Become a leather master

 

Unless you’ve been in the business for a while, it can be tricky to know if a piece of leather is real or fake. There are many ways to work this noble material which makes it even more difficult to understand what is real and what is fake,  pushing one to give up on this gorgeous leather jacket, being afraid of being cheated. Marrakech insiders has been working with Brahim for a while, Brahim is a master at working leather like many craftsmen in the Medina. We got along so well with Brahim, impressed by his attention to details and his will to get it right. He’s the kind of guy you’ll meet on your off the beaten track holidays with Marrakech Insiders. Here’s an interview we made of our leather master friend…

 

Marrakech Insiders - Leather Master

 

Brahim is a « mâllem » in his line of work. Trained to work on leather when he was just a teenager, he became a master craftsman at age 18, he then moved to Casablanca for four years to work in a leather bag factory. He opened his own shop when he moved back to Marrakech and specializes in making bags. He makes an average of 30 bags per week, mainly from goat and cowhide (for bigger bags such as travel luggage). He rarely uses sheep leather, very flexible, it is more appropriate for clothes. Every week, he goes to Souk Jeld (leather) close to the Ben youssef Medersa to buy his leather. Go and check it out if you have time, it can get quite lively !

Loaded with eighty raw skins, he heads back to his workshop where he deals himself with the dyeing and leaves them to dry in the sun one day before the real work starts.

So, how can you tell real leather from fake leather ? Pay attention to the odor, but also to the overall aspect and the touch he says. Real leather is flexible and gets back to its original shape when folded. It isn’t all smooth and has some imperfections, showing it’s a real animal skin and of good quality. If you’re still not convinced, try piercing through the leather or burning it : real leather cannot be pierced or burnt (be ready for some serious argument with a seller who’s good you burn to make a point). In terms of maintenance, clean your leather with a baby cream and let it dry in pen air (but not in the sun), it will be good as new.

For your shopping safari in the Medina, expect to pay around 300 MAD for a small bag and about 800 MAD for a travel bag. Get ready to be a leather master !

Marrakech Insiders, the most authentic tours Marrakech has to offer

Author

Rachel

A few years ago, Rachel, born and raised in Switzerland, discovered by chance the ocher city. But what followed was in no way due to chance. Her curiosity was thoroughly aroused, she strove, in the course of her academic work, to reconstruct the puzzle of the architectural heritage of Gueliz. She went through tons of archives, interviewed the city's living memories and explored its sleepy nooks. Today, Rachel tells her stories on a shiny sidecar and published a book with Editions Sarrazines & Co retracing all her finds on the Gueliz.