Babushes

Wow, we have the most beautiful hand-crafted shoes in the shop right now. I got some for my daughters 4 and 1, and they are really so comfy for play and so pretty as well.

But I am even more enthralled by the amazing process that goes into making these shoes, and want to share the whole story with you here.

First 2 lovely artists take a vacation from the urban lands of the USA to Morocco. They love it. They don’t come back. They have children, and start an amazing little company making children’s gear honoring the people, land, and art of Morocco, while incorporating their own urban style. Everyone there – men, women, and children, wear a shoe called a ‘babush’ so they start to make babushes for kids…

First there are sheep.
sheep
The Babush starts with the sheep in the Moroccan fields. Sheep are raised
naturally on local farms, grazing openly throughout the open and expansive
countryside. For Moroccans, sheep are respected animals. Sheep herding is
an active way of life for many Moroccans, both young and old. Many festivals
throughout the year celebrate this animal and during the celebrations, thanks
and prayers are offered for the sheep’s sacrifice. In brief, sheep are a strong
part of the Moroccan culture, religion and diet, no part of the animal being
harvested goes to waste.

hides
Moroccan leather is made with traditional methods. Marrakech has a
number of famous tanneries, located near the Zid Zid Kids headquarters.
These places literally have not changed in over a century, both in location
and in methods. The skins are carried in and out of the souks mostly by
donkey and mules, taking up to three weeks to prepare one skin. One of
the smellier traditional crafts of Morocco, priming the skins for the tanning
is quite an undertaking. On site you will find salt, actual bird droppings,
lime, sulphur, sun and water used during the priming stage. Multiple,
large baths allow the skins to pass through the multiple stages. Men move
the skins around with their hands and feet in the separate baths, a brave
undertaking! At the last stage, the skins are ready for tanning. During this
final phase, natural tannins are used, such as bark and a local flower called
Mimosa to tan the hides.
embroidery
Once the leather is tanned, dried and colored, it is ready to be cut into
a Babush. At the Zid Zid Kids workshop, each Babush is cut and given to
independent local women for embroidery. The women work collectively in
their homes, sewing beads and sequins onto each one. Once embroidered,
all the pieces are then assembled and sewn in our workshop. To reach the
right form and fit, the Babush is constantly molded by hand along the way.
babush

Each Babush is a labor of love. In this industrialized world we live in today,
it is wonderful to have the chance to keep such an old craft alive and support
a sustainable process. Because it is a handmade shoe, made by local
craftsmen, it is impossible to strive for a “perfect shoe” and that is not the
aim or purpose of the Babush either. Please enjoy our Babushes for all its
handmade qualities!

Check them out here, and while the sizes and colors available do vary due to the time it actually takes to make each pair, we are happy to special order a size and color combo for your little one – if available they will be delivered within the week! Just give us a call for a special order.

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