Lifestyle – Daily News Egypt http://www.dailynewsegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Thu, 19 Jan 2017 19:18:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 UNTY vouches for kindness and being good to people http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/01/19/611113/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/01/19/611113/#respond Thu, 19 Jan 2017 11:00:33 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=611113 “The main message is embracing who you are as a person—male or female—and using originality as well as individuality of character as a tool for empowerment,” says founder

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Individuality is often communicated in various ways, including garments. Nonetheless, with mainstream culture controlling high-end fashion and high-street brands jeopardising their creativity for easier profit, fashion has become another method to blend into the herd.

While the biggest names in street fashion depend on mass production, few local names have been advocating exclusivity and individuality through limited hoodies and t-shirts. UNTY is one of the local names that has managed to get associated with a niche segment of clients, which seek to express their artistic souls through wardrobe.

After a few successful collections, UNTY has successfully positioned itself through abstract design and limited quantities that often sell out in a heartbeat. The IX collection is a continuation of the brand’s abstract and eloquent aesthetic. The limited collection features elaborate embroidery, expressive lyrics, and show-stopping graphic designs.

Walking the same line of previous collections, IX favours a basic colour pallet, casual cuts, and premium quality. Daily News Egypt met Omar Mobarek, founder of UNTY, to talk inspiration, sketching, and material sourcing, as well as economic changes and market feedback.

What is the main message behind this collection?

The main message is embracing who you are as a person—male or female—and using originality, as well as individuality of character as a tool for empowerment. Moreover, there are sub-themes of protecting those we love, kindness, helping others, and being good to people.

What made this one the hardest collection you have ever worked on?

For the last year and a half, we have been working towards smoothly transitioning ourselves from being labelled as strictly a graphic brand to something a lot more mature. We wanted this collection to be a big step towards that direction.

This collection is different because there was heavy embroidery work and the design process itself was a lot more sophisticated in order to maintain the same style throughout the collection, rather than design each piece separately; like we usually do.

Back details are a top trend this season. How did you aim to tackle the trend without copying other brands?

Trends are sometimes something that is subconsciously followed, but we have been adopting the back-details concept for a while now. You will see it in our summer collection, as well as in a couple pieces going back to our second collection.

There are so many ways to design something. It is almost endless, and we are in 2017 now. So much has already been produced that genuine originality is becoming increasingly difficult. Now it comes down to the story and what you are trying to convey with the design. We design from inspiration, not from reference, which is what keeps us original. This is fashion at the end of the day; it is subject to diverse and personal interpretation.

What are the main materials used in this collection?

We handpicked our materials this season instead of selecting them from the factory we work with. That was an interesting experience; going and discovering an entire area of shops that sold materials with different colours, weights, and prints. It made us realise that we have not even scratched the surface yet. We still have a lot to learn and a much bigger space to grow.

IX features three major graphic designs that took months of sketching and embroidery   (Photo Handout)
IX features three major graphic designs that took months of sketching and embroidery
(Photo Handout)

Do you work on the graphic designs yourself? How long did this collection take in terms of researching and sketching?

Yes, I do. I work on the entire process myself. It is a very hands-on process. It usually takes around three months in research, sketching, and finally zeroing in on a cut for each piece. I think the most important and difficult part of the process is building the story.

The artworks sometimes take an hour or several months; it can even take up to a year. It is really unpredictable. For example, the man’s face took me exactly two hours to design; I knew exactly what it would look like before I drew it out. Then when it came to the girl, I went back and forth on that design for almost six months.

Many of your designs depend on text. Why do you happen to more often depend on English quotes?

We love using words and language. It is a powerful form of expression. For this collection, we have actually incorporated English, Arabic, as well as Latin translated from the Bible in our four pieces. I grew up in California; accordingly, although I am Egyptian, English is the language I’m most comfortable with.

This is slowly evolving; hence the Arabic word “UNTY” on the sleeve of the hoodie.

Where do you aim to showcase this collection?

We showcase our collections primarily online. We have our website, as well as our accounts on social media—Instagram and Facebook. We usually take part in at least two events per collection; however, we would like to increase that number because it gives us a great opportunity to engage with people.

We might approach some concept stores in Cairo to have a permanent offline outlet; however, that is still undecided.

Did the current economic events affect this collection, especially with the price gap between mass produced brands and exclusive local brands evidently decreasing? 

The economic situation has its effects; nonetheless, we still run on a limited-quantity model. On the other hand, we have also found ways to minimise our costs by doing a lot of the steps ourselves.

Our prices have slightly increased; but, not as drastically as everything else in the market. Meanwhile, taxes on imported clothing have significantly increased, which has affected the local prices of international goods. Accordingly, this has given us a great advantage. If anything, it may have done us some good.

Tell us more about your collaboration with Mada and the exclusive piece you designed for them. 

The Mada collaboration was special for us because it was our first. Mada represents a unique voice, which is a quality we both share as brands. We collaborated with them because they speak to the same people we speak to.

Every year, they celebrate their birthday at the Swiss Club, bringing a diverse line-up and crowd. We released a sweater using the poster we designed for them for the event.

The interesting story is that everything was quite short-notice and production here can be quite unpredictable. We placed the order on the sweaters and we expected them to get done just about a week before the event.

However, the delivery date kept getting postponed until literally the day of the event. I waited at the factory, which is on the other side of the city, until they were manufactured, then I bolted to the venue. I showed up a couple hours late; but, it did not matter, they sold out in three hours.

I did not even get a chance to take a single picture of them; that is how exclusive these pieces were. That experience was so special for us.

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Amna Elshandaweely: breaking moulds with Siwan fashion http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/01/12/amna-elshandaweely-breaking-moulds-siwan-fashion/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/01/12/amna-elshandaweely-breaking-moulds-siwan-fashion/#respond Thu, 12 Jan 2017 17:00:30 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=609831 Walking into Siwa, all colours come to life, all scents come out to dance, and the pace of life matches the beat of the drums. Siwa is one of the many places indigenous to the Amazigh in North Africa. Their vivid and authentic traditions make them an ethnic group that repeatedly inspires creative people. Even …

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Walking into Siwa, all colours come to life, all scents come out to dance, and the pace of life matches the beat of the drums. Siwa is one of the many places indigenous to the Amazigh in North Africa. Their vivid and authentic traditions make them an ethnic group that repeatedly inspires creative people.

Even though women hardly leave their houses and never walk the streets without being concealed in abayas, the world knows the beauty of their handmade garments; but, not the secrets of their crafts.

Siwan embroidery is one of the rarest techniques in the world. Siwan women spend years working on their own wedding dress, which is usually embroidered with colourful buttons and seashells.

Amna Elshandaweely is a young local designer that is often enchanted by tribes and ethnic groups. Her ethnic line is notoriously known for colourful colour pallets, unconventional fabrics, and graphic prints. This time, Elshandaweely was inspired by the elaborate Siwa.

The designer spent a few months studying the city and its people. Instead of copying their garments and bringing them to the city, Elshandaweely aimed to create a modern collection inspired by Siwa without being a mere replica.

The designer, who often seeks to break boundaries, did not only incorporate strong prints, she also reinterpreted galabeyas for young gentlemen. The unisex collection includes show stopping overalls, colourful bombers, and graphic abayas.

Daily News Egypt met Elshandaweely to talk about the magic of Siwa, her inspiration, and her recent experience in the first season of Project Runway Middle East.

What encouraged you to focus on the Amazigh?

I am usually inspired the most by destinations and cities. During a trip to Siwa, I had a talk with one of the local residents and he used a few Amazigh words as he spoke. I didn’t understand a word of it and that made me curious.

Accordingly, I asked him about this language and he started telling me about the Amazigh, their origins and their various cultures; either the ones here in Siwa or in Morroco, Yemen, Turkey, and South Africa.

When I went back home, I was very inspired by the scenery, their music, the way they deal with life, their street style, and their mysterious hidden women. Therefore, I started reading more about the Amazigh culture, and about Siwa. Then magic happened.

Photo Handout to DNE
Photo Handout to DNE

Which parts of this culture inspired you the most?

As a tribal wear designer what inspired me the most was their Siwan galabeya, mainly its hand embroidery and array of colours.

I was also mesmerised by the way they accessorised their clothing. They add a lot of things to it that do not necessarily have to fit; some stripped fabrics with embroidery and shells, and a lot of irrelevant elements that when added to each other, create an interesting piece of art.

On the other hand, Siwa’s mysterious hidden women enchanted me. At the beginning, it angered me that you cannot really see Siwan women in the streets; nonetheless, I was way more inspired when I met some of them.

I wanted to do something extraordinary to visualise how I imagined Siwan women in the streets.

What are the main materials that you focused on?

I mainly depended on stripped fabrics along with embroidery that you can see in Moroccan and Siwan fashion. However, I focused on modernising it through other factors.

This time I also used a lot of dak fabrics, which are mainly used for tents, along with a variety of heavy fabrics that are used in Siwa and Sinai for shawls. On the other hand, I have also incorporated a lot of fringes and techniques to give a stripped effect.

How long did this collection take?

This collection was the one I worked on longest. I got the inspiration, did some sketching, got some fabrics, and started trying traditional Siwan embroidery on it before having to travel to Lebanon for Project Runway Middle East.

I had to put the collection on hold for the programme. When I came back, I changed many things, including the traditional method of embroidery.

From sketching to material scouting and manufacturing, which phase was the hardest?

I am an experimental designer. My vision used to revolve around empowering traditional handmade embroidery by using it in a modern way. Now, I believe that in order for me to empower them the most, I have to use it in a different fashion.

I currently keep traditional abayas with their details and focus more on the feeling that the collection gives; the concept that it stands for. Accordingly, I think it was the manufacturing or turning this vision into a piece that was the hardest.

Who is the perfect clientele for this collection?

Usually my clients represent unconventional characters; people who are into art and culture, who don’t care about people’s judgement, people who are into pieces that narrate stories. I think they are the change-makers and the ones who are crazy enough to change the world.

The men’s designs are rather extremely unconventional. How do you expect the public to react?

It is very unconventional, I know. While in tribes, women are the ones who are hidden, I believe in our modern cities men are the ones that are hidden. They have to wear very traditional clothes so that they won’t be judged.

Therefore, I decided that this collection will be revolutionary against how Siwan women were hidden, how men are treated in our modern cities, and how some people perceived my work as a tribal designer.

Personally, I have received many comments advising me to take a more classic direction and leave this tribal ethnic aesthetic. This was a very revolutionary collection that I am not expecting the public to accept so easily.

With that said, the unisex bomber jackets are almost sold out and they were mainly purchased by male clients, so there is hope.

Do you expect men to wear it in the streets?

I have designed a lot of untraditional menswear pieces, such as jumpsuits, modern galabeyas, and bomber jackets. For the jumpsuits, many people have already ordered them; the majority are musicians.

As for the bomber jackets, literally everybody loved them. The galabeyas on the other hand were not as popular. A few musicians have ordered them for their live performances; but, others have already praised them and a lot of women bought them.

Photo Handout to DNE
Photo Handout to DNE

Where do you hope to see this collection?

