A decolonial project celebrating Moroccan craftsmanship & artisanal culture
The Éthiket team had the chance to discuss and exchange ideas with sustainable visionaries
Samira Mahboub & Zaid Charkaoui, founders of LIMALA.
LIMALA is a decolonial project celebrating Moroccan craftsmanship & artisanal culture
LIMALA means ‘Why Not’ in Arabic classic
“Both founders own a shared history.
Zaid was born in Casablanca, Morocco while Samira is half Moroccan of Amazigh origin and half German born
Both shared a passion for artisanal craftsmanship, traditional designs and Moroccan rug making .
When the couple got married in 2017, while waiting for visa approval Samira and Zaid invented the idea of Limala in order to create something meaningful to them while staying connected to their Moroccan heritage
They decided to create LIMALA to celebrate their passion for rug making, colors and design. They were fascinated by how rug patterns were charged with symbolic meaning and how they were traditionally used as a way to story tell. Initially Moroccan rugs were used as blankets to protect from the cold or as decoration for homes.
Traditionally rug makers are women and most of them live in rural areas.
Some Amazigh patterns and symbols signify strength, fertility and protection and allow one to find himself through the rugs.
Samira and Zaid decided to create LIMALA and to travel through the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.
Limala is in search of the authentic, humble and spiritual side of Morocco, far away from big cities and tourism.
They found a village in the middle of the Atlas Mountains, a place where people neither own phones nor have access to the internet. It was Samira and Zaid’s first time going this deep into the Atlas Mountains making them feel like being in another world for it's remoteness .
The road took them four long hours. They found a village in the Atlas Mountains, place of traditional craftsmanship where Moroccan dialect and one of the Amazigh languages are spoken ( WHAT IS THE AMAZIGH LANGUAGE)
They had the chance to find a generous individual who brought them to his family of rug makers.The art of rug making is traditionally passed from mothers to daughters. Today they create closely with this family of rug makers in order to translate the richness of the practice and culture behind it.
The goal of LIMALA is to tell a story, narrating Moroccan culture and making Morocco more accessible in the most authentic way. Their values are humility and spirituality while showcasing a simpler side of Morocco.
Limala questions us,
Why not do good in the world?
Why not take a closer look into culture?
Why not help people?
Why not LIMALA?
Their future plans are to host workshops and pop up stores, discussing how to decolonize a business.
LIMALA all the more answered a further question in order to get more into depth and explore their thought process
Where was LIMALA born?
Limala is born in between our relationship, waiting for Visa approval after marriage, and our move to Berlin.
Let us say LIMALA is born in Morocco and further developed and realised in Berlin.
Who is part of LIMALA?
Zaid Charkaoui is born and raised in Morocco, coming from a family being involved in leather handcraft and fabricating leather handbags, his love for detailed manual labour and Moroccan artisan remains part of his life. Samira is a sociology and postcolonial scholar, passionate about Moroccan artisan work and women’s craftsmanship
Sharing a mutual love for and a deep connection to our Moroccan heritage, we decided to start LIMALA, a hybrid and decolonial project open to all who want to be part of it. Generally, LIMALA includes everybody involved in the process: All the artists and people we work with are part of the LIMALA family
From the women gathering and preparing the wool as the basis of rug making, knotting and designing the rug. To the crew taking care of the supply chain and logistics.
What is LIMALA made of? (materials, techniques)
The material being used is sheep wool most colours are hand-washed and naturally dyed from saffron, yellow, to mint green, pomegranate, walnut or henna.The background is either ivory ,cream or off white originating from natural virgin sheep wool, It can also be intermixed with threads of recycled cloth of various colours
In terms of technique it is knotted and woven. Azilal rugs are a combination of irregular abstract patterns ;a lot of diamond shaped patterns for instance with Amazigh symbols and diamond based geometric patterns/ Boucherouite rugs are only made with recycled, upcycled materials of old cloth. It takes up to 2 weeks to fabricate a medium size rug. The knotting and fabrication of the rugs, not only requires incredible technique but also immense patience, precision and discipline
What does Limala stand for? What is the LIMALA Mission?
