Arts & Entertainment

Rise of thrifting in Morocco as second-hand clothes market booms

By Fatima Zohra Bouaziz

Casablanca, Morocco, Mar 13 (EFE).- Thrifting has become increasingly popular among young Moroccans thanks to well-known content creators like Rime Ajakkaf who have demystified the stereotypes around second-hand garments.

Rime, a 32-year-old who studied design, has always loved second-hand clothes, and her passion prompted her to open accounts on Tik Tok and Instagram three years ago where she now enjoys almost half a million followers.

In her now famous tutorials filmed in her Casablanca apartment, Rime shows her fanbase how to style second-hand clothes and make them look modern and fresh.

“In Morocco, buying ‘vintage’ is becoming more and more popular. People have learned to accept the idea and are more in favor of this type of clothing, also because of its ecological dimension,” she tells Efe.

Buying old clothes is not a new phenomenon in the North African country.

Commonly called “joutiya” or “l’bal” in the Moroccan dialect, market stalls often trade second-hand clothes to people of all ages and social classes who spend hours searching through mountains of clothes, shoes and bags for designer pieces or well-known brands.

“You have to spend all day there, you may search a lot and find little, but you can also find unique products. ‘L’bal’ is like therapy!”, she says, smiling as she shows off her favorite discovery: a leather jacket that cost her just 10 dirhams ($0.96).

Rime has spent her life visiting markets across the country while on holiday with her parents and has now got a vast collection of “original” pieces.

“They would ask me where I got my style from, but it was hard for me to say that it was flea market clothes. It was frowned upon,” she says, adding that there was a stigma attached to secondhand clothes with many saying the garments were dirty or had diseases.

But everything changed when during lockdown Rime went online to post tutorials showcasing modern outfits featuring thrifted clothes.

“In my first videos I used the word ‘vintage’, but one day, tired of keeping quiet, I made one talking about the clothes I had found in a market in the city of Mohammedia,” she says.

Her confession divided her followers, but she found that many people welcomed her shift in language as she started to reference the outdoor souks she frequented to find deals.

“I was surprised that my acquaintances began to ask me for more details about the markets where I go,” she says happily.

As perceptions shifted, a rise in online shops trading second-hand items ensued.

Rime says she buys garments online, too, although at a higher price, and recent finds include Lady Dior and Gucci Jackie bags.

She films her tutorials from her bedroom, a fashion haven of long rows of shirts in different sizes and colors, jackets, coats, pants, dresses and a huge range of accessories including, old caps berets, dozens of shoes and specialized fashion books.

This is the set where she reaches out to her over 370,000 followers on Tik Tok and 102,000 fans on Instagram.

“Vintage is like haute couture. It’s only worn by you. That gives you a personality in clothes because you never wear the same thing as everyone else. At the flea market you develop your own, personal style and give those clothes a new lease of life,” Rime says. EFE


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