This time I am launching my website, so the whole world can buy it. I am currently in talks with many stores that are interested in showcasing my work in their galleries.

I want to be everywhere, but with some conditions. I would really love to attract those who believe in tribal fashion and stand against stereotypical fashion; the ones who dare to wear crazy things wherever they go.

This has already happened as my pieces were on the Dubai International Film Festival red carpet and a lot of people commented on how unique they were. One of the gowns was chosen by Harper’s Bazar Arabia as one of the best outfits on the red carpet.

How would you define your aesthetic?

I think every time I launch a collection, it makes me a bit surer of who I am and what I love. Through experience, I found out that my heart leans more towards the beauty of tribes; it is where I get my inspiration from.

I will always be inspired by the locals, their daily attire, and how these pieces developed over time. I will always be amazed by the fact that Siwan girls spend many years embroidering and working on their wedding dress. So I think my answer will always be tribal.

How did your participation in Project Runway reflect on this collection?

It made me more confident about myself and my identity as a designer. Although I got some comments about my tribal and ethnic side, but it made me visualise being a tribal wear designer from a different perspective.

The piece doesn’t have to embrace traditional embroidery; on the contrary, it has to give a tribal vibe and to stand out in the crowd. With the judges praising my craziness and unique ideas, it helped me make it more professional and polished.

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Chicago: a capsule collection of art-deco heirlooms http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/01/05/608523/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2017/01/05/608523/#respond Thu, 05 Jan 2017 11:00:54 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=608523 "This collection took a lot of time and effort; it was created with love. It is not a commercial collection that aims for direct sales, rather it is more of my personal take on jewellery," says Farah

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In every woman’s wardrobe lies a box where she keeps her family’s heirlooms. A ring that her mother bought next to the necklace her grandmother wore to her own wedding. While these items represent her ancestors’ favourite jewellery findings, she also adds an item of what would become part of her daughter’s heirlooms.

Pearl necklaces, diamond earrings, and cocktail rings are always a fundamental part of every treasured box. While some trends come and go, a jewellery statement is a major investment that all women understand.

Norine Farah, Egypt’s promising fashion star, joined forces with a name that has managed to become a stable part of everyone’s heirloom box: Tony Vangelli. The duo collaborated to create a capsule collection of pure statement.

“I sat with the jeweller, Tony Vangelli from Christo Vangelli. We wanted to do a mini collection regardless of the exact theme. Accordingly, I came up with three different mood boards and we sat together to discuss the main direction. We both favoured the 1920’s art deco direction and that is how ‘Chicago’ came to life,” said Farah.

The capsule collection is made for true jewellery collectors that aim to capture attention with precious details. “Chicago” includes eight chunky pieces, including one choker, one necklace, and a few cocktail rings. Farah and Vangelli followed their inspiration to create pieces of valuable art that rouse to their standards.

“I have known Tony since I was almost 15 years old and back in Alexandria. He has been calling me for the past two years to do something together. Nonetheless, the initial idea was for me to design dresses to go with his jewellery and then organise a small cocktail event to launch both,” said Farah.

Despite Farah’s lack of expertise in the arena of jewellery design, she did not want to settle for the expected. Instead, she wanted to experiment with a new type of design and tap into a new market.

“I thought, why should we follow a traditional concept rather than create a non-traditional project, which was to create a mini collection with both of our collaborated ideas,” said Farah.

Farah and Vangelli had to add a choker to the collection due to market demand 
(Photo Handout)

Farah and Vangelli had to add a choker to the collection due to market demand

(Photo Handout)

After a few weeks of research, the duo started pouring out their ideas to reach one theme and a few one-of-a-kind pieces. According to Farah, the collection only needed two months of studying and sketching as well as a month of production. “The overall process was very smooth; nonetheless, we faced challenges with a couple of pieces,” said Farah.

While Farah is a designer that never follows the herd, Vangelli is an experienced jeweller with a solid base of loyal clients. Accordingly, the two had to overcome a few creative discussions before choosing their direction.

“I wanted big, chunky pieces. Meanwhile, he believed that they would be too expensive due to their gold weight. Nonetheless, we only had one serious argument regarding one particular piece. I wanted to create a ring in a certain geometrical way and he thought that it would look ugly,” said Farah.

The controversial ring is one of the biggest items in the collection; meanwhile, it carries many details adorned with a rare hot pink stone. Despite Vangelli’s concerns, Farah managed to convince him to carry on with the design without any alterations to tone it down.

“I had to tell him that if it does not get sold, I will buy it. Accordingly, I won at the very end. He loved it when he saw the final result; it is actually one of his favourites,” said designer.

With that said, the two had to consider many aspects along the way. From the weight of final pieces to current trends and customers’ feedback, Farah and Vangelli had to use all of their knowledge and creative skills to reach “Chicago”.

“I do not wear jewellery quite often. I only wear statement pieces that I get every once and a while. They are always big and nice, and to me they are a true investment. I was infatuated with collar pins; nonetheless, they would have been too heavy so we could not move forward with them,” said the designer.

The collection includes many statement cocktail rings (Photo Handout )
The collection includes many statement cocktail rings
(Photo Handout )

On the other hand, Farah found herself obliged to add a choker regardless of her personal preferences due to the market’s high demand. “I am not a big fan of chokers. They are overly done. It is a trend that needs to slow down. We added a choker because it is the season’s biggest jewellery trend and we had to add at least one of them,” said Farah.

As for the rings, they fairly dominated the largest part of the collection as they clearly represented the collection’s aesthetic statement.

“My second favourite type of jewellery is rings. I am not a big fan of earrings or necklaces. Rings always look good, such as when you are holding a glass or smoking a cigarette, they are always prominent. I am more of a simple person; accordingly, I believe that wearing one statement ring is quite enough,” said Farah.

The designer’s love for straight lines and architectural-inspired designs come out loud and clear through “Chicago”. According to Farah, she was never truly capable of demonstrating this aesthetic through clothes due to the market’s preferences; however, this capsule collection gave her the chance to finally follow a geometrical direction.

As for the stones, the duo used amethyst, emerald, coral and rare vintage stones that Vangelli’s father bought back in the 1980s. As described by the designer, the hot pink and yellow stones are semi-precious vintage finds that are not commonly sold nowadays.

“We have already received a lot of positive comments and many people like it. However, the jewellery industry has a major complication in the local market. When buying jewellery, the majority of consumers look at resale prices. They do not appreciate the price and importance of the design, concept, and brand name,” said the designer.

After her first experience with the local jewellery market, Farah found that clients have many questions related to the items’ weight in oppose to the brand’s name and the designs themselves.

“If you were to buy a high-end piece of jewellery, its price will probably be equivalent to two other gold items; nonetheless, the brand’s heritage and design are a major factor in the pricing along with the weight of gold and precious stones.” Farah added: “jewellery is difficult in Egypt; especially from a marketing perspective. The local market still does not fully understand stones and their real value.”

.

With that said, the two wanted to create true statement pieces that spoke to a very limited type of customer. Therefore, they only created one piece from each design. Meanwhile, Farah added that this collection is considered a tool to test the market before taking any related future steps.

“Tony was amazing. I gave the direction and then we designed everything together; it was a real collaboration. We did everything together; he used to add when I am stuck and vice versa,” said Farah.

Following her constant aesthetic, Farah designed this collection with a goal to create something that personally represented her not a collection that would generate mere profit.

“This collection took a lot of time and effort, and it was created with love. It is not a commercial collection that aims for direct sales, as it is more of my personal take on jewellery. I would personally buy the one Tony said would end up being ugly. It is my all-time favourite piece of jewellery,” said Farah.

On the other hand, 2016 has truly been Farah’s year, with her many projects, top-selling collections, and a star-studded list of clients. “During 2016, I have tried boxing shorts for the boxing team, swimsuits, belly dancing costumes, upholstery fabrics, and now jewellery,” said Farah.

After the continuous track of achievements, the designer now aims to try new types of design and reach to a wider spectrum of clients. “I would love to experiment with shoes and bags; yet, I do not have the time to find the right factory where I can produce. Meanwhile, I am currently scouting for ready to wear factories to create my own fabrics and manufacture my first collection,” said Farah.

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Bayt Ward: a platform that seeks fashion transformation  http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/12/29/bayt-ward-platform-seeks-fashion-transformation/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/12/29/bayt-ward-platform-seeks-fashion-transformation/#respond Thu, 29 Dec 2016 10:00:35 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=607226 “We are not only a retail shop; we are a platform that aims to harbour and help emerging designers from around the region,” says co-founder

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Researching, designing, and manufacturing are parts of a long process that is often interrupted for the lack of selling points. Local designers have been taking major leaps; nonetheless, their attempts to reach a wider audience have always been hindered.

It is safe to claim that the local market currently has a solid base of talents that designs everything from shoe-wear to jewellery, ready-to-wear garments, and couture gowns. However, all attempts to elevate the local industry remain to be individual and short-lived.

Bayt Ward is a specialised platform that aims to change the current status and take the industry to the next level. The fashion-forward project plans to empower emerging designers and get them to take on the international market.

“We are not only a retail shop; we are a platform that aims to harbour and help emerging designers from around the region. We have many services, including whole sale, distribution, and sourcing. At the moment, retail is our main focus. Nonetheless, we are working on the rest of the services as we go,” said Luna Kawash, co-founder of Bayt Ward.

According to the founders, designers need local and international exposure. Accordingly, Bayt Ward gives them a space to showcase their work at high-traffic destinations as well as international exhibitions and specialised festivals.

After a few years in the market, the team celebrated the opening of their first Cairo-based retail store earlier this month. “Now we are targeting Egyptian designers through our first retail store at Cairo Festival City mall. We aim to put them in a proper retail environment, next to well-established international brands,” said Kawash.

Despite their plans to reach out to all talented designers regardless of their nationality, the founders are currently dedicating their attention to Egypt.

“Due to current economic conditions, it is very hard to introduce an international brand to the local market,” Kawash added. “Accordingly, for now we help those interested in the Egyptian market through connecting them to local sources and manufacturers to keep their cost closer to local standards.”

From couture to contemporary ready-to-wear and leather accessories, Bayt Ward currently stocks many brands, including Nuniz, Maison Saedi, Pellame, Plum Plu, Elia, Salma Helmy, and many more. The retail store truly presents a cohesive sample of the country’s top talents for those who seek to wear local garments.

“We pursue brands that we know, as well as those that we come across. We do our research; however, Egypt does not have any formal directories. Accordingly, we use social media to scout for designers. We mainly depend on bloggers and Instagram,” said Kawash.

The store harbours many local talents that present a cohesive group of diverse designers  (Photo Handout)
The store harbours many local talents that present a cohesive group of diverse designers
(Photo Handout)

With that said, after their strong launch this month, a few designers also approached the team. According to Kawash, the team does not have fixed eligibility criteria. Instead, their main mission is to help the biggest number of local talents start a proper retail process in order to identify their weaknesses and develop them.

“We aim to enhance the designers, in terms of finishing and production details, through putting them in direct competition with international brands,” said Kawash.

