Written by Christina Faris, Product Line Manager for Sperry
As a Product Line Manager for Men’s footwear at Sperry, I am constantly searching for different materials, prints, patterns, and silhouettes for use in our product lines.
When I learned that I would be one of fourteen people from Sperry lucky enough to travel to Morocco in order to find inspiration for use in our spring 2017 product lines, I was beyond excited!
Morocco is a country known for vibrant colors, patterns, and textiles. It is a country of different flavors, and cultures. This trip was going to be an amazing opportunity to immerse our designers in a beautiful, artistic, and creative environment that would inspire them to create, innovate, and open their minds to new concepts.
I was so excited to see what we would find, learn and be inspired by!
Our first stop was the Hassan II Mosque. It is the largest mosque in Morocco and Africa, and the 7th largest in the world. The Mosque’s many tile patterns, colors, and geometric prints left our team in awe, inspired, and hungry for more experiences!
After visiting shoe factories, and sightseeing in the beautiful city of Casablanca, we traveled to Marrakech for more inspiration and market shopping.
We took a tour of the Majorelle Gardens, a twelve-acre botanical garden designed by French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and owned by Yves Saint-Laurent since 1980.
The bright bold colors and tile work were absolutely amazing, and were the perfect backdrop for the beautiful gardens. This is where the color Majorelle Blue was born: a strong, deep and intense shade of bold cobalt blue color “evoking Africa”. We are so excited to bring this color to life in our spring 2017 collection!
After taking in the beauty of Morocco’s mosques and gardens, we set out to visit the shops in Marrakech.
The shops overflowed with an abundance of beautiful hand painted bowls and plates, handmade jewelry, woodworking, aromatic mountains of spices and foods, handmade shoes and clothing, and handwoven rugs full of color and pattern. I speak for the whole team when I say we were in heaven and overwhelmed in the best way possible!
No visit to Morocco is complete without a trip to the desert!
Our team had the ultimate team building experience when we took a two-hour camel trek into the desert in order to spend the night under the stars. We built a campfire, played drums and sang the songs of the Berber, a group of people who have managed to preserve their own language and culture for over 4000 years. We even got caught in a midnight sand storm. Luckily the only casualties were a few iPhones.
From the desert to the Sea!
Our last stop, and the best way to end the trip, was a visit to the town of Essaouira: Morocco’s Surfing and Windsurfing capital. A beloved city for personalities as influential and unique as Orson Welles, Winston Churchill or Jimi Hendrix.
After a few hours of market shopping, we took to the sea in order to get in touch with Sperry’s “born on the water” roots. Our time in, on and around the sea included surfing, paddle boarding, and snapping photos of beach camels in this beautiful Atlantic coastal town.
As our trip came to an end, we all gathered together as a team to recap and debrief on our thoughts, inspirations, and new designs ideas.
This Odyssey was such an enlightening and inspiring trip for us all, and we are so excited to share our Morocco-inspired designs with the world in 2017.