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Moroccan/Israeli fashion designer Arsti Ifrach has lived and worked in Marrakech for the past two and a half years. After having lived in Tel Aviv, Paris and Amsterdam, he says that it is the most inspiring place he has ever been. Living there he is like a fish in water. He absorbs and is inspired by the Marrakech environment. Since living in Morroco he has reworked his traditional clothing designs. Now he cuts from material used for cushions and designs coats made from rugs. His most recent collection is an hommage to Africa. Although he has never travelled in Africa (outside of North Africa), his imagination is active enough to work from a childhood dream of going there. His designs start from his inner life and he doesn’t care much for or pay much attention to fashion trends. Artsi recently received an invitation to represent Morocco in Addis Ababa for a fashion show celebrating twenty years of African trade, An event created and financed by an African central bank (faut etre un peu plus specifique sur quelle « trade ») If we hadn’t been invited the chances were slim that we would have spent a vacation in Addis Ababa. The show took place in the Hilton where we stayed. The hotel opened in 1968 while Haile Selassie was in power. It has all the reminders of a decade of Africanism. It was a place where European expatraites and Africans met. The paintings hung on the walls, representational or abstract, depict an immortal Africa. There are Ethiopian crosses, and the lobby looks like something from an old film. It is a feeling of 70 years ago. Outside, the weather is stormy. Perfect for shooting photos! Simple walks turn into expeditions. Addis Abbaba is a jungle city. Tropical trees and shanty neighborhoods are everywhere. The roads are a nightmare, with no traffic lights, no right-of-way. Cars criss-cross in every direction but our driver was always calm and collected. We visited the center of town where there are Italian colonial style buildings. Nothing is maintained and dust and time have ruined them. The markets where we wandered around have all kinds of products displayed in a rainbow of colors. The yellow and green of the Ethiopian flag is seen everywhere. In the markets, among the varied population of Addis Ababa, you can feels the energy of the city. Aside from the organised disorganisation of the city, we saw beauty everywhere, in every person we met and in every experience during our visit. We left in the end with nice images and smiles in our heads. Text & photo : laila hida
About the Designer
Artsi is based in Marrakech, Morocco. His collections are produced in Morocco.
The idea behind Art/c is street style. The principle is simple and efficient. With stacks of fabrics and old metals, Art/c looks for raw materials and hits the spot with his unique style and crazy originality. He can dress each one of us with a single glance. His unique pieces take form like magic and reveal new aspects of our personalities. Freshness, humor, and lightness are found among them; as well as clothes that taunt us until we can no longer resist them!