The platform started two years ago with a branch in Marassi at North Coast. Nonetheless, it was not long before their store on the lagoon got another companion in the shopping mall. However, their biggest challenge was to find and secure a permanent location in a Cairo-based shopping destination.

“Taking a shop requires studying all shopping malls, picking a good location, being put on a long waiting list etc.,” Kawash said.

The store is now located in the heart of Cairo Festival City and right in-between a couple of the world’s top-selling names. Therefore, the partners are only further encouraged to pursue their regional plans and work on expanding in new markets.

“Our short-term plan includes a store in Jordan and another in Dubai. Meanwhile, we currently have a branch in Qatar, where we have been testing the waters with one brand only. So far, the store has been absolutely successful and we are planning to further expand it,” said Kawash.

With that said, the team behind Bayt Ward is fully aware of the challenges local designers are facing. Moreover, they are working on increasing their services in order to further help local talents withstand the current events and updates.

“The economic situation nowadays has tremendously affected local designers. We currently fear that sometimes designers fail to find the needed materials, including zippers, buttons, and fabrics,” said Kawash.

Since the majority of designers prefer to import their materials for the lack of local substitutes or infamous quality-related stereotypes, import regulations and currency instability directly affect the fashion industry.

“We are trying to encourage them to work with local manufacturers and find new sources.” Kawash added. “On the other hand, we also help designers source materials from regional countries, where they do not have to pay import taxes. Furthermore, we secure opportunities for them to showcase their work abroad in order to get foreign currency.”

The team sits in individual meetings with every designer in an attempt to study their problems and strengths before providing solutions. Due to the lack of organised procedures and the industry’s development without any governmental supervision, the team certainly has a lot on its plate.

“Local designers still have a long way to go. They need to register their business, become sustainable, have proper paperwork, be more organised, and work according to seasons in order to further expand,” Kawash added. “The majority of local designers do not have a look book, a price list, or a true understanding of international retail standards.”

According to Kawash, an essential part of Bayt Ward’s mission is to educate emerging designers and help them work on their weaknesses in order to become stand-alone designers that have various selling points around the globe.

“Local consumers truly love local brands. In the past few weeks, our sales have skyrocketed. I have to salute the consumers and designers for their spectacular relationship. It has been such a great experience so far,” Kawash said. “In the coming three years, international department stores will seek to stock local brands. We already have the talent; we only need to work on the details and presentation.”

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‘Tis the season to be jolly http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/12/22/tis-season-jolly-3/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/12/22/tis-season-jolly-3/#respond Thu, 22 Dec 2016 16:00:40 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=606051 Four local brands to check before Christmas Eve

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With Christmas rapidly approaching, a long list of shopping duties begins to take priority. From a sequined party dress to a thoughtful gift, local fashion designers during the past month have worked to impress in preparation for the big occasion.

Rather than pacing between retail stores and franticly browsing online shopping websites, the following labels are the top holiday-spirited brands that should be everyone’s ultimate choice during the current season.

Designer Norine Farah is widely known for her daring silhouettes and smart use of unconventional materials. For the holiday season, Farah took a step away from her famous baroque aesthetic to take a rather shimmering detour.

Norine Farah celebrated the current season with embroidered gowns worthy of a true Christmas gala  (Photo from Facebook)
Norine Farah celebrated the current season with embroidered gowns worthy of a true Christmas gala
(Photo from Facebook)

The designer’s new AW17 collection, allures with dancing fringes and shimmering embroidery. It is safe to say that Farah managed to give her clients a very merry Christmas with her new feminine collection.

On the other hand, legendary jewellery designer Azza Fahmy celebrated the season with a new capsule collection. With white pearls and diamonds, the Christmas selection speaks to women that appreciate timeless elegance. Each piece is an investment that could be turned into a family heirloom.

Furthermore, the selection also mixes gold and silver in order to give a modern vibe to the statement designs.

With that said, gift selection is an even more complicated task than choosing the right dress. Marsuma is the answer for puzzling seasonal gifts. The local brand provides pure wearable art that takes personalisation to the next step.

With a hub full of artists, Marsuma gives its clients the opportunity to speak their mind on their favourite leather wear. From pop culture quotes to colourful paintings, the brand transforms any given leather item into a one-of-a-kind piece of art.

Meanwhile, the world’s top fashion houses have been changing the border lines between ready-to-wear fashion and couture with hand-embroidered initials. This year, Salem Alta Moda added a new item to its top sellers. The personalised cashmere scarf comes with the label’s top-notch fabric quality and special embroidered name initials.

 

 

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‘Urban Rebel’: a story of womanhood and courage http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/12/22/606048/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/12/22/606048/#respond Thu, 22 Dec 2016 11:00:45 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=606048 “After 'Spectrum', she finds herself overwhelmed by the city and the system that tells her what to do with her life,” says designer

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The modern world has managed to create endless methods and inventions to facilitate daily tasks and widen the horizon for creativity. Nonetheless, with every new invention comes a new stereotype that turns the city’s modern life into a double-edged weapon.

Jude Benhalim started a story of womanhood and freedom a few seasons ago. Her eloquent jewellery has introduced a female spirit that represents an entire generation of women, which carries a wild soul. With the use of calligraphy and a rainbow of acrylics, Benhalim has successfully managed to create a symbol of individuality: the Arabic bullet.

The young designer celebrated the launch of her newest chapter at CoLab earlier this week. After her heroin finally found her true identity through Benhalim’s SS16 collection, this time the story unfolds a new volume.

The designer incorporated a small version of her workshop as well as the collection’s mood-board in the launch event (Photo Handout)
The designer incorporated a small version of her workshop as well as the collection’s mood-board in the launch event
(Photo Handout)

“This collection is called ‘Urban Rebel’. It is inspired by the city and urban structures. Basically, it is about breaking away from the limitations of the urban life, the system that often forces you into a role that you do not necessarily see yourself in,” said Benhalim.

According to the designer, urban life tends to make people lose sight of their own individuality and who they truly are. Accordingly, she wanted to reach out to women stuck in societal-forced roles to help them break free and restore their dreams.

“This collection is a stop in the journey of the female spirit. After ‘Spectrum’, she finds herself overwhelmed by the city and the system that tells her what to do with her life. She found herself falling into a role of either being a housewife or a workaholic or any other pre-planned scenario,” the designer said.

Along with Benhalim’s signature calligraphy and empowering lyrics, the new collection has an evident geometrical influence that the designer got from the city’s tunnels, railways, roads, wire fences, and underground pipelines. Meanwhile, the colour pallet varies between purple, pine green, brick red, petrol blue, and rusty gold.

The designer used her apathy towards the city’s soulless layout and vibes to create a diverse collection of rebellious designs. Every piece represents the city’s unseen beauty and hidden details.

“Personally, routine and the urban system make me feel consumed and brainwashed by all the ads in the streets; it is absolutely ugly. Accordingly, I am very excited to see where she goes next; away from the ugly system and instead head where she can get in touch with herself,” said Benhalim.

With that said, this collection witnesses a major shift for the brand. Benhalim has been notoriously acquainted with her lyrical bullets. Since the label’s inception, the designer has kept working on inventing and reinventing her signature design. Nonetheless, “Urban Rebel” is the designer’s very first collection away from her greatest hit.

“I was very worried about leaving the bullets behind. I was scared because I believe that by now people instantly recognise it as my signature. Therefore, this creative step was a bit risky in terms of branding; nonetheless, I tried to maintain part of the brand’s aesthetic,” said Benhalim.

Despite the designer’s desire to prove that she can create another signature over the course of a few collections, she still managed to maintain parts of the bullet in “Urban Rebel”. Furthermore, she has also made acrylic and colourful stones the core of this collection as a continuation of her aesthetic.

“Shaping and moulding the acrylic to this extent has been a bit of a struggle. Local craftsmanship did not make it any easier; it is very difficult to get such a thing done in Egypt. You would look at it and think that it is just curved or cut to a certain shape; nonetheless, the amount of work, brainstorming, and trials that go into every piece is unbelievable,” said Benhalim.

Benhalim did not entirely leave her bullets behind. Instead, the designer incorporated it in her designs  (Photo Handout)
Benhalim did not entirely leave her bullets behind. Instead, the designer incorporated it in her designs
(Photo Handout)

Along with the creative showcase and screening of the collection’s video shoot, the designer introduced a glimpse of her workshop in the heart of CoLab to give her clients a sneak peek from the preparations involved in creating each piece. According to the designer, playing with materials and experimenting with new concepts is the main reason behind her passion for jewellery.

On the other hand, the designer also tackled Azza Fahmy’s influence on the local jewellery industry, as well as her very own new collection.

“I feel like there is always an inspiration coming from Azza Fahmy’s work because she was the first to become famous for using Arabic calligraphy. It does not upset me that people question her influence on my work because I believe that what makes my jewellery authentic is that I take traditional art jewellery and mix it with modern fashion,” said Benhalim.

The collection was debuted at CoLab before being made available for purchase at a few other local destinations.

“I think CoLab fits the theme perfectly. It is a very interesting space; it has an urban vibe and I love the installation at the entrance. However, the black room is my favourite because it plays on the senses and it gives you a glimpse of what is coming. We did not have to change a lot; it was already cool,” said the designer.

“Urban Rebel” is set to be available at Pop-Up Shop as well as Mounaya Gallery in Zamalek and through Benhalim’s website. On the other hand, Benhalim along with her PR agency, Flare, are currently working on introducing it to foreign markets.

 

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Golden 90s: reminiscent collection of fine jewelry http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/12/15/golden-90s-reminiscent-collection-fine-jewelry/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/12/15/golden-90s-reminiscent-collection-fine-jewelry/#respond Thu, 15 Dec 2016 11:00:08 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=604794 This collection is basically about the things that you think you had lost, says designer

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During their childhood, all women had a special box full of elaborate hair accessories that they saved for special occasions. Each box harboured a pink butterfly that was added on a certain birthday, as well as a glittery bobby pin that was set to come out every year on the first day of school.

With time, the majority of boxes were pushed under the bed while others were lost forever. Nonetheless, not a single woman can ever completely forget about that one special container.

The Abdel Raouf sisters, founders of Okhtein, are proof that childhood accessories will always remain every woman’s favourite. After accomplishing a major local milestone by winning the Vogue Fashion Prize, the sisters Mounaz and Aya came back to Egypt to set a generation’s childhood memories wild.

This collection is set to be the beginning of a long-term partnership (Photo Handout)
This collection is set to be the beginning of a long-term partnership
(Photo Handout)

In collaboration with Select for jewelry, Okhtein launched a fine jewelry collection that defies stereotypes.

“This collection is basically about the things that you think you had lost, such as bobby pins. As kids and grownups, we always end up losing them. The main idea was to turn them into valuable, fine jewelry,” said Mounaz.

The collection pays tribute to the 1990s biggest trends, such as chokers and metallic bobby pins. The “Golden 90s” collection intricately mixes gold and diamonds while maintaining a wearable fashion. The pieces are brilliant everyday choices for a wide spectrum of women; meanwhile, they can also be stacked easily.

