Afraid that past masterpieces could become the cultural stereotypes of the next, younger generations often shy away from traditional crafts. But recent years have proven there’s a balance to be found between the rich history of craftsmanship and the contemporary design of the present. Moroccan luxury label, New Tangier, is the latest to do exactly that. .
The brand, which was founded in 2014 by Tangier-native Kenza Bennani, is aiming to revive hundred-year-old traditional Moroccan crafts in a contemporary, luxurious and sustainable manner. From hand studded brocade clutches to vintage silk velvet totes and calf skin cross-body satchels, the label’s range was initially limited to accessories, all handcrafted by local master artisans.
Now, the North African label is adding ready-to-wear to its repertoire. For their Summer 2020 collection, Bennani sought out to create a wardrobe that transcends the post-colonial narrative often related to Moroccan fashion, limiting it to ceremonial garments or light comfort-wear.
From floral printed oversized kaftans to an emerald green silk djellaba-style dress and vibrant violet silk blouses, the collection is a mix of comfortable, functional and extremely modern daywear. The looks were styled with beautiful artisanal totes made from graphic ‘Tarz’ embroidered canvas with handmade Sabra silk trimmings and handles.
For their artisanal pieces, New Tangier collaborates with artisans to restore the value of local know-how amongst younger generations. By raising awareness around the amount of time involved in making luxury goods and allowing artisans to set their own prices, the label’s collaborative business model aims to reduce the influx of youth towards working in fast fashion factories in Morocco.
As part of its sustainable plans, the brand also operates on a limited production policy with no sales, regularly using upcycled vintage fabrics and sourcing almost all of its materials locally.
New Tangier’s dedication to craftsmanship led the label to launch a new initiative this year: Craft Lab. Set in their Tangier design studio—a 1930s villa which has been refurbished with second-hand or artisanal items, the lab is a way to connect traditional master artisans with designers in order to work towards abolishing the folkloric stereotype of craft.
With a mission to change the narrative around the value and function of artisanal items by introducing experimental and contemporary design techniques, New Tangier might just become your new favourite Moroccan label.