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DUBAI: Samira and Yasmine Erguibi are the Moroccan mother-daughter duo who have made it their mission to make a positive impact in fashion. The designers are playing an active role in promoting sustainability and ethical practices with their accessories label, Doum.

Each design in their bag line is handmade by underprivileged women. The totes, clutches and pouches support fair trade and sustainable practices to preserve local artisanal traditions and invite local women from rural areas around Marrakech to provide for their families via the production of the bags, according to the label’s manifesto.

“It was during my final year project which focused on the situation of women in rural areas that the idea of Doum germinated,” said Yasmine, who co-founded the accessories brand with her mother in 2017. “We met some amazing women and wanted to make our contribution. It was naturally that together we created a cooperative sometime later. Many well-known international brands have supported us from the start. And after that, we decided to launch our own brand,” she said.

The brand takes its name from the Moroccan palm leaf, which is collected, pruned and then woven by the artisans. “It is a nod to our culture, heritage and craftsmanship,” explained Yasmine of the decision to name the label Doum.

Today, Doum operates its own cooperative in Morocco, Doum For Women, which currently employs 235 women artisans.

Doum For Women is the first basketry cooperative in Morocco to have obtained SEDEX certification, meaning that the organization ticks all of the boxes of ethical business practices.

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Doum operates its own cooperative in Morocco, Doum For Women. Supplied

“It is important to work with these women, first to help them get out of precariousness and then to promote their know-how on an international scale,” shared the designer. “Before being a brand, Doum is a real social and solidarity project.”

In addition to improving the welfare of local women, Doum also promotes the preservation of the fast-fading form of craftsmanship in Morocco.

Each design is meticulously handmade using ancestral braiding and embroidery techniques from environmentally-friendly materials, palm leaf and raffia. Each bag is then assembled by leatherworkers at Doum’s workshop. Sometimes, a single bag can take more than 100 working hours to produce.

 “These techniques are passed down from generation to generation and we wish to continue to preserve this artisanal heritage while including it in the current fashion landscape,” Yasmine said.

Doum also promotes the preservation of the fast-fading form of craftsmanship in Morocco. Supplied

All of the dyes used in the products are natural, made mainly from mineral and plant extracts.

Meanwhile, the designer stressed the importance of creating a rewarding ecosystem for all those involved in the brand.

“The future of fashion depends on the people. The people who make the products, the farmers who cultivate our materials, our employees and our customers. We want to have a positive impact on all those on whom we depend and on those who depend on us in return.”

Tory Burch x Doum 

The brand has gained international recognition since its launch five years ago, collaborating with US label Tory Burch in 2019 on “The Ella Basket Bag.” The designer says that one of her biggest career goals is to further internationalize Doum, while anchoring Moroccan craftsmanship as a key element in the fashion landscape.

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The brand has plenty to look forward to in 2022. Doum is set to open its first-ever flagship in Casablanca, where it will be selling all of its sustainable and eye-catching designs, including bags from its newly-launched collection. 


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