Souad El Mghari is a freelance stylist, a fashion editor and the woman behind Moroccan fashion blog, Kafan Mag. She started her own online platform to pay homage to her Moroccan heritage and roots to showcase her pride as a young female Moroccan.
Not only does Souad give us a great packing list for your next trip to Marrakech or other Moroccan cities, she also dives into the current fashion scene in this colorful and dynamic North African country. Through her perception which you’ll read below, it’s clear that modern Moroccans thrive in the fusion of historical traditions and an utmost excitement for the future.
Q&A with Souad El Mghari
Souad: Contrary to popular belief, Marrakech (and Morocco in general) is not hot all year long. We do get cold weather during winter to counter the scorching heat of the summer. So if there is one primary element to consider while packing for a trip in Marrakech, it is first and foremost; the weather. Then comes practicality and comfort.
What are some packing essentials for anyone heading to Marrakech?
A pair of jeans.
Because, versatility! Dah…
Preferably sneakers, because there is so much to explore, hence a lot of walking to be done.
Nightlife in Marrakech is quite happening, so a classic like a little black dress might take you from a cozy dinner in a Riad to a party in a club.
A warm jacket.
Evenings tend to be chilly this time of year, so a jacket is a must. Plus it can always act as a coverup in case you are looking to dress relatively modestly.
A pair of sunglasses.
Morocco is sunny most of the year, so a nice pair of sunnies will not only come in handy for your walk in the souk, and for a camel-back ride, but will also make your Instagram photos look extra cute.
What are some local styles travelers should adopt on the trip?
Leave your preconceived ideas about what dressing in a country like Morocco behind, before you embark on your trip. Dress as you feel comfortable, and once you reach Marrakech you will see what makes sense to you; fashion-wise.
Try on some of the local colors. Be it the Babouches (Moroccan slippers), kaftans, or such. Experimenting with Moroccan fashion pieces might not get you to fully blend in, but it will give you a different and fun look.
Check the weather before you start packing. Marrakech can get quite cold, and t-shirt or summer dresses won’t do.
Don’t limit yourself to Marrakech. There is so much worth seeing in Morocco. And the fashion differs from one place to another.
Get a long scarf, in case you feel like you want to cover up over your tops, depending on where you are visiting.
Can you explain the diversity in Morocco?
Once in Morocco, or Marrakech to be specific, you will find out how diverse it is. As a reflection of the openness of Morocco, people are different, their styles are different, their backgrounds are different, and everyone coexists.
So, the fashion scene in Marrakech is different from one neighborhood to the other. If you are in the “medina” (the old part of the city), you will find more traditional clothes wearing people, while on the modern side of the city, the street style might be quite similar to western countries.
Plus, Marrakech is a very artsy town; with so many art galleries and unique fashion shops, so the fashion scene is reflective of that, and people tend to get more experimental, especially in mixing between “authentic” Moroccan style with a more modern edge.
Is it necessary to wear hijab? How does religion play into Morocco's fashion?
This is a very individual matter. Just like any other country in the world, religion is an individual aspect of a person’s life. And people tend to dress depending on what they each feel comfortable with. For example, when you walk in the streets of a Moroccan city you will find people dressed extremely differently from one another; there might be a person wearing the hijab and a long dress walking with another lady in a summer dress or a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.
However, I can only really speak for myself, as the Moroccan that I am, and personally I dress in a way that reflects my personality. Moroccan culture and traditions to me don’t have that much to do with how I dress, except for special occasions; like a wedding or a religious holiday where I might wear a kaftan, as a personal choice.
Morocco is much more than just how we dress up! But one has to visit it, to really comprehend what I’m saying.
For young Moroccans like yourself, what defines the beauty of Moroccan fashion?
It is no secret that Marrakech in particular, and Morocco in general have inspired so many fashion designers and even trends over the years. But what sets its fashion / style apart from everywhere else, is how well tradition and modernity come together to create a beautiful marriage. Marrakech has the space for people from different backgrounds (and even countries) to live in harmony with the natives, then create this unique fashion style scene that brings together different aesthetics. A fusion that you can find not only by walking in the streets, but also every time you step into one of the many concept stores in the city, or a hip spot.
What I love about Marrakech’s fashion and style is what I actually love about Morocco. In other words, the fact that I can be modern yet still embrace my traditions. The fact that I can wear a pair of jeans and a t-shirt with Babouches and look trendy. The fact that I can wear a vintage kaftan over my swimsuit and be fashionable as heck. The fact that I can walk down the street and see a mature lady in a “djellaba”, a scarf, and a pair of block heel boots that looks very classy and distinguished.