“As kids, we loved accessorising ourselves with children accessories, like butterflies, bobby pins, and chokers—which are a trend now. We took those items and modernised them. For example, we mixed chokers with our signature lambskin leather,” said Aya.

The sisters applied their fresh twist on jewelry through turning bobby pins into golden earrings and statement pendants. On the other hand, they capitalised on one of the season’s top nostalgic trends: chokers. The collection includes daily chockers made of gold and diamonds, as well as others made with leather.

“When we started this collaboration last October, we wanted to ideally launch the first collection by summer 2016 to go along with our handbag collection, Future Nostalgia. The two collections are inspired by 1990s cartoons and prints,” said Aya.

According to the designers, the two collections complement each other. Therefore, they wanted to launch them in parallel. Nonetheless, since this is the sisters’ debut jewelry collection, it did take them longer than expected.

The statement collection is the result of a collaboration that aims to change jewelry-related stereotypes in Egypt. Mina Abdou Youssef, owner of Select for jewelry, contacted the sisters back in October 2015, in an attempt to shift his brand and start a new era of fine jewelry in Egypt.

“I approached Aya and Mounaz because they are an unquestionable synonym of style. I have always been a fan of Mounaz’ art. Furthermore, after their latest success, they have proven that they are up to global and local trends,” said Youssef.

Despite Select for jewelry’s heritage and valuable craftsmanship, the brand has been cornered in an ordinary style that only attracts a certain clientele.

“Jewelry in Egypt is often not up to fashion trends. Young clients already know that they will only find old designs that would appeal to their mother. Accordingly, we worked on this collaboration in order to reach out to a new clientele,” said Youssef.

The collection depends on precious materials and dainty details  (Photo Handout)
The collection depends on precious materials and dainty details
(Photo Handout)

“Younger generations would invest in accessories, but not in fine jewelry. It is such a shame because fine jewelry can last forever. It is an added value and it is worthy. We wanted to call the collection fine accessories, because it is playful but still jewelry,” said Mounaz.

Youssef believed that the Abdel Raouf sisters would be the right choice in order to reach a young, fresh audience that seeks to stand out from the crowd. “It is safe to say that they are one of the few entities that have managed to prove themselves internationally and people do look up to them everywhere,” said Youssef.

After months of meeting and sketching, the two entities were finally able to reach their great target and change misconceptions. “The girls helped me reach my main objective. They designed the entire collection,” said Youssef.

The founders are also keen on introducing yearly collections that tap into other forms of accessories. From scarves to covers for sunglasses and makeup bags, the brand has already surprised its clientele several times.

“This is proof that Okhtein is not just about handbags—we are an accessory brand. It was absolutely cool to collaborate with a renowned jewelry brand to showcase a new aspect of Okhtein,” said Mounaz.

The sisters also added that they are currently working on a permanent partnership with Select. Accordingly, the sisters will be launching more jewelry collections inspired by modern trends, executed through authentic craftsmanship.

“Craftsmanship is for sure a common factor between the two brands. When Mina first approached us, we instantly recognised the name. It is a very prestigious brand that our family knew. Meanwhile, they are a brand that has craftsmanship in its core, which is key to us,” said Aya

Furthermore, the two entities plan to start a new wave in the arena of fine jewelry. Okhtein and Select are set to give future brides the opportunity to wear bespoke jewelry on their big day.

“Brides are our main focus in this partnership. Modern brides want something that is fun and elegant. She no longer wants to borrow her mother’s jewelry,” said Mounaz.

“Brides can now come and have a meeting with Aya and Mounaz. The sisters will then sketch something specifically made for them, bespoke jewelry,” said Youssef.

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La Mode A Beyrouth: Cairo’s newest fashion marathon http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/12/08/la-mode-beyrouth-cairos-newest-fashion-marathon/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/12/08/la-mode-beyrouth-cairos-newest-fashion-marathon/#respond Thu, 08 Dec 2016 18:00:26 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603497 For five nights, Egypt’s fashion experts and enthusiasts flocked to the Fairmont Towers in Heliopolis to witness fashion history in the making. La Mode A Beyrouth Cairo is a franchise of Lebanon’s official fashion week, which aims to bring international quality to the local market. The event was held on 19-23 November, and it debuted …

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For five nights, Egypt’s fashion experts and enthusiasts flocked to the Fairmont Towers in Heliopolis to witness fashion history in the making. La Mode A Beyrouth Cairo is a franchise of Lebanon’s official fashion week, which aims to bring international quality to the local market.

Photo Handout to DNE
Photo Handout to DNE

The event was held on 19-23 November, and it debuted this year with a long list of well-established designers from Egypt and the region. From Abed Mahfouz to Jamil Khansa, the runway unfolded next season’s top international couture trends.

With that said, the event also included the debut of a true local talent, Ahmed Fayez. Not only did his show predict an elegant season to come, but it also displayed a very promising future ahead for him.

As for the great finale, none other than the designs of Danny Atrache graced the enormous runway to declare a stunning end to a true fashion fiesta.

The event’s main goal was to bring the world’s top quality fashion straight into the heart of Cairo in order to connect the region creatively and artistically. Meanwhile, La Mode A Beyrouth Cairo also aims to become a solid platform that can help future talents reach a wider audience.

Multi Art is the main company behind the extravaganza. Along with the stunning fashion week, the company also owns a creative academy that aims to teach young talents the secrets of fashion design, modeling, and make up.

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Maksters brings Marbella to Cairo http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/12/08/603494/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/12/08/603494/#respond Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:00:02 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=603494 Footwear is a craft that requires an artistic quality. Through the ages, shoes have been developed to accommodate a wide variety of needs and styles. From the pharaonic leather footwear to King Louis XIV’s obsession with high heels, shoes have always been at the forefront of the fashion industry. With that said, Maksters is the …

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Footwear is a craft that requires an artistic quality. Through the ages, shoes have been developed to accommodate a wide variety of needs and styles. From the pharaonic leather footwear to King Louis XIV’s obsession with high heels, shoes have always been at the forefront of the fashion industry.

With that said, Maksters is the brainchild of two artistic minds who wanted to change the game by bringing art to everyone’s feet. The Makki brothers started their journey towards linking the world through art, quality, and craftsmanship a few years ago.

Today, the duo can confidently confirm that their shoes attract diverse clients from around the world. Their handmade masterpieces are inspired by the world’s most captivating treasures and cultures. Each of their designs is created independently to stand out.

Daily News Egypt met Khaled Makki, one half of the dynamic duo, upon their launch party in Egypt to learn more about the brand, their new collection, and near-future plans.

What encouraged you to launch this collection in Egypt?

The people. The people have spoken. We have had a lot of interest over the past two or three years, especially during the past 12 months. Many people from Cairo have reached out to us asking about our outlets.

Seeing as we are launching our third global collection, we thought now would be a good opportunity to introduce our brand and test the market. Cairo has a good client base. We thought of inviting all of our friends to show them the new collection. We also wanted to meet new people and introduce them to the brand.

Photo Handout to DNE
Photo Handout to DNE

How would you evaluate the feedback so far?

It has been good so far. The feedback from people who have seen and tried our shoes has been very positive which is why we wanted to come to Egypt. We are confident we have a good product. We just want to share it with more people.

What was your main inspiration behind this collection?

This collection is very eclectic and different. Each pair is fun, different, and unique; I design them to stand out. For me, inspiration comes from different places. Nonetheless, this year I was inspired by a trip to Spain.

Spain, especially the southern parts including Marbella and Ibiza, are some of my favourite places. I was highly inspired by the mood and the vibes. Most of the colours and the geometry used in this collection come from that part of Spain.

If you would take an Egyptian symbol or concept on which you would base a collection, which would you choose?

It would probably be the hamsa hand. We have incorporated it before and it is already a very popular model. It relates to different people from various cultures. It often means something to a lot of people around the globe. So when we used it on cool fabrics with attractive colours, it worked quite well for us.

Tell us more about your materials and manufacturing process.

Everything is handmade. Our fabrics are made around Spain, Paris, and Italy; nonetheless, the overall manufacturing process takes place in the north of England. We have a small workshop, where a group of people put them together by hand.

Everything is completely made by hand; we do not have any machinery. I wanted to make something of very good quality, which would also be very well made and quite honest as well. For us, the manufacturing process in itself is very important to the brand.

Each collection takes an average of 12 months from design inception to when it is finally in the stores. We bring one collection every year. We want to create unique items, and not produce things just for the sake of it. It takes a lot of time to create each pair of shoes.

Where are you stocked in Egypt?

We have stocked some of our products at a store called 29-31 in Maadi. It is a very cool concept store that has a conceptual design which highly compliments our shoes.

Where would you like to see your shoes in Egypt?

I would love to see Mona Zaki and Donia Samir Ghanim wearing our shoes. They both symbolise different personalities; however, they are unique individuals that represent Maksters’ identity.

What is next on your agenda?

We are working on expanding our horizons beyond just shoes. We are considering adding accessories as well as a very select prêt-a-porter line of jackets and the likes. We are very excited, but we plan to do it through limited capsule collections.

 

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Fashion between economic reforms and purchasing awareness http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/12/01/fashion-economic-reforms-purchasing-awareness/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/12/01/fashion-economic-reforms-purchasing-awareness/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 19:00:02 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=602158 A few years ago, Egypt opened its arms to international brands. In a short timeframe, local malls were filled with top-notch brands and updated collections. While 2015 witnessed multiple opening ceremonies of the world’s most coveted names, 2016 went in the opposite direction. After some complicated regulations and negative economic decisions, a few brands have …

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A few years ago, Egypt opened its arms to international brands. In a short timeframe, local malls were filled with top-notch brands and updated collections.

While 2015 witnessed multiple opening ceremonies of the world’s most coveted names, 2016 went in the opposite direction. After some complicated regulations and negative economic decisions, a few brands have allegedly cancelled their plans to expand in Egypt while others announced the end of their investments in the local market.

As for local customers, the events did not only affect their spending here, but also influenced their shopping experience abroad. Even though the number of Egyptian designers, stylists, and bloggers is evidently increasing, the industry is no longer taking progressive steps.

Daily News Egypt met Izzat Traboulsi, the regional managing director of Hugo Boss. The international brand took a courageous step a few weeks ago when it opened a new branch in Egypt after a brief break.

Traboulsi talked about international brands, local purchasing behaviour, and the future of fashion investment in Egypt.

The local market understands and appreciates luxury goods (Photo Handout)
The local market understands and appreciates luxury goods
(Photo Handout)

Considering the current economic changes, what encouraged you to reopen Hugo Boss in Egypt?

Cairo is a big market and it has a lot of potential. Since we used to distribute the brand, we had an eye on its turnover and yield. It was quite satisfactory to do the move. Sales were not so high, but we saw some potential for growth by controlling the brand.

We wanted to shoot two birds with one stone: enhancing the brand image and increasing sales.

When I signed to join the Egyptian market, the situation was still good. It only deteriorated a year ago when we were already in the implementation phase. Nevertheless, we have no regrets as we still managed to have a very positive outcome. Within only three months of operations, the brand managed to position itself in the local market.