LIMALA’s mission has two layers. On the one hand, it is about reconnecting, rediscovering and remembering our Moroccan heritage. On the other hand, it is about sharing the love and appreciation we feel for our homeland with the outside world. Through the offering of unique products from Morocco as well as storytelling, narrating and informing others about Morocco’s various cultures and traditions.
Experiencing Morocco is not only about traveling to Marrakech, staying in beautiful riads and getting lost in colourful souks (not that there's anything wrong about that ).Understanding and experiencing the beauty of Morocco means so much more than that. In our eyes, Morocco has so many faces ; it’s spiritual, simple, generous and humble. Those are qualities we, as part of the diasporic and/or immigrant community in the Global North can learn from. LIMALA is an opportunity for everyone to reflect on and rethink what we have learned.
We not only want people to buy and consume LIMALA’s products but through that gesture, to have a real chance to discover, connect with and embrace Moroccan culture and its traditions. At the moment, we are focused on offering a selection of handmade Berber rugs from a local family production in the Atlas Mountains and we plan to add traditional organic beauty products soon. Our social media content will include visual narratives and stories about the country’s rich cultures/traditions and the art of traditional handcraft of the Amazigh people, Morocco’s indigenous population. It is also important to us as part of our practice to acknowledge who are the people behind our products and how the products are fabricated, providing a sense of their history and artistry as context for each piece to be understood from within. Another really significant aspect for us is to create a real connection with all the artisan, the women who are working with us and fabricating those stunning rugs. These women are the real artists and workers behind LIMALA. We want to appreciate their manual labour and give them what they deserve. There is nothing more violent than becoming a successful business at the expense of local artists without sharing said success with the real creators. We want to create a working relationship based on decency, trust, respect, appreciation, and humaneness. We also want to be engaged in a social project in Morocco but haven’t decided which one yet,
Who makes LIMALA?
LIMALA products and designs are mainly made by the local artisan women knotting and weaving the rugs, mostly local family businesses and/or associations specialising in providing fair labour for local artisan craftsmanship .We have been working on our OWN LIMALA Rug Collection designed by Zaid Charkaoui co-founder of LIMALA and fabricated by local artists in rural Morocco , Atlas Mountains.
How does LIMALA respect the planet?
The rugs are made of natural sheep wool. A lot of colours are dyed naturally using natural resources. Using part or full integration of upcycled and recycled cloth for rug fabrication.It also is a rural supply chain .We would love to further explore and implement strategies and ideas of how to further minimize the climate footprint
What is next for LIMALA?
Oh everything is next for LIMALA!
There are so many plans that we need to make sure to go through all the baby steps before jumping into the big ones. We planned our first pop-up event in the beginning of march in Berlin. We teamed up with a CBD boutique called Urban Greens. In general, we aim to build an inclusive and genuine community not only with Moroccan artisans but also with everyone else. Long-term, we plan to create cultural events as a platform for intercultural understanding and exchange.We also want to facilitate workshops thinking through how to decolonize businesses dealing with artisan craftsmanship in general .LIMALA is a hybrid mission.
Who / What inspires LIMALA?
LIMALA is inspired by the deep love and connection we have for our homeland Morocco, the people, the colours, the artisan craftsmanship, the beauty in the details. We are inspired by every single detail we find and see in Morocco
Inspired by the simple, humble and spiritual side of Morocco
What does LIMALA represent?
Limala represents the idea to connect with people and cultures through a shared and mutual love for Moroccan artisan work. Limala wants to focus on the beauty of slow manual labour .The dedication, patience, love for details and process that slow manual labour entails, and Moroccan artisan work as art. We want to focus on the beauty in simplicity and tradition. LIMALA will keep our hearts open to learn and grow.