Designer Discounted

Warning: Fake Handbags in Marrakech

I’ve long known that Marrakech is the place to buy cheap leather handbags, but it wasn’t until my recent trip that I saw fake Hermes Birkins and Mulberry totes being sold openly in Ensemble Artisal. In any other place or time, I would have been deeply annoyed. But this is Morocco—the country that inspired Yves Saint Laurent, the runways of Dior, and more recently, a Tory Burch collection. How do you get offended by a place that has inspired so much beauty?

I didn’t buy any of the imitation bags, of course, but I was certainly curious enough to look at them closely and even talk to women who did purchase them.

My Observations

Whether the handbags can be considered fake—strictly speaking—is subject to debate. Their silhouettes and structures were obviously copied from iconic designer bags, but most of them weren’t marked.

The “Boston” bags pictured below didn’t say Celine, for example. Any luxury fashion lover worth her Louboutins can tell that none of these bags are actually Celine. The colors, the shape, the stitching are all wrong. But are they cute? To some people, the answer is yes. 

Celine Handbags Morocco

I talked to one of the tourists who bought this bag and here was what she said:

“To me, it’s not a fake. This bag is not pretending to be anything other than what it is—a well-made, all-leather handbag that happens to look like a Celine.”

She made an interesting point. And while I understood what she meant, I didn’t agree, so I walked away with nothing.

Fake Designer Handbags Morocco
More fake handbags in Marrakesh 

The average price of these designer inspired handbags in Marrakech is 1,000 dirhams or $120. Prices in Ensemble Artisal are fixed, so if you want to haggle, this isn’t the place to buy. You’ll have better luck at the souks.

In another shop still within the complex, I saw a number of tourists snapping up these ‘H’ bags—obviously inspired by Hermes.

Hermes Handbags Morocco

My Tip

If you’re like me and simply don’t feel right about fakes, don’t worry—the Moroccan medinas have plenty of other bags to offer.

Spend your money on Moroccan satchels instead. They’re unique, handmade, and can even be personalized with your initials and choice of colour. Now that’s real luxury!

Satchels Marrakech
Authentic Leather Bags Marrakech

Keep in mind that Moroccan handbags are inferior to Italian- or French-made bags in terms of leather quality and finishing. If you are fussy about linings and what-not, you won’t like them.

You might be better off buying souvenirs like poufs, silver jewellery, or a Berber carpets. Or you can buy what I did: hand-painted tiles. They’re gorgeous for the powder room. And I’m sure they’re 100% authentic—something I can’t say about the handbags.

Handmade Tiles Morocco
Published March 19, 2014 by Ingrid Cudia
Designer Discounted