Thursday, May 13, 2010


Some rural Moroccan women have peculiar sense of fashion. There is the traditional jellaba and 3abaya. Souqs are flooded with clothes of modern appeal. However, more often than not, rural Moroccan women simply throw an old bed sheet or fuzzy blanket over their pajamas for a day "out in town." I s this resourcefulness or a fashion crime?

Such was my delight when I arrived in the Souss region. Here, the women drape themselves with colorful mhlef. The mhlef are four and a half meter lightweight, cotton sheets. It marks a girl's coming of age or womanhood. I have long admired this flowing, vibrant fabric. Mhlef color the Souss with playful hues of life.

**Me modeling the mhlef.

** My mother with my host sisters Mina and Farah in the lzars (sheets).

Ain Chaib Association has started making the farasha using this fabric. Farasha means butterfly in Arabic. It has a simple yet flattering cut, with "flutter wings" as sleeves. Farasha takes the traditional mhlef and creates a shirt of modern appeal.

**One-size fits all shirt!!

**Me and SBD 1st Year lovelies lookin' good in the farasha!

Ilham, Mina and Aicha worked with me and produced three shirts each. To our delight, they all sold out day one of Marche Maroc Rabat! Success! Currently, we're working on another collection of farasha shirts. I couldn't be more happy.

Let's just hope this and my two years working with the Association has a "butterfly effect" on their lives. Did you know I only have six months left?


B said...

LOVE these! I suppose it's too soon, but if you have any more, could you bring them on Sunday? I'd love to buy one!

Regarding this and your previous post ... congratulations, Joy ~ it's so fulfilling to see things finally coming together, isn't it? You've worked hard, and your women are making some major life and work changes.

Jonathan "Yousef d Al-Maghrib" said...

Call me old fashioned, but I like my leopard print jellabas best. I also think you should do the famous Behavioral Change Process IST presentation because you've lived it.