I have a recurring stress nightmare – which is usually a sign I’m run down and need a holiday – whereby it’s the day before my French A-level exam and I haven’t yet started revising. Invariably I wake up moments before the (dream) exam itself is due to start, and the sense of relief that it’s not actually the day I’ll be tested on my command of the French language is almost worth the tossing and turning of the previous six or so hours. Despite what’s clearly a lasting horror of that particular sixth-form day, even I can tell you that the number of thatched mud huts in the grounds of Les Cinq Djellabas number more than five – although that is about the only thing this little paradise just outside Marrakech gets incorrect. On face value, staying in a mud hut might not sound like the best way to spend a romantic weekend away, but these, my design-savvy friends, are no ordinary mud huts. If I ever end up with a black tadelakt wall in a future home renovation, it will be thanks to the 52 pictures my boyfriend took of the lime plaster bathrooms walls in Les Cinq Djellabas’ huts: they were sensationally exquisite. Each hut – of which there are actually 10 – comes with beautifully styled interiors, and a light and breezy bathroom that looks out onto olive trees, cacti and banana plants. I’m not a fan of the catch-all ‘eco-chic’ tag, but it’s certainly apt for the spaces that designer Thierry Isbnardon, who worked with the owner, Frederic Velissariou, on the interiors, has created. In the lofty reception, unfinished adobe walls with their iron rods still visible are used as an unusual but striking staircase, and clusters of naked light-bulbs pre-date the current fashion for them in every interior magazine going. We slummed it in a regular suite. If you want to splash out, there’s a luxe version which comes with free-standing bathtub, but even as someone who has what some might call an obsession with free-standing baths (it comes from living in a shower-only London flat), they do feel like something of superfluous extra when there’s a zinging pool approximately 12 steps from your bed. And the pool is as chic as it gets, all green marbled tiles and just-so-arranged loungers and beds round its edges. March, when I visited, is not the time to actually get in the pool. I did, but only when dared after a few too many glasses of wine and it was not hot. In Morocco’s boiling summers, I imagine it will be just the cooling thing. In March, while it was just about warm enough to sunbathe, there were also some rather extravagant thunder and lightening storms, which we sheltered from wrapped in blankets in the porch of our hut. (I shouldn’t really be calling them ‘huts’ at all, maybe ‘lodges’ works better.) Aside from the interiors, the food here is exceptional. Hardly surprising given Velissariou also created Le Foundouk, which just happens to be one of the most famous restaurants in the Medina. The menu isn’t extensive, but it works. The vegetable tagine, in particular, was so good we had it twice. Each. Everything here is thought through: your pool basket packed with towels, flip-flops and water, and left at your door each morning; breakfast served wherever you want it – in fact, food full-stop served wherever you want it, with no pesky tray or room-service charges. When you visit Marrakech you should, of course, visit Marrakech, but we skipped it. Between us having ‘done’ the medina, the Jardin Majorelle, and all the other tick-it-off-the-bucket-list sights a fair few times, we opted out and instead spent the time more wisely: namely doing nothing more taxing than advancing the page on the Kindle and ordering more wine. I fully expect we’ll be back to do the same again next year. Oh, and I looked up ‘djellabas’ – it doesn’t mean mud hut, or any kind of building or lodge. It means a robe with hood, so the ‘cinq’ in the name doesn’t refer to the accommodation at all. They didn’t get anything wrong. Love this author? Get more updates from Carla on Twitter and Instagram. The post Design Destination: Les Cinq Djellabas, Marrakech, Morocco appeared first on WGSN Insider. http://ift.tt/2r5FUqO

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Social media has opened up a whole new window of possibilities for small brands, letting them reach a huge number of people around the world, something unthinkable before the Instagram era. But with this global exposure via Instagram feeds, comes the challenge of having to stand out from a crowd full of designers offering a wide range of products. In the universe of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc, only the social media savvy survives: if opening a store is all about location, in the online world it’s all about the image and going viral is the ultimate goal. There are many cases that show the power of the Internet and one of them is Sabrina Tachdjian. A Uruguayan designer who started her accessories brand Sabrina Tach back in 2008 via Etsy, and ended up selling at Free People and Urban Outfitters. Celebrities like Vanessa Hudgens wore her products, while Vogue UK and Who What Wear featured her designs in their articles. Most recently Sabrina launched a sister brand focusing on clothing. So how exactly does a small independent brand goes from Etsy to expanding the business? WGSN contributor Augusta Adriasola caught up with Sabrina to find out more: accessories brand Sabrina Tach How did the accessories brand begin? Sabrina Tach, the accessories brand, began in 2008, when I was 24-years-old and working as a designer for a local jean brand, for which I travelled through the US and Europe doing trendhunting. One day while I was at a leather curtiembre (Spanish for an atelier specializing in leather) for the jean tags, something inside me woke up, a sort of creative spark and I was inspired to start a line of handbags to export. My initial investment was 200 dollars. From that I started to sell my products on Etsy and they went viral, both the products as well as the campaign images. From there many boutiques started to contact me and I got some big international deals, while some celebrities also started to wear the brand. Having succeeded with accessories brand Sabrina Tach, why did you start Tach Clothing? I wanted a new challenge but I didn’t want to lose the association with Sabrina Tach. I had the need to create non-leather garments so along with my sister (who had been working with me for a while) we decided to start Tach Clothing. At the beginning, it was hard to communicate that they were “sister brands”. We then started to unify the imagery and the campaigns so people could understand more. At one point, we even debated whether we should make a totally different brand or just a line within Sabrina Tach, but Sabrina Tach is so related to leather that we didn’t want it to lose its identity. How would you define Tach Clothing? It is casual and cool. We are focusing on three lines: party collection, knits and jeans. All products are made in Uruguay. Is it the same audience for Sabrina Tach and Tach Clothing? With Tach Clothing the audience is a bit younger, something like from 17 to 40 years old, while at Sabrina Tach is wider, from 17 to 70. It wasn’t something we planned but it’s going that way. What is the importance of social media to promote a brand? At least for us, it is the only way we promote the brands, as we don’t pay for publicity in other kind of media or make any kind of diffusion outside of social media. At the same time, we have been developing an identity through social media, showing a bit of the everyday cycle of the brand like showing a sample when we get it in at the office. It allows our clients to feel close with the brand. Love this contributor? Follow Augusta Adriasola on Twitter here. The post Sabrina Tach: How this small accessories brand harnessed the power of Etsy appeared first on WGSN Insider. http://ift.tt/2qXB81m

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