Sara Chraibi, the FTA Stand With Creatives laureate, is a Moroccan architect turned couture designer. Although she started making a name for herself in 2011, she considers that her brand, Maison Sara Chraïbi, was really established only in 2014 when she relocated to Morocco after several years in Paris. Coming back to her country was a major shift in her career as a fashion designer who tries to express a form of Moroccan contemporary luxury, deeply rooted in traditions but also claiming the freedom to be open to the world.
The past two years have been productive for Sara Chraibi: she moved into a new workshop with a showroom, released a new collection, a short film and lastly, a few months ago, she received her Executive MBA from the French Institute of Fashion. For the past five years, the core of her work has been to define her brand platform and translate this into her designs.
When we first met in 2012 in Paris, she completely rejected the idea of making caftans because, according to her, it was a secular tradition that didn’t need require her input to go on. Years later, she changed her mind and took on the challenge of reinventing the caftan as an act of reconciliation with her own culture.
To enforce this approach, she needed to define her own codes, creating a language, a proper “kaida” (a set of rules) made of patterns and practices that she refers to as: “authentic innovation”. For her, Moroccan luxury holds a sense of demure opulence, at once very flamboyant but also modest and not too revealing. “A caftan is all about suggestion. It both says quite a lot and so little. Luxury is about balance and sophistication,” she says.
Her creations, made of effortless drapes and lavish embroidery, suggest the codes of Moroccan fashion but with a certain flair as she takes liberties with Islamic patterns, organic drawings and ancient techniques. In her latest collection for instance, she uses the “sfifa” weaving technique to create a fabric rather than use it as an ornament, as is done traditionally. “I don’t believe in the ‘Moroccan touch,’” she insists. For her, luxury is is all in the imagination, ””It’s the smell of oud and orange blossom, it’s the memory of a ritual,” and it cannot be limited to mimetic patterns and rules.
“Songe Initiatique” is indeed more than collection. It is a tribute to the Moroccan woman through a fictional mythology. It is a tale of timeless transmission: the gift given by her mother who was a seamstress herself, but also the collective consciousness of women pictured here as regal goddesses. “This is how you make a peaceful and velvety revolution,” she concludes.
Today, Sara Chraïbi aspires to offer something uniquely local to the world through an upcoming e-commerce platform and a ready-to-wear line that will get even closer to her growing international clientele.