Morocco's Fashion Maven Salima Chaieb

21 June 2023
ITC News

Her global recognition sets the path for Moroccan’s fashion industry – and its women

From a master's degree in biomedical engineering to becoming a skilled pattern maker, Salima Chaieb is a polymath designer with an abundance of talent.

Born and raised in Casablanca, Morocco, Salima embarked on an international journey that led her to pursue her passion for fashion. After completing her secondary and university education in Montreal, Canada, where she obtained her master's degree in biomedical engineering from École Polytechnique de Montréal, Salima worked in the medical and energy consulting field for nearly a decade.

However, her love for the fashion world eventually took over, prompting her to return to her roots in Casablanca. There, she honed her skills by enrolling in a pattern making programme at Collège Lasalle Maroc and visiting online courses by The Business of Fashion.

Salima's brand, which bears her name, is a testament to her vision of blending Moroccan tradition and modernity. She has always been fascinated with reimagining traditional local fabrics to create contemporary designs. Her collections pay homage to Morocco's rich cultural heritage, reinterpreting fabrics that have long been associated with traditional garments like the jellaba and caftan. Her brand's hallmark lies in the reinterpretation of exquisite materials such as brocades, velvets, and silks.

Since officially launching her brand in 2018, Salima Chaieb has committed to promote a new perspective on Moroccan fashion on the global stage. Her designs have garnered attention and accolades, including designing the outfits for singer Manal Benchlikha's music video "Niya" and gracing the cover of Vogue Arabia Living.

Salima Chaieb's talent and dedication have caught the attention of the International Trade Centre’s GTEX/MENATEX programme, which supports emerging designers in the region. Through this programme, Salima had the opportunity to participate in the prestigious Egypt Fashion Week. This experience proved to be immensely rewarding for her, not only in terms of visibility but also in connecting with industry professionals and garnering an international audience.


From Morocco to Egypt Fashion Week


As a woman designer in Morocco, Salima recognizes the unique challenges and opportunities present in the country's textile industry. While women have played vital roles in brand creation and design, most large textile companies are still led by male founders and directors. However, there has been a growing trend of women establishing small-scale ateliers to meet the demand for outsourced production. These women are skilled in styling, pattern making, and management, and they are gradually making their mark in the textile industry.

Participating in events like Egypt Fashion Week has been instrumental in reshaping the perception of Moroccan women designers both nationally and internationally. While Morocco has long been renowned for its caftans and skilled artisans, Salima Chaieb believes that by embracing contemporary designs, Moroccan women designers can contribute to changing the narrative and expanding the boundaries of Moroccan fashion.


An inspiring journey towards success


For aspiring young women designers in Morocco, Salima Chaieb offers valuable advice. She emphasizes the importance of collaboration and support among designers. Fostering a culture of kindness, respect, and empathy towards colleagues, contributors, and all those involved in the creative process is crucial.

In a highly competitive fashion industry, perseverance, hard work, and a commitment to continuous improvement are essential. Setting high standards for oneself and maintaining the quality of work are vital for success.

Salima Chaieb's remarkable journey is an inspiration to aspiring designers, particularly women, in the Moroccan fashion industry. Her story highlights the importance of pursuing one's passion and continuously striving for excellence.

The GTEX/MENATEX programme, recognizing the immense potential of women in the textile and fashion industry, is committed to supporting and empowering them. While focusing on helping women to thrive, the programme provides resources, guidance, and opportunities for business improvement and international visibility.

As the programme looks towards the future, it remains dedicated to championing the talent and creativity of women in the industry, ensuring that their voices and contributions are heard and celebrated.