According to popular beliefs, sweaters are not synonym with the perfect outfit for going out. Indeed, we often associate them to our lazy days at home… but you might want to rethink that after seeing these. With her brand Bakchic, Sofia El Arabi initiated a new wave around this not-so-chic garment. Since the launch of the Alif collection, she has established her reputation as a designer who joins modernity and tradition. Her sense of style transposes a casual and elegant vibe to each of her pieces. Always drawing inspiration from her Berber roots, the Moroccan designer has now been exploring other avenues with the addition of more uniques pieces to our wardrobe.
Can you explain what Bakchic means?
Bakchich is the Arab word for bribery. Bakchic is what should be taking you back to the true essence of Arab clothing… unpolluted, uncorrupted.
How the idea of introducing Arabic calligraphy into your designs came to you?
It did not just come to me. It literally striked me. We have always been overexposed to the Western culture of initials and those big red letters that adorn the American universities sweaters. I wanted the same popular cheering around these identity Arabic lettered sweaters.
What was the reaction towards this collection?
I think it answered a real need of dress identity in the Arab world. Everybody wanted his sweater with the letter of his dream. To feel that you belong to a world, a history, a culture, was what you were chasing and purchasing through this sweater . Not only Arab customers, but international Eastern culture lovers. I love this idea of having created a global unity around this sweater.
For each collection, where do you find inspiration? Is Oriental art always your starting point?
The streets of Morocco are the real essence of this mix of inspirations. People live in these streets, they shout, they talk loudly, women from the two Towers’ desks meet others from the Old Medina, frequenting the same markets, all mixed up. It is a pure painting.
How did you develop this love for handcraft?
The hand is a pillar in our culture. My mother used to literally hand feed me during the Friday-couscous sessions. Finding a particular interest in handcrafted works was a very natural process. Just a basic return to the raw me.
Words by Sonia Staali