During “Morroco in Vienna” at Aux Gazelles, we sat down with “Art Ouarzazate”, talking about Marrakesh, his perception of beauty and how where he seeks his inspiration from.
Where do you seek inspiration from when it comes to designing your collections
This collection is done with the idea in mind, that you can wrap yourself in everything you want. This can also be linked of course to a lot of the social problems of today, but the idea is the wrapping of things, in this case, the people. It is also that people have the brand name on their clothes, which I am against with. I am against branding clothes or anything. In fact, for me, branded products lose their nature.
When did you start your clothing label?
20 years ago.
How is fashion and the industry in general in Marrocco?
There is no real fashion industry at the moment, but there is a scene of people that adore and are able to afford art. Considering the entire country, it is not ready to have an “Industry” when it comes to volume and prizes, but there are a lot of wealthy people who have a sensibility for things such as fashion and design and that are investing in such things. I see my work singular for every person and I link to the Morrocan culture, where craftsmanship and handmade products are having a big stand. For example, my mother has been making my clothes, which for a lot of people is completely normal. So in Marroco, you have this certain will to make things for people, not only to sell clothes but to make it for someone we love.
You are mixing contemporary elements with traditional clothing. How do you balance this mixture?
For this collection, in particular, I did not choose the materials that I used first. The inspiration came when I saw the textiles; like the coat with Arabic inspections.
If you would not have become a designer, what would have become?
Becoming a designer was my choice, and it was always my dream. Before I started designing clothes, I have worked for a petrol company in Morocco.
Marrakech | © Jon Collier
What is the main reason, in your opinion, to visit Marrakesh?
I think it is the contrast of Marrakesh. It is everything, the climate, the clothes, the way people treat each other. The combination of it. For example, you cannot be alone. You can try to sit alone in a Café and try one sip of Coffe and be just by yourself, but people will come to you and approach you. It is the contrast to Europe. The scents, the atmosphere. You can see a breathtaking palace and 200 metres away you can see a barrack.
What is the real Marrakesh?
The real Marrakesh is what you see, the touristic Marrakesh. The kind of “corrupted Marrakesh by Tourism” is, in a weird way, the real Marrakesh, it is so deeply rooted in the society. Marrakesh has always been a merchant city with a lot of passage, the whole culture of the city is to be nice and welcoming. That is why we cannot resent when Tourists come to Marrakesh. It is always a bit overplayed, a bit theatrical but that is truly the culture here. Not only Tourists say that about people from Marrakesh, also the rest of Morroco says, that we are always a commercial.
Is that also where your theatrical approach to fashion comes from?
I did not want to show “my clothes”, for this collection in particular. I wanted to come up with pieces specifically made for this event, “Morroco in Vienna“. This is how I work.
What is your next step with your clothes?
To get a fan. I think clothes don’t make people, it is a person that makes the clothes. You are not wearing beauty, it is your beauty wearing the clothes and making them come to life. The people wearing my clothes are making the beauty around them. Normally, when I do a defilée in Morocco, I never use professional models, I let my friends wear my clothes.
Art Ouarzazate is showing during “Morroco in Vienna – Semaine Touristique“, which continues until Monday, 23rd of April at Aux Gazelles.