Local fashion magic

Why dressing as a local is best left to the locals

 

 

Did your suitcase get lost in transit along with your change of clothes, or are you actually planning on wearing that back home as well?

In a country where wizard cloaks are a national dress it can be hard to make assumptions of gender based on what someone is wearing.

 

What one can assume, though, is that if you’re wearing a camel wool poncho with a beret and fake designer shades, then you’re a French tourist.

 

Welcome to the country of the Oh-la-faux-pas, the fashion playground of the comfortably French. A place where a usually elegant and discerning peoples come to experiment with animal print fabrics, and where they really let their hair down – if only because they are about to pull it back with a vegetable silk scarf in red, mauve and green stripes.

 

The national dress for old men and tour guides is a jelaba, a long light skirt with a wizard hood with which you can cover your head, perfect for desert storms of if you should be invited to a Star Wars party and you want to be Obi-Wan Kenobe.

 

The turban is made from  a long piece of fabric which winds around your face and head much like the bandage used by people with a severe toothache. You can spot a cheap one because the sweat quickly beads on your forehead.


Which doesn’t explain why tourists need to buy them. Did your suitcase get lost in transit along with your change of clothes, or are you actually planning on wearing that back home as well?

 

It is already hard enough already to blend in as a tourist here. Wearing native dress isn’t going to assuage the fact that you still have an enormous camera slung around your neck, speak French too well or too poorly, and have a permanent startled look broadcast on your face.

 

While dressing as a local might be intended to say “people of Morocco, I am at one with your culture,” more often than not it would be interpreted as: “I have heaps of dollars, and not much fashion sense.” And in Marrakech, that’s a nightmare waiting to happen.

 

It’s a truism that half of French fashion is manufactured in North Africa. Needless to say,  the other half of garments produced here should probably stay here.