Few articles of clothing are made of 100% Egyptian cotton, and even fewer are made to traditional design. Egypt’s obsession with international trends is taking a toll on traditionally designed products. However, Dammoor is trying to change that.
“I had the idea in October 2011 when I was trying on an evening outfit at Shahira Mehrez‘s shop for traditional costumes,” explained Dammoor founder Amina Abdel Meguid. “The fabric stunned me with its elegance, natural look and its nice colour – sokkari [an off white/beige colour]. When I asked about this beautiful fabric, they said it was dammoor [Egyptian cotton]. ”
Abdel Meguid explained she never thought of fashion as a career: “My interest was never in fashion design, but when I saw something so special and so Egyptian I became very excited and passionate about it.”
Abdel Meguid explains Dammoor: “My idea is based on the usage of dammoor. It started because I loved it and after learning that it is based in Egypt and made out of Egyptian cotton, I loved it. It is the equivalent of linen but made from cotton. “
Abdel Meguid shared the history of the fabric: “I learned it was used in old times to make clothes mainly for the poor, but now it is used in upholstery and pattern making.” Her process begins with buying the fabric: “I buy it from Al-Azhar, where you can find a big selection of dammoor blends. There used to be the 100% cotton quality, but now those are rare.” She spent a year collecting data on cotton. “For the past year and a half I have been experimenting with different fabrics and doing research about cotton in Egypt and I became acquainted with several people, areas and the Cotton Research Institute,” explains Abdel Meguid.
Dammoor is a family affair. “My mother is the logo’s designer and my brother has helped me a lot with advice and has been Dammoor’s biggest fan; he is always wearing the shirts,” Abdel Meguid said. Other people were also involved in Dammoor: “Shahira Mehrez was the first person who encouraged me, along with head seamstress Zeinab Ramadan who made the first Dammoor shirt.
Hanan Aboul Hassan, the owner of the Heshma Abaya store, helped me a lot with contacts. In addition, Dr. Amal Saber and Dr. Ahmed Darwish at the Cotton Research Institute were very welcoming and provided me with information,” said Abdel Meguid.
The shirts’ design is very simple which highlights the quality of the fabric. “The shirt is what I call a galabeya shirt and all our shirts are made by a skilled tailor,” Abdel Meguid said. “Our logo–sewn in the back of the shirt– is an embroidered badge made in an Egyptian workshop using traditional embroidery sewing machines. This is rare to find these days, most people use automated logo embroidery using computer technology. ”
Dammoor has high hopes for the future: “We are Egyptians who love Egyptian cotton and wish to see it prosper, see our Egyptian factories working and exporting which will benefit our workforce.”
Currently Dammoor is operating through Facebook.