ghitta Laskrouif is no different, yet no two Moroccan artists are alike.
Finding inspiration in the environment, culture, art, and traditions of the country, as well as the textiles and fabrics used in the clothes, artists combine traditional Moroccan touches with their creative visions to design unique pieces.
Despite the modernization of today’s world and the progressive transition from traditional to trendy living, Moroccan youth have remarkably managed to integrate their traditions and culture with contemporary art, holding onto their identity and origins.
Growing up in the Moroccan countryside, Ghitta Laskrouif’s family was very involved in craft and permaculture, which influenced the fashion designer’s lifestyle and education at a young age.
As a little girl, Ghitta was passionate about anime art and would rent different books about nature and comics from her primary school. She became more interested in the artistic world after taking fine arts courses at school, which encouraged her to move to Casablanca at the age of 14 to pursue studies in fine arts.
“I thought that urban life would also be something exciting … I found myself having a totally different concept of life,” Ghitta Laskrouif shared in an interview with Morocco World News.
“The contrast between slow rural life and urban life influenced my art style,” she mused.
During her artistic studies, the subject that sparked Ghitta’s interest and curiosity was art history. As she discovered Dadaism, Ghitta learned more about herself and how her lifestyle can fit in today’s world.
Explaining her love for sustainability and passion for an eco-friendly lifestyle, she said she “wanted to make something that has a meaning in reality, not only elitist, conceptual, or religious art.”
“I was more interested in interactive art and design as a solution for environmental waste.”
Ghitta has always enjoyed making her own clothes, but not necessarily for others. However, her friends’ love and support for her designs sparked her love for the fashion world as she looked for more opportunities to learn and pursue design after graduating from fashion school.
After completing her art and fashion design education and having obtained enough knowledge and experience through many challenges, Ghitta decided to establish her own brand and translate her ideas into fashion by creating refined products based on the eco-design process.
Inspirations and challenges
The Moroccan designer looks up to many grand artists such as the Japanese avant-garde fashion designer Yohji Yamamato, who is famous for his oversized silhouette in black, and the famous Belgian fashion designers Dries Van Noten and Martin Margiela.
Ghitta Laskrouif sees herself an avant-garde designer who considers the nature of the local market in Morocco — and her budget — to create unique, sustainable fashion designs.
“It is either the textiles or clothes that inspire me,” said the fashion designer. “Generally I keep in mind two fundamentals, simple cuts, more catchy details, symbols, or embroidery.”
When Ghitta first started her fashion brand, she did not have many fears—she knew her passion and she knew that her goal was to be a fashion designer who focuses on eco-design. Most importantly, the young designer wanted her advocacy for sustainability to be heard through her designs.
But like many fashion designers, her fear started developing as she was faced with the fashion world’s challenges.
“A designer today is shaped and challenged by many things, politics, culture, beliefs … Any design is a vote for an ideology or a stand against it, which is a very difficult mission,” said Ghitta.
“It is becoming a survival game, everything is developing in an unsustainable way and far from the [original] process, it is not a choice anymore,” she continued.
“My battle is bigger now. I strive to reduce my negative impact on society as an individual and as a brand.”
Behind Ghitta’s fashion designs
Being a fashion designer that seeks sustainability, Ghitta Laskrouif uses in her creations eco-friendly materials such as deadstock fabrics or clothes, classical and ethnic fabrics, and vintage clothes.
“Storytelling is important for me,” she said. “I often approach places, emotions, or symbols from the Moroccan culture. I want to reflect that concept of people looking for an identity, for comfort and sustainability.”
Ghitta’s favorite creations are shirts that have traditional patterns inspired by the Moroccan “caidal” tent and the Moroccan “qandil” oil lamp, which Ghitta believes is a symbol of warmth and care.
The unique caildal and qandil patterns on Ghitta’s creations resemble pieces on a chess board. Ghitta finds the interpretation interesting, given that the caildal tents have a strong political meaning, as they were designed for feudal rulers under the French protectorate.
“The artisans at that time might have had a lot of thoughts to come up with this symbol design in the end. And find I like the fact that each person has a definition and interpretation of the pattern,” added Ghitta.
Ghitta’s favorite part of being a fashion designer is seeing people wearing her designs, which she believes are especially interesting for consumers with youthful personalities or affection for Morocco. Most importantly, the young designer wants people to feel proud and comfortable while wearing her designs.
“I would love for my designs to invite people to have a conversation about the clothes and get to know the story behind them.”
Social media, fashion design in Morocco, and advice
Social media and digital tools are what rule our world today. Everything we know, see, consume, purchase, and believe in has been influenced by social media platforms, which can make consumers’ lives easier but creators’ a little more difficult.
Ghitta believes that before the rise of social media, people had a choice of either accepting a product or rejecting it.
Now, consumers are in control of the fashion world, shaping brands based on what they want and think is the current trend, which drives creators to change their strategies—and sometimes even their values.
“Being young and carefree, I had that obsession of changing the world without considering myself in the process,” Ghitta said.
In Morocco, fashion design and fine arts are not as celebrated as other career paths, which can be very discouraging for Moroccan artists that are enthusiastic about their passion and have great talent.
“The market is still not clear. There are a lot of changes in the law; there is no clear guideline on how to be protected legally,” she added.
However, artists like Ghitta believe that it is necessary to be self-sustained and to always be on the search for international events and opportunities to grow as a business.
Advice to new and young Moroccan fashion designers
The designer advises young Moroccans who want to pursue a career in fashion design to always stay modest and have professional experience apart from academic experience.
Ghitta believes that fashion is not just about drawing and fun—in reality, it is a lot of hard work and commitment.
“[Fashion design] is more about understanding the whole process, from ideas, sourcing materials, to the client,” said Ghitta. “Even after, it is continuous research, understanding the culture, the changes!”
Learning is an important aspect of working in the fashion industry. Ghitta encourages new fashion designers to stay abreast of trends; keep an eye on friends, family, people in the streets, and shops; understand the current and future market; and learn new skills that will allow them to convey their creative ideas to different people that the designer interacts with, such as other designers and clients. To check out Ghitta Laskrouif’s fashion designs and products, visit her Facebook, Instagram. To contact the designer for inquiries you can reach her by email at [email protected]