We are quite satisfied with the current sales and that is a strong indication. Our aim is to be the leader in the men’s fashion segment in the long-run, and to look past the present market situation as it is quite difficult. We knew that by taking this challenge, we would enhance our business and grow it.

To which extent did the current economic changes affect your international brands?

So far, we are still doing well as the end-consumers accepted the new pricing. They have digested the new prices and that helps.

Today, our prices are slightly cheaper than abroad due to the high exchange rate. What helps as well is that all credit banking [card payments] have certain limits, which decreases clients’ spending abroad.

However, if the currency further devaluates, it is going to be a very difficult environment. What affects us is that the currency is volatile; accordingly, prices keep changing on a daily basis. Pricing is becoming an impossible task.

Lately, many registration regulations have been created. To which extent did they affect your collection’s size and timing?

This is a crucial point. We are obliged to downsize the collection as it is taking much more time to clear the goods. The time period to sell seasonal collections at full price shrank significantly. Therefore, the only available solution at the moment is to have earlier deliveries and lower the budgets.

How would you evaluate the current local purchasing behaviour?

Boss is a brand that offers upper premium products, as well as some luxury ones. Nowadays, local customers are highly aware of international brands, luxury products, and global standards.

Accordingly, people that are used to buying expensive luxury brands are still buying from us. Quality and luxury are our main quality and the end-consumer knows that about us.

Despite the recent economic events, Egypt still has a welcoming environment to international brands (Photo Handout)
Despite the recent economic events, Egypt still has a welcoming
environment to international brands
(Photo Handout)

Between media, celebrities, influencers, and VIP clients’ word of mouth, which is a more important factor when promoting an international brand? Why?

I personally prefer the impact of VIP clients since they are our loyal clients that have a sincere effect on others.

Since we know that we have uplifted the brand experience in Egypt, we are confident about their word of mouth. We have changed the name of the game in Egypt and we currently offer the best experience in terms of shop concept, service, fashion consultancy, and product offering.

Our target was to build a store that meets international standards. We wanted to give the end-consumers the same experience they would get in London, Paris, and New York. Our offering is very similar to Europe now and the clients are already aware of the difference.

Would you consider the local market currently encouraging for international brands?

Yes and no. Yes, because you can get the best deals now in terms of rent. No, because the currency is too volatile and the environment is very indecisive.

It is very difficult to work in an uncertain environment. The market is good, but today the situation is not clear enough and that is dangerous. The recent political decisions against international brands are not helping.

What do international brands need at the moment?

They need some support from the government in terms of new import regulations, as well as the availability of foreign currency.

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Cairo Couture Collections lights up the Nile in spectacular fashion http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/12/01/602156/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/12/01/602156/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2016 16:00:21 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=602156 With the winter season slowly but surely unfolding, Cairo Couture Collections (CCC) decided to pay one last tribute to the fair autumn weather with a night on the Nile. The annual event came back for a fourth season with a strong concept. For one night only, Egypt’s newest couture collections floated over the Nile as …

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With the winter season slowly but surely unfolding, Cairo Couture Collections (CCC) decided to pay one last tribute to the fair autumn weather with a night on the Nile. The annual event came back for a fourth season with a strong concept.

For one night only, Egypt’s newest couture collections floated over the Nile as the capital’s top movers and shakers enjoyed the show. Last week, Fashion Zone invited a number of the country’s top media and fashion experts to meet next season’s trendsetters on board of the Nile Spirit Dahabya.

After taking water taxis to reach the event’s venue, guests watched the sun fade while a few designers lit up the upper deck with mesmerising sequins. The show featured many talents; including Mahmoud Antar, Asmaa Shafi, Nesreen Ghazi, and Raghda Hilal.

Asmaa Abdelshafei's models walked among the clouds with fluffy tulle dresses (Photo courtesy of MH Studio)
Asmaa Abdelshafei’s models walked among the clouds with fluffy tulle dresses
(Photo courtesy of MH Studio)

Antar Mode by Mahmoud Antar started the night with an old-school couture collection. His nostalgic designs featured elaborate embroidery, enchanting silk fabrics and smart lace details. His colour pallet ranged from black to electric blue all the way to burgundy. Meanwhile, he also showcased a couple of bridal looks that were worthy of their own fairytale stories.

Asmaa Shafi on the other hand did not settle for less than absolute drama. Her voluminous silhouettes and fluffy fabrics filled the runway with candy floss dreams. Shafi’s models walked among the clouds with tulle trims and skirts. Her main showstopper was a leather and tulle dress that spoke to women who aim to express their edgy persona with leather and childhood dreams with tulle. The finale dress was none other than a princess white dress with gold embellishments.

Meanwhile, Nesreen Ghazi preferred a darker colour pallet and daring concepts. Her collection took an opposite direction as she focused on the sharp aspect of the upcoming season. Her designs featured hints of fur and sequin mixed with silk.

Furthermore, Douxdo Couture by Raghda Hilal was all about colours, patterns, and velvet sweetness. Hilal’s collection included many two-piece outfits that aim to bring colour into the winter gloominess. From peplum tops to sari outfits, the FW17 collection added a colourful touch to the night. While one of the outfits looked perfect for princess Snow White another was charming enough for Jasmine.

The night was choreographed by Egypt’s favourite model, Sarah Bombosh. The well-established model has walked many local and regional runways during the past few years. Meanwhile, she has taken part in many iconic campaigns and so it was only natural to see her taking her next steps through CCC4.

Moreover, the glamorous models were dolled up by none other than hair dresser Rabie Murad and makeup guru Naglaa Baghdady.

With that said the night also included a reception, when the organising team held a brief reward ceremony handing out symbolic awards to fashion designers and media representatives for their role in supporting local fashion.

On the other hand, the night’s most memorable award went to the late fashion designer Amr Fouad, who passed away a few months ago leaving many fans and friends heartbroken.

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CFN6 takes room service to the next level http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/11/24/cfn6-takes-room-service-next-level/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/11/24/cfn6-takes-room-service-next-level/#respond Thu, 24 Nov 2016 13:00:42 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=600873 Imagine opening a hotel door to find room service standing at the entrance carrying the latest designer fashion. Many hotels around the globe pursue the definition of pure luxury; nonetheless, very few have come close to the type of splendour that was on display at Cairo Fashion Night (CFN). For one day only, the third …

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Imagine opening a hotel door to find room service standing at the entrance carrying the latest designer fashion. Many hotels around the globe pursue the definition of pure luxury; nonetheless, very few have come close to the type of splendour that was on display at Cairo Fashion Night (CFN).

For one day only, the third floor at the Cairo Marriott Hotel was transformed into a fashion destination. With the country’s top fashion experts and aficionados walking down the hallway and the capital’s fashion-driven minds showcasing their masterpieces in the rooms, Pashion Magazine managed to host yet another successful edition.

Photo Handout to DNE
Photo Handout to DNE

The seasonal event specialises in giving local designers the chance to meet a top-notch crowd. It also awards the local market an opportunity to find true fashion gems made by local creatives.

A long list of Egypt’s home-grown designers was invited to celebrate the new season with a new round from CFN. The 6th season, honoured as the room service edition, was inspired by Alta Roma fashion week. The special edition was also hosted by a well-known name in the regional fashion industry: Nour Abu El-Ela.

This season, each designer was given a room to turn it into a creative pop-up shop. Monalissa, Cherif El-Sirgany Joailliers, Reem Jano, Koukla, Dima Jewellery, Jude Ben Halim, and Cairo Jewelry dazzled the crowd with a wide range of jewellery and accessories. From El-Sirgany’s diamonds to Dima’s precious stones and Monalissa’s statement accessories, the shopping event was a true threat to the crowd’s wallets.

On top of that, Reem Jano displayed an Arabesque collection infused with precious stones while Jude Ben Halim managed to mix jewellery, women’s empowerment, and art.

Cult, the country’s newest fashion phenomena, attracted a large segment of the crowd with its controversial aesthetic. Despite the brand’s novelty, it has already managed to create a strong rapport with local fashion experts.

The brand showcased its collection of metallic boots, transparent high-heels, and graffiti bags while giving a few influencers the chance to join Cult’s ongoing social media campaign.

On the other hand, Jazzy and Saya refused to let go of the summer as they showcased a tempting collection of sunglasses and swimwear. Furthermore, Amr Saad introduced a fresh take on shades with his metal geometrical designs.

Marsuma created a true fiesta with their customised services. The local label is a true artistic hub as they use leather goods as canvases for their bespoke paintings. Their new collection includes leather jackets decorated with flowers, hearts, and pop culture quotes. They also entertained the crowd by turning second-hand garments into colourful statements.

Yet, casual fashion was the true star of the night, with quote t-shirts courtesy of Temple Tramp, embroidered denim from Maha Alsagheer, and oriental designs by Art Emmy. As for Danoush by Dina and Nourhan Hamdy, the label focused on well-tailored capes, coats, and jackets along with a few feminine skirts.

Additionally, Avalanche set the event on fire with daring cuts and silhouettes. Their display included everything from leather to fringes and velvet. The label’s new collection is a clear statement addressed towards women who aim to standout among the crowd.

After few significant appearances during the previous weekend, Norine Farah maintained her stamina with a memorable display. The couture designer showcased her latest collection for the first time with the help of models and a few famous friends.

The event’s true underrated gem is avant-garde designer Jayda Hany. The unconventional shoe-designer showcased a collection of footwear that mixes genuine leather with 3D printed materials and absolute comfort.

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CFF7: a regional season with creative statement http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/11/24/cff7-regional-season-creative-statement/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/11/24/cff7-regional-season-creative-statement/#respond Thu, 24 Nov 2016 11:00:12 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=600871 The night included special guests and an innovative design challenge

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Once again, the Cairo Fashion Festival (CFF) has set the capital ablaze with pure fashion talent, regional guests, and Broadway vibes. The seasonal fashion fiesta celebrated the new round this weekend at its permanent location: Cairo Festival City Mall.

Not only does the weekend set the stage for a very fashionable season, it was also by far the event’s biggest round. From VIP guests to a star-studded audience and top-notch sponsors, CFF7 has set a new standard for local fashion.

It is safe to say that the hosts also added a touch of magic to the night. Actor Samar Morsi, and personal beauty expert Hossam El-Maraghy, walked the audience through the event’s various segments while sporting dazzling outfits courtesy of CFF.

As usual, the event’s program was divided between runway shows and fashion presentations. The Broadway-themed runway saw the latest work of some international brands, two local designers, and grand regional finale.

While brands such as Timberland and Marks and Spencer named the upcoming Fashion Week (FW) season “casual with laidback layering”, local talents declared FW17 “the ultimate season for simplicity”.

Designer Sara El-Razaz brought old-school elegance to the stage with her gold details and elaborate patterns. The designer’s couture collection depended on luxurious fabrics and classic silhouettes to create timeless gowns. The collection’s main star was a cleverly-cut grey dress that was embroidered to flatter any woman.

Photo Handout to DNE
Photo Handout to DNE

On the other hand, Marmar Halim brought her new collection right from Los Angeles to the heart of Cairo. The FW17 radiates simplicity and timeless style. With a basic colour pallet and soft fabrics, the collection stands for empowered femininity as Halim managed to mix soft silhouettes with edgy cuts.

