Serious shoppers and those with a riad to fill should hire a taxi and make for the Quartier Industriel of Sidi Ghanem, about 4km along the Route de Safi. This is the city’s design district, filled with factory showrooms and workshops where you’ll find original brand homeware, from large pieces of furniture to scented candles, clothes, accessories and more. Unlike the medina, it’s laid out on a grid system and is easy to navigate, especially with the help of one of their free maps. Credit cards are readily accepted.
At La Maison Fenyadi, look out for over-sized Amira candles – they use the country’s best essential oils, such as cedar, fig, rose and jasmine. Akkal does a modern take on classic Moroccan ceramics with pick-and-mix tableware in vibrant colours. Topolina is the eponymous atelier of French designer Isabelle Topolina, who has created a unique collection of clothes, hats and bags, upcycled vintage finds and turned brightly coloured printed fabric and oilcloth from sub-Saharan Africa into one-of-a-kind coats.
Trained in her native Normandy as a couture pattern maker, Isabelle Topolina moved to Marrakech six years ago, bringing with her an eye for flattering feminine silhouettes as well as for real estate investing. Her sprawling, sunlit second floor atelier in Sidi Ghanem, a 20-minute car ride from the medina, has spawned a Brooklyn-esque makeover for this once gritty industrial district—now lined with vintage furniture stores, handmade candle vendors, and boho-chic French bistros. Berber carpets cover the concrete floors here, their vibrant hues reflected in the meticulously tailored A-line coats, relaxed peasant blouses, and easy to wear dresses she sews in a dizzying array of printed silk, cotton, and viscose fabrics. Most of these she sources in the local souks, including a well-edited selection of Swinging Sixties–inspired patterns. Regulars, however, know to hunt for frocks in the orange and violet or indigo and pale peach vegetable tie-dyes she brings back from Mauritania, and the bold wax print textiles she imports from Senegal. These she also uses to cover the brand’s signature tassel loafers. Topolina’s equally talented son Pierre-Henry oversees the dandy men’s collection that ranges from silk trousers emblazoned with designs lifted from Mad Men era bow-ties and pajamas to tropical floral Bermuda shorts, looks both mother and son insist should be finished with leopard or Chinoiserie-print loafers.