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© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2015 | doi: 10.1163/9789004282537_018 Creative Differences, Creating Difference: Imagining the Producers of Moroccan Fashion and Textiles Claire Nicholas “She draws her inspiration from all the artisanal heritage of Morocco, not hesi- tating to divert forms and objects from their original purpose, readapting them for dress … She is equally attentive to other cultures, opening herself to Incan, Egyptian and Indian influences”.1 The press release for the 2007 Nokia Mod’Art fashion show in Rabat thus introduces the young designer Siham El Habti. The description of El Habti’s sources of inspiration draws attention to the cen- tral concerns of this chapter: namely, the valorisation of Moroccan cultural difference amidst appeals to a cosmopolitan ethos, and the construction of local status distinctions in the context of the burgeoning Moroccan fashion and cultural tourism industries. Two figures or cultural stereotypes emerge as key boundary markers in representations and performances of difference and identity amongst the producers of “traditional” Moroccan clothing and hand- icrafts: the “ maʿallem ,” or master craftsman,2 and the “styliste” or “designer”. These collectivities, and the goods they produce, position themselves, or are positioned, differently to symbols of and references to national or collective
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