As for the runway finale, regionally-acclaimed creator Said Mahrouf graced Egypt with his designs for the very first time. The Moroccan-born designer is an established fashion guru on the regional and international stage.

After launching his new collection at Dubai Fashion Forward last month, Mahrouf took his geometric masterpieces to meet the local audience at CFF7. The collection varied between flowing gowns and smart overalls. While the colours made for a very classic statement, the designs represented truly innovative fashion.

Despite the season’s flair for boxy structures and thick materials, Mahrouf favoured a carefree aesthetic that brilliantly reaches out to a wide range of women, especially those who aim to stand out among the crowd for their elegance and simplicity.

While part of the crowd enjoyed the eloquent details of couture on the runway, another segment was attracted to the practicality of the ready-to-wear garments at the fashion presentations. This season, four local designers and one international brand were chosen to take part in the presentation.

Sherwal started the festivities with a casual collection that made the audience think of nature. From the earthy tones to the green accessories, Sherwal made the crowd daydream about a vacation in Sinai. The collection featured hand-embroidered details and an attractive rainbow of patterns along with loose silhouettes and harem pants.

Meanwhile, May El-Gamel showcased her collection of elaborate gowns to shift the mood. Her satin dresses and polished details created a smooth representation of the event’s share of late-night fashion.

Nezaf Abyad followed with an equally stunning collection.  The casual-wear label dazzled the crowd with an edgy collection. The designer’s showstopper was a smart black cape embroidered with gold details. Furthermore, Abyad’s work earned him a fashion grant from CFF’s educational partner, the London College of Fashion.

Meanwhile, Aitch by Habeiba Soliman introduced the label’s very first FW collection on the presentation stage. Soliman introduced pure fashion drama, powered by the season’s ultimate must-have: velvet. While the collection’s main aesthetic was a straightforward statement, each piece represented a particular retro trend.

Femi9 concluded the presentation with a timeless collection of cocktail dresses and classic outfits. The international brand is well-known for its retro vibe and feminine designs. Furthermore, the event’s regional guests, Alice and Fafi Abdelaziz, chose to wear a teal velvet dress and a camel cape from the new collection.

The event also included two major highlights courtesy of Huawei and DHL. While Huawei continued to elaborately link fashion to smart gadgets, DHL organised what could be categorised as the season’s most creative competition.

On the runway, adored actress Amina Khalil dazzled the audience with a bespoke blue suit, inspired by Huawei’s new smart phone.  The satin ensemble was designed by Norine Farah to represent the new phone’s design and rich details. The designer’s inspiration was clearly expressed through sequined wings on the blazer’s back.

On the other side, DHL supplied nine well-established local designers with tricky materials and challenged them to turn it into couture designs. The challenge included Ahmed Hamdy, Zak couture, Maison Saedi, Mariem Adel, Esmeralda Radwan, Vivian Moawad, Sara Onsi and Nourine Farah.

Despite the challenge’s difficulty, the designers managed to stay true to their style and design signatures while using the brand’s colours and unconventional materials. While Hamdy showcased a yellow suit, Moawad maintained her draped style and Onsi managed to accessorise her model with both a clutch and aeroplane-shaped earrings.

Ultimately, Farah went home with the prize for her exceptional plastic creation. The designer used one of the brand’s most difficult materials to design a modern gown. With red details and a branded chocker, Farah easily attracted a lot of attention for her ability to link commercial brands with fashion.

The founder commented on the event describing it as another successful night to be added to the platform’s portfolio as the biggest event yet.

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Sami Amin pays tribute to Alexandria http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/11/17/sami-amin-pays-tribute-alexandria/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/11/17/sami-amin-pays-tribute-alexandria/#respond Thu, 17 Nov 2016 16:00:28 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=597637 Stepping into Sami Amin’s showroom is always the beginning of a spectacular journey, where the country’s mesmerising history and breathtaking landscape turn into wearable tokens of nationalism. The well-established designer has already covered many loyal fans with Pharaonic, Greek, and Roman motifs that were imprinted with love on statement brass and authentic leather. Amin celebrated …

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Stepping into Sami Amin’s showroom is always the beginning of a spectacular journey, where the country’s mesmerising history and breathtaking landscape turn into wearable tokens of nationalism.

The well-established designer has already covered many loyal fans with Pharaonic, Greek, and Roman motifs that were imprinted with love on statement brass and authentic leather.

Amin celebrated the launch of his 2017 collection earlier this week with an exclusive media gathering at his Maadi store. The new collection is inspired by yet another local icon: the ever so charming Alexandria.

Photo Handout to DNE
Photo Handout to DNE

“I personally really admire Alexandria. The city is rich with heritage, nature, and culture. I really wanted to create a collection based on the natural beauty of the undersea world as well as Alexandria’s Roman history,” said Amin.

Being one of the country’s front-men in the arena of design, Amin is a great expert in artistic local monuments and myths. “This collection is mainly inspired by the Catacombs of Kom El-Shoqafa, which is one of my personal favourites. It has a lot of unique motifs that merge the old Egyptian and Greek heritage; it feels like visiting a different world,” said Amin.

As with every collection, “Alexandria” includes a wide range of accessories. Despite the evident diversity between each and every item, the collection embraces an authentic aesthetic that links the different eras of Egypt’s history.

“A lot of the motifs revolve around snakes, which used to be a symbol for the great Alexander. The snake has always been a solid part of jewellery design in the modern local heritage. It has an obvious Roman origin but has a great horizon for creative designs,” said the designer.

The designer only releases one collection per year as his designs and presentation are always well-detailed and intricately handmade. This year, Amin continued his tradition of celebrating every new collection with an artistic display at his Maadi branch.

The elaborate installation features dangling plastic waves that clutch items from the new collection.

“The main concept behind the collection’s display is the meeting point between the sea wave and fishing net. Basically, I wanted to carve a wave in the infinite space. The end result aims to look like a flaying wave with the new collection intertwined into it,” said Amin.

 

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Karen Nan transforms bling into dresses http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/11/17/karen-nan-transforms-bling-dresses/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/11/17/karen-nan-transforms-bling-dresses/#respond Thu, 17 Nov 2016 12:00:52 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=597633 The designer creates her masterpieces with hand-embellished crystals, gold threads, detailed embroidery, and handmade fabrics

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Everyone knows a little girl who spent her childhood creating bespoke dresses for her dolls. But everyone knows how that story usually goes: the girl ended up drifting into a different career that was more socially acceptable.

Karen Nan is the girl that did not give in and decided to take her little dresses to the grownup world.

The talented fashion designer just launched the beginning of what promises to be a successful career in fashion design. Her first collection, Desirable, is an elaborate metaphor for everything glamorous. From crystals to pure silk and gold threads, Nan does not seem to settle for anything less than fabulous.

Despite her young age, she already chose to build on classic cuts and golden-age embroidery. Her handmade embellishments and rich fabrics promise women a top-notch experience.

Daily News Egypt met Karen to talk luxury, fashion, and career plans.

What made you pursue fashion as a career?

My obsession for design began at the early age of 10, when I started drawing fashion sketches. It was not long before my hobby lead into sewing, too.

I actually ended up studying linguistics and literature until I decided to pursue my initial passion. When I graduated, I knew that I had to take my dream and talent to the next level through starting my career as a fashion designer.

Photo Handout to DNE
Photo Handout to DNE

What is the main inspiration behind your collection?

My Spring/Summer 2016 couture collection is called “Désirable”. In this collection I wanted to highlight my signature style, which is the luxury and handmade preciseness.

The dresses’ details range between hand-embellished crystals, gold threads, detailed embroidery, and handmade fabrics that took almost 1,000 hours to be manufactured.

I also wanted to mix attractive femininity with modern luxury and glamour.

I tried to reach my main objective through collaborating with Asfour crystals for shimmering embroidery and Iram Jewelry for stunning bling. Meanwhile, we also featured a Jaguar sports car in the photoshoot to elaborate on the concept.

Which dress is your favourite and why?

The blue dress embellished with silver crystals. That dress includes 2,000 Asfour Silver Crystal. It was one of the main challenges I had to overcome to create this collection. I am just proud of how I managed to sew so many real Asfour crystals onto one dress and still make it look luxurious and simple at the same time. This is basically my masterpiece.

What made you take part in the photoshoot?

I just felt that no one could wear and represent the aesthetic of that particular burgundy pure silk dress better than me.

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?

Timing, models selection, fittings, and photoshoot logistics were hectic. I believe for a first timer, I managed to overcome all these obstacles by focusing on my main target and pursuing my lifetime dream.

What is next on your agenda?

My new Fall/Winter 2017 collection will be released in two months.

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Fair Trade Egypt launches winter collection http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/11/06/590615/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/11/06/590615/#respond Sun, 06 Nov 2016 12:00:13 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=590615 The “Earth Tones” collection mainly features home accessories created by 700 artisans from eight governorates

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A handmade wooden tray curved with long, dark-rooted lines, placed over a cotton blanket embroidered in dark lines of black, mauve, and olive green beads, with people passionately asking for their price and the governorate they were made in. That was only a side of Fair Trade Egypt’s launch of its winter collection. The collection was released last week with hundreds of loyal fans attending the opening which took place at Fair Trade Egypt’s shop in Maadi.

The collection consists of 40 different products, all themed in “Earth Tones”. The theme was applied by way of colours reminiscent of plant roots and the products were carved with long, twisted, curved lines.

Photo Handout to DNE
Photo Handout to DNE

Attendees were fond of three artisans who sat in a corner making their handmade accessories upon people’s requests.

The products, which were mainly home accessories, were unique in their designs and colours, and were made out of five main colours: mauve, green, and grey with white and black to add different shades.

“These products come from eight different governorates and were made by over 700 artisans,” said Dina Mahmoud, one of the designers. “We unified the theme and colours in order to create different, interesting products that match.”

Unlike the summer collection, which was also titled “Earth Tones”, the spectacular products ranged from bed sheets, blankets, embroidered pillow covers, and medals, to personal objects like jackets, scarves, rings, necklaces, key chains, and leather purses.

Although both collections hold the same name, the summer collection mainly featured personal accessories of gold, representing the sea and the sun, unlike the winter colours of grey shades.

Fair Trade Egypt is a non-profit organisation aiming to empower local communities. The organisation does that through supporting the artisans and marketing their handicrafts. It supports more than 2,300 artisans from all around Egypt, providing them with the needed training and technical assistance in order to compete in the international market.

 

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Menna Khalil captures the enchanting Amazigh culture http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/11/06/menna-khalil-captures-enchanting-amazigh-culture/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/11/06/menna-khalil-captures-enchanting-amazigh-culture/#respond Sun, 06 Nov 2016 10:00:13 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=590655 Born with a free soul within the boundaries of tradition and norms, she has a strong bond with nature and a strong urge to let her dreams run wild. Malika is a girl that all women carry inside their souls. She has a driving stamina to explore, travel, and change realities. Jewellery designer Menna Khalil …

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Born with a free soul within the boundaries of tradition and norms, she has a strong bond with nature and a strong urge to let her dreams run wild. Malika is a girl that all women carry inside their souls. She has a driving stamina to explore, travel, and change realities.

