artisans' profiles

A Babouche story

Abdel Aziz, 42 years old, is a moroccan artisan who makes handmades Berber babouches. He works the leather and the silk in his workshop following the traditional techniques.

What is the story behind your products ?

My mother is Berber and my father is an Aroubi. I find my inspiration in these two cultures and in my different interactions with the rural and urban worlds. This passion for making babouches comes from my grandparents, who had that profession themselves.
While I was learning, I started making berber babouches. Then, I started doing Arab babouches, more rural and urban. Those two models have a few differences: Berber babouches have round or square edges, while Arab babouches have sharp edges. Depending on the region, babouches have different shapes and are decorated with different designs. They’re mainly made in goat or sheep leather.

Which techniques do you use?

I mainly use the Marrakech traditional techniques such as tanning, to prefer henna over chemical dyes. I also clean the leather from its fur pieces, shaping and sizing of the babouche with a traditional machine.

What are your favorite materials ?

Goat or sheep leather, nylon thread doubled with silk thread for a perfect adherence, and then another silk thread, the only one showing, cardboard and solid sole.

Where do you find your inspiration ?

My inspiration comes from my experience in Tafraout, the historical capital of babouches in Morocco. My father was a huge inspiration as well, he only ever made berber babouches. I took inspiration from his designs and creations, added my own new designs and modernized his old models to fit my customers taste.