The fashion world and Morocco have long had a love affair. (Witness that world’s flocking to the opening of the new Yves Saint Laurent museum in Marrakech.) But fashion, as it’s actually lived and breathed in Moroccan cities, is rapidly changing. “Now, if you walk down the streets of Marrakech, you will see a guy in a local djellaba wearing sneakers that he got through a cousin who lives abroad,” explains Amine Bendriouich, a designer and creative director who divides his time mostly between Marrakech and Casablanca. “It’s not only about the guys who can afford the most fashionable items; it’s more about Mr. Everybody.” Bendriouich breaks down Morocco’s street-style scene into three categories. First, there are the people who are “far removed from fashion,” like his mother, aunts, and neighbors. Then, there are the kids who “want to look exactly like what they see on the internet,” with the latest graphic T-shirts, sneakers, and jeans. Finally, the most interesting category, in Bendriouich’s opinion, is made up of those who are “hybrids” of the two groups — like the girls in hijabs who still want to look Instagrammable. “They’re the ones doing something really different.”
The influence of the internet goes both ways, of course, and international brands are also taking notice of what’s happening on the streets of Morocco. Traditional babouche slippers, for example, can be found on the Gucci runways. “When this happened, Moroccans started laughing,” says Bendriouich. “On the internet, people are comparing a Moroccan babouche with a Gucci babouche and saying, ‘Look what happens when a Moroccan babouche goes to university and gets fancy.’ ” —Emilia Petrarca
*This article appears in the November 27, 2017, issue of New York Magazine.