Jewellery designer Menna Khalil fell in love with Bahaa Taher’s literate masterpiece, Sunset Oasis, a few months ago. In a matter of a few sleepless nights, Khalil’s interpretation of the novel’s core came out in the form of earrings and rings.

From vibrant red to captivating blue, Khalil made sure to deliver a major statement through her authentic and rustic collection. The local designer did not only narrate the lifestyle of Siwa’s bedouins, but she also made sure to include the culture of the Amazigh she met in Morocco.

Daily News Egypt sat down with Khalil to talk about Siwan nature, Taher’s Sunset Oasis, and the Amazigh culture.

Photo Handout to DNE
Photo Handout to DNE

What was the main inspiration behind this collection?

As always, it all started with a book: Sunset Oasis by Bahaa Taher. The main character, Malika, as well as Siwa itself inspired me to create a collection based on the Amazigh. People mistakenly think that they only live in the Moroccan and Algerian deserts; however, they live in nine countries, including Egypt.

Tribal fashion has been the focus of many regional and international designers during the past few seasons. What are the aspects that you wanted to further highlight or correct?

What I wanted to highlight through this collection is the link I created between the novel, Siwa, and the Amazigh. I wanted to focus on our relationship with the desert and the influence of tribal life on its residence.

I tried to turn Malika into reality through the photoshoot and the quotes I chose from the book.

What are the common factors between Malika and your clientele?

Malika is a kid who was too wild to settle for the life she had. I imagine that the ladies who would want to wear this collection are just as wild. Accordingly, the majority of the stones I used for this collection are raw. Meanwhile, I added a lot of wire work.

On the other hand, the collection is built around vintage, ethnic charms. I have been collecting vintage silver from many Arab countries for a couple of years now and I made sure to incorporate them in the majority of this collection. You cannot buy a brand new Amazigh item, which is why I made sure to add a rustic and vintage feel to all the pieces.

The girl who would wear this collection is someone that is proud about her origins and ancestors. She is a nomad girl, who wants to tell the world that she came from the desert. The collection’s colour scheme is inviting; it is inspired by the surrounding colours in Siwa, namely the palm trees, the sand, and the water.

What stones did you depend on?

Turquoise is the key stone in this collection, especially the greenish type because it reminds me of nature’s genuine beauty. I also used the transparent yellow Citrine and rare African beads to resemble the tribe’s existence in Nigeria and Burkina Faso.

On the other hand, I have bought a lot of sea shells from Siwa in order to keep this collection as authentic as possible. Meanwhile, there is a lot of red Morgan.

Photo Handout to DNE
Photo Handout to DNE

What is next on your agenda?

People currently categorise me as the cultured jewellery designer, who depends on literature and art as main sources of inspiration. Literature and art are part of my personal journey, but it also includes countries that I have visited, love stories, political beliefs, etc.

Most likely, my coming collection will be based on feminist ideologies, which is very close to me. Mona El-Tahawy and Nawal El-Saadawy are two of my closest friends. I am an aggressive feminist and it is about time to express this through my work.

I have reached a certain level of artistic maturity that can allow me to tap into this topic. I am ready to support a crucial cause through jewellery. I want to openly discuss society, taboos, circumcision, and virginity.

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Amina K celebrates 2017 winter season with upcycled grunge http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/10/27/amina-k-celebrates-2017-winter-season-upcycled-grunge/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/10/27/amina-k-celebrates-2017-winter-season-upcycled-grunge/#respond Thu, 27 Oct 2016 17:00:32 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=575151 “We mainly aimed to use the fabrics that we already had in the stock room; we did not want to be wasteful,” says designer

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Braided fabrics and slit arm tops are fashion statements that have slowly but surely become the infamous signature of Egypt’s most established ready-to-wear designer: Amina Khalil. Amina K is a home-grown brand that started pushing local boundaries before Egyptian fashion became a hot topic.

“Alteration” is the designer’s latest brainchild that was created out of none other than waste fabric. Khalil has been advocating conscious fashion for the past few months. Nonetheless, she’s gone a mile further with her new winter collection, when she depended entirely on upcycled materials.

The designer wanted to address cool women, who want to approach their daily routine with fashion statement Photo from Facebook)
The designer wanted to address cool women, who want to approach their daily routine with fashion statement
(Photo from Facebook)

“This collection was originally inspired by the fabrics that we wanted to use. We mainly aimed to depend on the fabrics that we already had in the stock room; we did not want to be wasteful. We decided to go in and see what we had and create a collection out of it,” said Khalil.

Despite the collection’s unconventional theme, the designer still wanted to remain true to her aesthetic as well as the season’s general feel. From the bold colour scheme to smart cut-outs, the collection addresses a casual woman that is keen on modern statements.

“We also knew that the mood that we wanted for winter was mainly grungy and edgy. Accordingly, we used a lot of chains, zippers, and metal.” Designer added “Piece by piece it started to look like a cohesive collection.”

Upcycled fashion is a major trend that began in parallel with the increasing interest in what lies behind fancy brands and polished garments. In the past couple of years, only a few fashion journalists and humanitarians have managed to dive into the world that remains hidden behind fashion labels.

Sweat shops, underage labour, and environment-damaging materials are on top of the list when it comes to fast fashion’s damaging effects on the world.

While many investigations and documentaries have reached out to the masses around the globe, Egypt started taking positive steps earlier this year with home-grown brands such as Amina K, Upfuse, and Deana Shaaban, as they revealed their manufacturing processes and advocated for ethical fashion.

“I believe that the local industry and market is now becoming more conscious and aware of upcycling, recycling, and not being too wasteful. We currently have a lot of local brands that are based on the idea of using upcycled materials solely, such as Upfuse,” said Khalil.

Local fashion experts do not only understand the value of ethical fashion, but also advocate for it. The fashion market itself is still getting used to the newly revealed information about employing ethics in design.

“We still have to tell the clients and make them aware that this is an international movement. A lot of people do not know that fashion is the second biggest polluter in the world; therefore, when you tell them, they realise the importance of such a movement. It is new, but it is up and coming in Egypt,” said Khalil.

The braided jacket is a definite winter musthave that expresses casual grunge (Photo from Facebook)
The braided jacket is a definite winter musthave that expresses casual grunge
(Photo from Facebook)

The challenging collection is additional proof of the designer’s ability to work with all materials. Meanwhile, it showcases a major evolution in the brand’s aesthetic. A few of the key items, such as the braided bomber jacket and pattern-fuelled leather vests, could be easily categorised as winter must haves.

According to the designer, this collection targets cool women who want to tackle their daily routine with fashionable grunge. “It terms of foreign markets, I would like to see it in cool places such as Paris, Berlin, and London. I just feel like it would work in a lot of European cities. As for clients, I would like to see it on different types of women: the working woman, the busy mom or the stylish socialite,” said Khalil.

Amina K does not have the slightest intention to slow down after what already promises to be one of the season’s top collections. Khalil is already gearing up for the coming season with yet another one of her visually intriguing masterpieces.

“Next, we will start moving towards summer 2017. For our summer collections, we usually like to focus on prints and light fabrics. We are currently working on the patterns because we print our own fabrics. We have already started receiving the samples,” said Khalil.

 

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The Path to Happiness: a workshop to find inner peace http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/10/26/573725/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/10/26/573725/#respond Wed, 26 Oct 2016 11:00:52 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=573725 Last weekend, dozens of people seeking to revive the lost connection with their souls and to overcome the crowdedness of the city that oppresses their inner peace, gathered for a two-day workshop titled “The Path to Happiness” held at Mövenpick Ain El-Sokhna. The event is organised by Sandra Shama Kaur, an Egyptian lifestyle consultant, in …

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Last weekend, dozens of people seeking to revive the lost connection with their souls and to overcome the crowdedness of the city that oppresses their inner peace, gathered for a two-day workshop titled “The Path to Happiness” held at Mövenpick Ain El-Sokhna.

The event is organised by Sandra Shama Kaur, an Egyptian lifestyle consultant, in cooperation with PR company Blue Ocean. The goal of the workshop is to help attendees “re-discover” their souls—a connection that has been lost amid their fast-paced lifestyles—through four main workshops: “From Stress to Success”, “The Art of Communication”, “You Are What You Eat”, and “Master Your Mind”.

Photo by Mahmoud Nasr
Photo by Mahmoud Nasr

Sandra chose the name Shama Kaur, which is a name of Indian origin meaning the one who shines the light of his/her inner soul. Her broad understanding of the human experience is an outcome of the collective and diverse knowledge she gained through her personal journey.

She graduated in Business Strategy and Commerce from McGill University, Montreal, and also holds a master’s degree from King’s College London. However, it wasn’t her scientific studies that helped her find inner peace—it was yoga. This is why at the event Sandra focuses on yoga as a main key for self-balance.

The activities in Sandra’s workshop encompass four pillars of happiness.

The first workshop teaches how to let go of things outside our control that negatively affect our spirits. Sandra believes that stress is one of the most negative impacts on a person’s creativity, and it prevents a peaceful state of mind. Throughout the session, Sandra discussed the symptoms of stress, how to control it, and the methods of overcoming it.

The second workshop taught people useful tools for communicating with their partners for a healthy relationship. The principle of this second session is: “The key to good communication is the realisation that every human being is unique and of value.”

On the third session, Sandra said: “Because food is who you are, making better choices will make a better you.” Attendees learned how food can control their mood and the methods of “delighting the mood” solely through their food choices.

In the fourth workshop, attendees were taught mindfulness and how to prevent negative thoughts from taking control.

The event also included wellness activities, such as a healing session, as well as a special session on food and its impact on our mood, creativity, and overall wellness and happiness.

Sandra chose the name Shama Kaur, which is a name of Indian origin meaning the one who shines the light of his/her inner soul (Photo by Mahmoud Nasr)
Sandra chose the name Shama Kaur, which is a name of Indian origin meaning the one who shines the light of his/her inner soul
(Photo by Mahmoud Nasr)

Some 25 media executives attended the workshop and participated in group exercises on managing stress, effective communication, and mindfulness.

Besides yoga, Sandra also has experience in alternative medicine and has studied numerology. She received her coaching diploma from Erickson College International, and undertook lifestyle and wellness training in France and Portugal. Her practical portfolio includes work with NGOs and youth programmes.

In 2012, Sandra received a six-month grant from the Cherie Blair Foundation for the Mentoring Women in Business programme—an innovative programme that combines mentoring with technology to unlock the potential of women entrepreneurs.

Recently, she became involved in working at a refugee camp in Greece with the NGO Zainabiyya Alliance for Refugees.

This camp is located on the Greek island of Lesbos, where the situation is very challenging and the needs are endless. There are about 2,500 people of 14 different nationalities living in this camp. Some have been there since March. The variety of nationalities living there has caused inter-cultural conflicts that sometimes erupt up into theft, crime, and rioting.

Sandra’s work there in liaising between refugees and English speaking organisations and representatives, including lawyers, doctors, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and Euro Relief. She also spends time with the women there, listening to their concerns about the conditions in the camp and their needs, which she then reports to the officials in charge.

