Take a trip to Morocco and it’s highly likely that you’ll end up having a rummage in one of the many enticing souks and unusual boutiques the country is known for. But as there’s only so much you can fit into your holiday luggage, many shoppers end up feeling frustrated. Enter a new initiative, Leave Your Wardrobe in Morocco, set up by British entrepreneurs Jeremy Davies and Paolo Barbieri. It’s a genius solution that not only lets you adorn our wardrobes and homes with fabulous finds, but also allows you to give something back to the local community.
“About five years ago we bought a house in Essaouira to rent out,” Jeremy says. “And we decided to set up a charity, Project 91, to help young people in the area complete their education and find jobs. The Leave Your Wardrobe initiative helps raise funds for it. We ask tourists to offload any items they may not want anymore, which we sell at affordable prices in our shop, Mashi Mushki. We’ve had everything left from a pair of pink wellington boots to a beautiful handmade Welsh blanket. All the profits go to Project 91. It means that tourists can free up space in their suitcases and also support local businesses by buying lots of fantastic artisan goods that are made here.” It’s shopping with a heart.
For more information, visit: leaveyourwardrobeinmorocco.wordpress.com
Looking for somewhere to stay in Essaouria? Visit dar91.com
Shop and drop
My top 5 Moroccan buys in Essaouria and Marrakech
Rugs, local art and vintage finds can also be found at Mashi Mushki, alongside the second-hand clothing (the owners also donate a percentage of profits from all non-donated goods to Project 91).
Hand-made leather handbags from Poupa Litza, a Tunisian fashion designer based in Essaouira and Paris.
Raffia sandals (see above) in natural colours as well as popping shades of pink, green, orange from Miro Abihssira, a shoe designer working out of a little factory in Essaouira. A great find, as he produces the same shoes for the likes of Ferragamo, Dolce & Gabbana and Prada. Rafia Craft, 82 rue d’Agadir, 44000 Essaouira.
Bedouin sequinned wedding blankets and other homewares from Atelier Moro. Run by Colombian Viviana Gonzalez, this amazing place sells everything from kaftans and handbags to picture frames, cutlery and jewellery. 114 Place du Mouassine, Marrakech, tel: 00 212 524 39 16 78. Ring the doorbell for access.
Collections from up-coming designers can be found beneath one of Marrakech’s favourite eateries, la Terrasse des Epices. La Galerie is a chic group of mini-boutiques run by some of Morocco’s most interesting designers. From clothes to bedding, embroidery to perfumes, there’s plenty of inspiration here for the cool Marrakchi-about-town. La Galerie, 15 Souk Cherifia, Sidi Abdelaziz, Marrakech, tel: 00 212 524 37 59 04.