Clothes & Shoes, Marrakesh
I should advice you to have a look in shops that smell to leather, in the case of the babouches, searching for real traditional ones. Please, avoid the plastic in any case.
Speaking about the veils a good shop should have a variety of them and the touch of the fabric will tell you about their quality. Avoid as well the Chinese copies.
What to buy: The traditional shoes in Morocco are called "babouche". They are a pair of comfortable slippers made in leather with different colors, but the traditional ones are just in cream. They finish in a characteristic shape that could be thiner of wider depending on the model. They are both for men and women but it changes the decoration on them.
The veils are also very traditional and also very important for you if you're planning to visit the desert. We both a pair of them for our trip to Zagora and the camel ride over the desert in the next few days. There are also veils for women in different colors, more modern and also beautiful that you can use later on in your daily life like a foulard.
What to pay: Don't forget to bargain!!
One of the most unusual places in Marrakech is the shopping plaza in Gueliz. It's a small island of brilliantly polished marble pavement and towering modern shops, in mile after mile of crumbling dereliction. You enter it like some kind of peace bubble. Take a calm, casual walk past the expensive international stores, and sit down at the tranquil pools of water to marvel at how much calm can exist so close to the thundering chaos of Place 16 Novembre just behind the tree break.
There are some expensive restaurants here too, and a McDonald's.
Local - souks : Babouces Souk, Marrakech
What to buy: Hand-made from scratch, leather shoes/slippers called "babouches" for men and women.
You can never find the same pair twice.
I think the babouches in Marrakech had a larger variety and softer leathers
What to pay: well, in Morocco you learn quickly that there is no standard price! Always bargain!
So, the more you buy the less you pay!
I believe that anything from €15-25 is rather cheap for such a unique work...
The Jalaba or Jellabas is a traditional dress of Morocco. It is more like an robe or overcoat with a hood. Both men and women wear the Jalaba but can be different colours and materials. The Jabador is a two piece outfit.
Leather has been one of the major industries of Morocco and one of the biggest tanneries in the country is in Marrakech. The other being in Fes. The souks are all full of leather shops displaying leather bags, jackets, caps and slippers as well as pouffes.
During my stay in Marrakesh, I'd seen many locals wearing jellabas and kaftans, of various designs and weights. Some plain, some highly decorated, some light weight, some a thick wool or felt.
I'd wanted a kaftan for a while to wear on beach holidays over my swim wear, but I was tempted by the heavier winter weights to snuggle up in on a winters evening- so off to the souks I headed.
I'd surrepticiously glanced at jellabas as I'd wandered through the souks, and had seen some quite decorative styles, but decided I'd be more likely to wear a plainer version.
I found a stall in the souk, and settled down to purchasing a jellabah. I eventually settled on a black silk with a black embroidered trim to the neckline. I've worn it a couple of times so far, once in Marrakesh at night for extra warmth, and once at night over jeans with a belt. My next visit I'll probably buy a winter weight jellaba.
What to buy: Jellabas and kaftans- great for 'fat' days, or as beach cover ups, could be worn as night wear too, or just for lounging around in!
What to pay: I paid 180 dh, (after haggling, the original price asked was 500 dh) I was told by the bar man in my hotel that I'd got a good price, he guessed I'd paid 300dh.
How I managed to limit my self to just one pair I don't know!
There was an array of colours, some plain, some with beading, some in silks.
Mr Mohammed is NOT a pushy salesman at all- he was very helpful when I wanted advise, but didn't pressurise me to buy.
All of the goods on sale are of a high quality- all hand made (Please see my previous tip for more details)
So - Hand crafted goods of a high quality, at a reasonable (set ) price, with no pressure to buy-- The Perfect place to shop!
Open 10.00 - 12.00 and 15.30-1800hrs. - During prayer times etc, he might not be at his shop, but someone nearby will know where he is and how long he'll be gone, or they'll go and find him
What to buy: Babouches!
Mr Mohammed also makes and sells a selection of hand bags, wallets, belts and foot stools.
What to pay: Most of the goods are set price - I paid 175 dh for my hand crafted calf skin babouches.
My total bill was 700dh for these and 3 bags!
It's not easy get a bargain at the souks in Marrakech but on our last day of our first trip we were determined to attempt it. We had very little money which worked in our favour as we had a limit we could not cross. Our first search was for a pair of Barouches (Moroccan slippers) for Ruth's Dad and we wanted the good quality yellow leather variety. We went to a stall on one of the quieter streets near the edge of the souks as we figured fewer tourists came out here and we would have a better chance of a good price.
The guy in the shop wanted 200 Dirham but we explained we had very little money left and offered 40. He laughed at au and said no way but did lower to 180. We stayed a long time examining them but sadly left as we didn’t have enough. He could se we were interested and when we walked past his shop again he offered them for 100. We said 45 as we had no money left. He was reluctant to go below 75 but he gave in and eventually accepted 50. To think he wanted 250 originally.
By our second last day in Morocco, I had run out of clean shirts and we didn't have any time to do more washing so I went searching for clean t-shirts in the medina. Most of what was on sale around Djemaa el-Fna was tacky and overpriced. I offered 25 Dh maximum, while they were all asking for 60 or even 70. Some sellers were prepared to offer 40 but no lower. I figured we'd have a better chance of finding something away from all the tourists but they were difficult to escape from.
Later, I was proved right, as we picked up a nice t-shirt on the northern outskirts of the medina. This was at Souk el Khemis - Gate of the Thursday market - which, despite its name, has a small market everyday. Very few tourists venture out this far and hence it was much better value. I was pretty pleased that I got it for 20Dh, 5Dh less than budgeted.
There are areas within the souks dedicated to clothing and shoes, if you end up here do have a look at the beautifully embroidered tunics. Priced to please (once you've had a go at bargaining with the "shop" keeper) and truly unique. I find they look adorable with jeans. And I've even contemplated pinning mine up to a wall as art, the way kimonos are often displayed.
But believe me, the moment one catches your eye, should the shop keeper notice, you will find yourself being swept into his shop, and practically cornered there until you make a purchase.
What to buy: You'll find these with long sleeves, short sleeves, shirt length, mid-thigh length and ankle length. Some are solid, while others are woven with stripes. Most are cotton. A lot are "one size fits most".
What to pay: I purchased my lovely embroidered fuschia tunic for around 150 dirhams, for example.
David really fancied a traditional djellebah, the kind worn by many of the men we saw around Morocco. In the medina he found just the thing he was looking for, and for 100 Dinar (about £7), this outfit changed hands.
You'll find lots of these type of dresses. The female djelabas are very feminine and look great. If you think like this: why should I buy one of these? if im not going to wear it on the streets of my town? it makes the perfect night dress to sleep.