The Moroccan babouche is one of the main components of traditional Moroccan crafts. This cultural icon in Morocco is a symbol of the fusion and coexistence of the culture of Arab and Amazigh people. Although the shape of these slippers may vary, the Moroccan Babouches are made of the same materials.
The Fasi Babouche
With the sharp front, Fasi Babouche “El Belgha”, is the most prominent type. They come originally from Fes city, and are easily recognized by locals given their shape. The colours of this type vary to suit all traditional Moroccan fashion, and men Babouches are usually in yellow colour.
Indeed, Fes is the center of traditional Moroccan crafts, especially inside the souks, which includes the most famous traditional manufacturers to carve and decorate the Babouches without moving away from their original origin, making this market a main source of traditional outsoles for all Moroccans.
The Berber Babouche
The Amazigh Babouches, or “Idokan”, are round shaped from the front, decorated with a dagger symbol, which symbolizes Amazigh culture, or one of the other forms of drawings of this culture. As for colour, yellow “Idokan” are traditionally made for men, just like the case of Fasi Babouches, while red ones are for women.
Berber Babouches were famous for their practicality, as people living in the mountain were wearing them a lot. It is because of the leather’s durability used in their manufacturing process, and the TRUE focus of the manufacturer on the precision more than decoration. This has changed in recent years with remarkable attention to the how they look. “Idokan” has become part of the traditional Moroccan heritage, and is being sought upon especially by tourists visiting the Amazigh tourist regions.
The Main Material: Leather
The process of making leather is done through many stages, and in many areas of Fes. Before the dyeing phase, there is the leather market in the Ain Al-Naqbi area, where leather gatherers, who buy it from the massacres, are based to sell it later to the tanneries.
The leathers are placed on top of each other at the Ain Al-Naqbi, according to their origins (goats, sheep or cattle). They are loaded onto the local motorcycles or on the donkeys, in order to be transported to the three tanneries existing in the city.
Once arrived at the tannery, the leather is immersed in water-filled tubs to deform its solidity, and then wrapped in the White Lime to remove hair or wool. After that, it is submerged in the water, to which the wheat palm or the pigeon waste is added, giving the skin its final softening feeling.
Finally, the leather is dried in the sun, ready to be sliced, before being decorated in colours derived from natural plants – as a final stage before the product reaches its final shape.
Stages of Making Moroccan Babouches
After having brought the leather from Fes, it is cut into pieces according to specific sizes and shapes that fit the traditional Fasi and Amazigh Babouches.
Then, the manufacturer moves to stitching and sewing the parts together to form one piece. This stage may take longs hours or even days. This is because the product is made all by hand; no machines are used.
After having sewed the pieces together, it is now time for decoration. At this stage, the manufacturer is free to choose any design of his/her choice. Still, the majority prefer to draw traditional Moroccan designs that are culturally symbolic.
It is noteworthy that Moroccan Babouches were traditionally made only by men, but you can see nowadays that women and men work side by side.
After all, the process of making Moroccan Babouches is an art in itself. Manufacturers or ‘Artisans’ dedicate their time to make beautiful, unique and more importantly good quality Babouches that you will never regret buying.
With many fans around the world, The Moroccan Souk will be delighted to abide by continuous orders and make job offers for leather Babouche Artisans. Our team is full of ideas for new designs to offer our dear clients special, high quality Moroccan Babouches that will meet their needs.