“I grew up in Norway but recently settled in Morocco”, says 28-year-old Anwar Bougroug, founder of his eponymous (and genderless) clothing brand Bougroug. “There’s something happening at the moment across the region and I want to be a part of it”, he adds. And with ‘Red Lemon Symphony’, Bougroug’s sun-drenched photographic project in collaboration with Moroccan photographer Moullat and model Tilila, Bougroug is definitely setting the tone.
Like many young Arabs from the diaspora, Bougroug has decided to leave the West and return to his native country. But although his parents might think he’s crazy, Bougroug—who studied fashion at Esmod in Oslo—is convinced that now is the perfect time to ‘move back’. “So many young local artists are emerging, they’re reclaiming their identity and finally participating in the global conversation – it’s definitely buzzing”, he explains.
Having launched Bougroug a year ago, and set up home in Marrakech, Bougroug developed his brand around the artisan craft that’s abundant in the DNA of the city. “I really love craftsmanship and the subtle imperfections of handwork”, he says while explaining how he closely works with the local artisans he meticulously selected. His passion for clothes all started in Morocco, Bougroug recalls accompanying his mother when he was a child and feeling mesmerized while she chose the fabrics to design her kaftans.
But although Bougroug inherently draws his inspirations from Morocco, Scandinavian culture has also had a huge influence on the brand’s philosophy and aesthetics. Fundamentally, what the designer wants to do is “bring the best of both worlds” together.
After having met photographer Moullat and freckled model Tilila—who grew up and live on a farm—through Instagram during Ramadan, he decided to join forces and create ‘Red Lemon Symphony’, a photo-story project that celebrates Morocco’s flourishing youth culture. Shot in the red city, the distinctive, dream-like series isn’t merely a nostalgic throwback to his roots –it’s a statement. With his minimalist designs and transgressive aesthetic, Bougroug is solidly putting Morocco on the map. As he notes, “The idea is to make things even bigger, bring people together and create a collective of creative, groundbreaking Moroccan talent. We’re starting a new wave”, he says.