Moroccan makers win public vote

Amal Laala and Mohamed Hamidi (Rebecca Hosking) 216184_01

By Luke Voogt

A clothing collective reaching across the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean has won the people’s choice award in Geelong’s We The Makers exhibition.

Broc The Kasbah won the vote of almost 3000 people, and the collective’s Amal Laala plans to share the inaugural $2000 prize with her Moroccan colleagues.

“It’s great that there were so many people supporting us,” she said.

“Everything gets made in Morocco with our families and friends, where everyone is doing it very tough.

“Now they don’t have work at all. There’s no Centrelink and JopKeeper over there.

“We know their children – some of them are family – so it’s a matter of supporting each other.”

The Australian-Moroccan designer from Norlane and her husband Mohamed Hamidi have run the collective’s central Geelong outlet for more than three years.

Amal met Mohamed in Morocco during 10 years overseas and, together with another couple, they opened outlets in France and Australia when they noticed people importing Moroccan goods.

“My husband and I were like, ‘we’re Moroccan, this is our culture’,” she said.

“We know how they’re made and who makes them.”

The couple use leftover Italian leather, vintage Moroccan carpets, work by the country’s indigenous Amazigh people and other excess fabric, to make handbags, purses, clothes, bum bags and more.

“We try not to use any new fabrics or items in our products.”

They even make jewellery from old melted-down Moroccan coins, which contain silver but lose their monetary value when a king dies.

Almost 30,000 people visited We The Makers exhibition online, according to National Wool Museum.

Museum director Padraic Fisher described this as a “testament to the to the extraordinary work” of the exhibition’s 21 sustainable designers.

Details: search @brocthekasbahoz on social media

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