Taking his inspiration "from Morocco to the world," the young Moroccan designer urges us to dream and be our authentic selves.
At Maison Artc, Artsi Ifrah, the founder of a peculiarly Moroccan fashion line, is a self-taught Moroccan designer that uses a juxtaposition of materials, colors, and shapes for his designs.
Established in Marrakech, Maison Artc strives to break the rules of fast fashion and codified style, by blending the traditional Moroccan heritage and roots with modern, contemporary art. The result is a unique, peculiar art form that breathes Moroccan vintage with visible touches of contemporary expressions.
Every piece of the young Moroccan designer tells its own story, combining cultures, and style to make fashion less bland and more revolutionary.
Who’s behind Maison Artc
Artsi Ifrah launched Maison Artc nine years ago, shortly after he left his native country, Israel, to his parents’ country Morocco.
“I was born in Israel, but both of my parents are Moroccan. I came back 9 years ago to my home, Morocco.”
Ifrah lives, works, and designs in Marrakech. With no formal training in any fashion school, the young designer calls himself an autodidact, saying he is essentially driven by his unassailable passion for the joy, magic, and freedom of creativity.
From Jerusalem to Marrakech, Ifrah found his true authentic self in Morocco. His parents’ country — and his chosen home — has morphed into his sanctuary and biggest inspiration.
Having lived all around the world, including in Tel Aviv, Paris, and Amsterdam, before landing in Morocco, the young designer has a deep, firsthand knowledge of multiculturalism, and he lets it shine on his creations.
Now living in his parents’ hometown Marrakech for the past decade, he feels a great sense of belonging to the red city. The contentment and fulfillment that came with his sense of belonging have been tremendously helpful in inspiring Ifrah to create his “one of a kind” pieces for both women and men.
Marrakech stimulates the young fashion designer’s creative juices; the colors, patterns, and Moroccan embroidery can be seen in his pieces, each one of which tells a unique story.
Ifrah’s works have been shown at several expositions, namely the Paris Couture week as well as some of the other biggest names in fashion.
“Fashion is a combination of culture, art, and individual DNA,” beams Ifrah when describing the social significance of the art he practices and lives for.
Through vintage antique textiles and old metals, Maison Artc forges a unique, peculiarly Moroccan fashion brand.
The ways of passion fashion
“I did not choose fashion, it was quite the opposite. fashion designing chose me; it was somehow very natural and organic”
Starting his career at the age of 28, today Ifrah works with Moroccan photographers and models to showcase his artworks.
Having, in a previous life, been a ballet dancer who performed all around the world, the young designer was always surrounded by art. In this sense, the transition to fashion designing was smooth and natural.
“My fashion journey is a continuous journey since I know myself, it has affected all aspects of my life, from my childhood when I was dressing up as a dancer to moving on and making a career in fashion”
Morocco in Artsi’s work
Morocco is the biggest pond of inspiration for the fashion designer, with his creativity and intuition flowing in parallel with his Moroccan identity and DNA. The colors, scenery of the Moroccan landscapes, as well as the Moroccan people’s joie de vivre captivate him.
“Morocco is my biggest inspiration, the landscape, the culture, the tradition, the people.”
Given the young designer’s assumed captivation for Moroccan history, you can see deep, raw, and distinctly Moroccan emotions attached to his designs.
“I think my creative DNA is 100% Moroccan, therefore my creativity is inspired and influenced by Morocco in the whole process of my design and photography.”
Artsi as a fashion designer
Every fashion designer faces a crucial, career-defining moment when they have to stand out from the crowd, bring new and unique creations to the fashion industry. In this sense, finding your personal fashion style is considered the very first step to becoming a fashion designer.
While Ifrah seems to have surmounted that initial obstacle, he recognizes that the daily practice of his art still involves some challenges. “My personal fashion style is very particular and very individual, one of the biggest obstacles and challenges is to create a very strong signature as your own creative style,” he says.
Finding one’s own style and pattern can be a rough patch for designers, and it can take months or even years.
However, Artsi believes unreservedly investing oneself in the unrelenting, endless process of creation and imagination can eventually lead aspiring designers to find their authentic touch.
Artsi thinks he has reached that stage. “As I do ‘one a kind of pieces’, I am proud of all my pieces, and each one of them gave me a different memory and different feeling.”
The Moroccan fashion designer goes through a spiritual journey when designing each and every one of his garments. He pours his heart, soul, and sweat into every one of them.
In his Marrakech studio, Artsi creates peculiar designs inspired by the details of the red city and what he perceives as the Moroccan way of life.
“My creative process consists of taking a walk in Marrakech, in the Medina, observing people, and from there, the ideas start to appear, after that, I arrive at the atelier and I create magic.”
Artsi Ifrah insists that the learning process is more satisfying than the results. As he sees it, few things in life are as majestic and fulfilling as capturing the small details and learning from them.
Designer or not, he says, everyone can — and should — benefit from paying closer attention to the unparalleled beauty of the seemingly mundane, or to the concealed grandeur of small things.
“The journey of becoming is more important than arriving at the destination,” he says, gradually sounding philosophical.
Becoming a designer
The fashion industry can be a very challenging domain, and so not everyone is tailor-made to be a fashion designer.
The industry is a tough work sphere, where ideas will face rejections as a natural part of the job. So confidence is a vital quality to have.
It takes blood, sweat, and tears to become a world-recognized fashion designer. As such, Irfah argues, patience and perseverance are key attributes any aspiring designer needs to have — or cultivate.
Along with great communication skills to lead teams and direct photoshoots, designers should also have strong visualization skills to aid in bringinging their ideas to life.
“The first and most important is to have a big passion, the second to be very determined, the third is dedication and the fourth is talent.”
To young, aspiring designers, Irfah’s message is fairly simple: “First of all, and most importantly, do not try to be somebody else. Be very dedicated and very passionate”
With years of experience under his artist’s belt , the Moroccan fashion designer is convinced that passion and authenticity are the key to a successful career.
“Value your creativity and give enough time to make it happen for yourself. Fashion is related to education, educating yourself to become a fashion designer.”
‘From Morocco to the world’
As the interview turns to the extent of his attachment to Morocco (does he feel, for example, that he owes Morocco anything?) Artsi says he is ineffably indebted to the country, his spiritual home and his primary inspiration.
His Moroccan heritage, he argued throughout the interview, is the main ingredient in his artistic self-expression.
“I want to thank Morocco, my parents that gave me this beautiful present to become creative and allow myself to have the source of beautiful culture in this country.
” It is very important for me to emphasize that all my pieces are made by Moroccans in Morocco, from seamstresses, embroideries makers, models, my creative process is to bring from Morocco to the world, not from the world to Morocco.”
In a time when life seems bland and dull, we have to look at Maison Artc to elevate our souls and transport us far beyond codified fashion and fast fashion trends.
Maison Artc encourages everyone to invent, create outside of the box, and dream.