Berba pays tribute to Morocco and its craftsmanship

Berba pays tribute to Morocco and its craftsmanship

A few days ago, the Berba brand created by Los Angeles-based Jake Fessenden found an ideal retailer with Soukie Modern boutique, a store renowned in Palm Springs and Joshua Tree for the quality of its rugs, clothing and home goods “co-crafted in Morocco and California.” Sharing the same passion for Berber culture and beauty, the 28-year-old designer has signed its first dealer.

Berba is making shirts in Morocco

“My love of fashion comes from my grandmother, who was very creative and knew how to sew and mend all kinds of clothes,” said Fessenden. “Having no affinity with fast fashion, I first launched a brand of upcycled clothes before thinking up the concept of Berba, a brand connected to craftsmanship where each piece could last for years, made from the finest materials in Morocco”.
Inspired by a trip to Morocco, Fessenden set out to find the best textile artisans who could help him building his collections. “For three weeks, I crisscrossed the country, starting in Casablanca,” said Fessenden. “I visited the tanneries of Fès, saw the fabulous Sahara desert, discovered Ouarzazate, and ended my journey in Marrakech, where my guide introduced me to the best craftsmen. A total immersion in Berber culture that made me understand why so many people, Yves Saint Laurent

Introduced to a family of craftsmen who wove fabrics on old wooden looms, Fessenden was won over by the family spirit of the small factory, capable of producing pieces in small quantities.

“I watched them pass the thread through what we call a ‘reed’ made of iron nails, and followed the bobbin as it was effortlessly swung back and forth in the loom. It was a process thousands of years old. I was moved. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to share what I had seen,” he added.

Jake Fessenden, founder of Berba

Inspired by the natural vibrant colors popping all around Morocco, by textures and architecture, he created a first collection made from 100% natural and soft cotton.

“Each design is unique, and will not be reproduced,” added Fessenden. “We weave our fabric in small runs allowing us to control the quality of each garment. This is a slow-fashion brand, and each garment is designed to be passed down.”
Initially launched with a series of tops, including boxy tee-shirts in wide stripes, available with colors and tone-on-tone, and three-pocket shirts in natural colors, topaz, tobacco, charcoal and coral, the Berba brand is set to expand into other segments in the coming seasons.

“My clothes are versatile, working perfectly for the beach, for a dinner party, an evening out. I’m now working on a ‘Woven for the Wanderer’ collection centered on travel and looking to flesh out the collection in outerwear, pants, shorts,” he said.
Supported by a private investor, Fessenden first began selling his collections at various craft markets, at the Artists & Fleas Venice market, and at West Coast Craft in San Francisco.

Berba’s shirts

“The next step is to distribute the brand in multi-brands as Soukie Modern. I would also love to invite Berba to hotels and resorts and I’m working on a capsule collection that will be sold in Saint-Barthélémy this winter,” concluded Fessenden.

“Being global doesn’t interest me. But showcasing superior craftsmanship and ancient traditions, and make them known throughout the Western world, makes me very happy.”

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