In addition to this campaign, she intends to go back to the refugee camp in Greece for a follow-up visit at the end of this year.

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Jozee Boutique: local products offer a unique interpretation of modern trends http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/10/23/jozee-boutique-local-products-offer-unique-interpretation-modern-trends/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/10/23/jozee-boutique-local-products-offer-unique-interpretation-modern-trends/#respond Sun, 23 Oct 2016 10:00:24 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=565853 Starting from 8 o’clock in the morning until the long-awaited 5 o’clock in the evening, Ezz El-Dien Mokhtar and his wife Joselin El-Kholy sat in their offices processing endless paperwork and stressing about a nonstop parade of deadlines. Every night they hoped to get a break from their monotonous corporate lives; yet, every morning at …

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Starting from 8 o’clock in the morning until the long-awaited 5 o’clock in the evening, Ezz El-Dien Mokhtar and his wife Joselin El-Kholy sat in their offices processing endless paperwork and stressing about a nonstop parade of deadlines. Every night they hoped to get a break from their monotonous corporate lives; yet, every morning at 8 o’clock, they went back.

The couple personally traveled across Egypt to build their current network of artisans (Photo from Facebook)
The couple personally traveled across Egypt to build their current
network of artisans
(Photo from Facebook)

One morning in 2014, the couple woke up with a firm decision that their life-long dream could not wait any longer. They sent in their resignations, packed their luggage, and set out on a trip that forever changed their lives.

Mokhtar and El-Kholy spent the next few months travelling across the country’s hidden pathways and forgotten towns before returning to Cairo with a database of Egypt’s most-talented artists. Jozee Boutique is the couple’s current occupation, where they feature the work of many local artisans along with their very own fashion line of handmade showstoppers.

“Jozee Boutique is a place where brands, designers, and artisans can showcase their products. We feature many talents, many of which are local. We also showcase our own fashion line that is produced locally between Siwa and Sinai; where local artisans apply their hand-made patterns and embroidery on it,” said Mokhtar.

Mokhtar and El-Kholy currently depend on a wide network of hidden talents that consider Jozee Boutique their space to reach out to a larger spectrum of the market. The featured products vary between leather goods, jewellery, clothes, and even home accessories.

“Our network is continuously growing because we have two different tracks: things that we produce and others that we only feature,” Mokhtar added. “Our own line requires a very strong and wide network. We regularly try to tap into new areas and governorates. We also depend on word-of-mouth. People naturally talk; they either recommend us to new artists or put us in contact with others.”

Over the years, the couple managed to build rapport with many artisans that preserve the country’s endangered handcrafts and cultural products. According to Mokhtar, their travels have reached all the way to Siwa and Saint Catherine, where they met the artisans they still work with even today.

The Zamalek-based store is currently a destination for appreciators of craftsmanship (Photo from Facebook)
The Zamalek-based store is currently a destination for appreciators of
craftsmanship
(Photo from Facebook)

Meanwhile, the low-key boutique has managed to position itself as a destination for people, who appreciate art and originality. The Zamalek-based shop is currently a hot spot for local and foreign appreciators of hand-made crafts.

“We believe that we cater to a special type of audience that seeks unconventional designs. We always try to keep our items artistic and different; for example we have many unique designs for harem pants,” said Mokhtar.

The recent increase in the popularity of embroidery and ethnic fashion locally has certainly reflected on the boutique. According to the founders, the current levels of diverse fashion is incomparable to when they first started.

“Awareness has certainly increased in the past few years; a lot of people are far more interested in hand-made goods and embroidery. Customers are currently much more aware and they are highly keen on having the ability to stand out amongst the crowd,” said Mokhtar.

As for their international reach, it is no secret that local craftsmanship is often much more popular abroad rather than locally. The couple says that the international market is never missing from their expansion plans.

“We hope to expand to have other branches around Egypt but also aim to increase our overseas reach to markets in the Middle East and Europe. Currently we are planning to work on our exports since a lot of our products are quite popular abroad,” said Mokhtar.

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Jude Benhalim: armour of confidence and individuality http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/10/20/jude-benhalim-armour-confidence-individuality/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/10/20/jude-benhalim-armour-confidence-individuality/#respond Thu, 20 Oct 2016 18:00:33 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=562420 She is a woman who is proud of her identity; yet, cannot find the right way to show it to the world. She has many dreams, but none of them include a life-partner that would curb the strength of her wings. She is many things; yet, one thing remains clear: she is anything but ordinary. …

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She is a woman who is proud of her identity; yet, cannot find the right way to show it to the world. She has many dreams, but none of them include a life-partner that would curb the strength of her wings. She is many things; yet, one thing remains clear: she is anything but ordinary.

A few seasons ago, many fashion-forward women fell in love with a fictional character that came from the designs of a powerful up-and-coming jewellery line.

Aurora pieces gives you the freedom to interchange the acrylic parts with a variety of colors. (Photo Handout)
Aurora pieces gives you the freedom to interchange the acrylic parts
with a variety of colors.
(Photo Handout)

For three consecutive seasons, Jude Benhalim unfolded the stories of her heroine through various style transitions and twists that have come to define her jewellery line. From indecisive adolescence to spiritual exploration, Benhalim’s heroine spoke to many women who could not help but instantly relate to her story.

Benhalim is one of Egypt’s precious talents that advocate freedom through tackling gender pressure and societal stereotypes. Her line of jewellery and bags express the feelings of a generation that appreciates art, colours, and details.

In a short time-span, Benhalim, with her mother as her main partner, successfully turned her iconic bullets collection into an eloquent must-have. Even though calligraphy and stones are an essential part of her armour, customisation has become her defining edge.

Daily News Egypt talked to the young designer to learn more about her aesthetic, her new collection, and future plans to address women around the globe.

How did your young age reflect on your business?

My age has been a double-edged sword. I first started my line as a part of a school programme. We were assigned to do something creative so I chose to get beads from Khan El-Khalili and create jewellery.

There was a bazaar at the time and my mother encouraged me to go sell them and use the money for charity. When people saw how young I was at the bazaar, they were absolutely positive and encouraging. We sold many pieces that day; something that encouraged me to further pursue this talent.

My main struggle was that I  had to juggle work with school. Having to manage my time was a bit of a challenge.

On the other hand, it was tricky when dealing with workshops and suppliers. The challenge lay in finding people who would take me seriously to give me the perfect quality and price. Nonetheless, I did not have to deal with any of the expected stereotypes. I was very lucky to find people that understood my aesthetic and designs.

Tell us about the main story behind your new collection.

Spectrum is a continuation of the brand’s ongoing story. We have a story of this girl on a journey and each collection is built on the previous one. First, we introduced her with the SHE collection as a curious, strong, and feminine figure. She was always willing to step out of her comfort zone to grow as a person.

Next stop was Her Cosmos, last season’s collection. It was an abstract interpretation of being alone in a big space because I feel women are continuously put under pressure when living or going out alone. I felt like I wanted to do something about it.

Spectrum is essentially inspired by the colours of light; it is very colourful and cheerful. It is an indication that she has reached what she has been looking for all along.

Do your clients buy the brand’s aesthetic or the designs themselves?

I believe they buy a mixture of both. I can tell you with confidence that I feel like my brand speaks to girls who lack confidence while they’re young. The calligraphy is a main aspect of the brand’s popularity; however, the designs also appeal to a big share of our target audience.

Photoshoot by Photoboutique featuring model Farida El Sabh (Photo Handout)
Photoshoot by Photoboutique featuring model Farida El Sabh
(Photo Handout)

Your materials are often very different; what materials did you depend on for the new collection?

All of my jewellery is made of silver, brass, and acrylic. Everything is custom-made and manufactured specifically for my brand; we design the colour, shape, effect, size, etc.

What made you change your label’s name just when people started identifying it?

It was a big risk. I thought of J designs when I was very young. Yet, when I graduated and started investing more time and energy in it, I decided that I needed to take the brand internationally and turn it into my main job. When I researched, I found that there were a lot of brands called J around the world.

For the brand to make a name globally, it needed a distinctive name that would stand out. After a long brainstorming session, I could not choose anything but my own name because it sounded unique and personal.

The transformation was very challenging. What we did was changing the logo without affecting its main factors and outline; we kept the same persona with simple twists.

What is next for your brand?

We are working on a new and different concept. We are stepping away from the bullets. We have been depending on it for a very long time. I am actually glad that I managed to drag it along for such a long period, but it is time to move on.

The new collection should come out next November and we are launching it in Egypt first.

 

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Maison Saedi and Kaprun join forces for elegance and comfort http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/09/29/maison-saedi-kaprun-join-forces-elegance-comfort/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/09/29/maison-saedi-kaprun-join-forces-elegance-comfort/#respond Thu, 29 Sep 2016 12:00:15 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=553206 “We wanted to create basic designs with simple silhouettes that can fit the majority of body shapes and lifestyles,” says Saedi

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For a couple of months two creative minds sat across from one another sketching, debating, and stitching what aimed to become an investment in every woman’s wardrobe. Between the elaborate world of couture and the quirky charm of knitwear, all women need wearable best friends that would go through anything with her.

Ahmed Saedi, founder of Maison Saedi, is a man who speaks the language of chiffon and embroidery. His world is shaped with delicate patterns and floating silhouettes. In a matter of just a few years, Saedi has managed to establish his own couture label and attract a large segment of women, who seek fairytales in garments.

On the other hand, Victoria Kalinina has added humour and colour to many winters in the big city through her knitwear label Kaprun. Kalinina’s magic lies in her ability to transform average outfits into instant statements.

Together the two designers represent two different worlds that every woman needs simultaneously. After knowing each other for a while and even flaunting each other’s designs, the two decided to join hands to create a middle ground between the two aesthetics.

Earlier this month, Saedi and Kalinina finally launched their heavily anticipated ready-to-wear collection, which is set to reach out to every woman and become a fixed part of many wardrobes.

Daily News Egypt sat down with Saedi to learn more about their capsule collection, which evolved from being a random idea to what could possibly become a permanent and independent label.

The photo shoot was captured by Khaled Hamdy, featuring Masha Dubrovskaya (Photo Handout)
The photo shoot was captured by Khaled Hamdy, featuring Masha Dubrovskaya
(Photo Handout)

Why did you choose to collaborate with Kaprun in particular?

I met Victoria, the owner of Kaprun, at my workshop as a client. I made her a couple of dresses and she is by far one of my favourite clients. Meanwhile, I love her work at Kaprun, she has cute stuff that I personally love buying for my daughter. Furthermore, she is specialised in ready-to-wear and knitwear.

During one of our conversations, she told me that she really wants simple dresses that could be styled and re-styled for everyday wear. At some point in the conversation, we both found that we wanted to create our own ready-to-wear collections.

At the time, I was already thinking of entering the ready-to-wear arena. I tried it twice before but the end product always drifted back to couture gowns, not simple garments for daily fashion.

What did each party add to the collection?

We worked collaboratively on the collection. We wanted to create basic designs with simple silhouettes that can fit the majority of body shapes.

I was often keen on the quality and sometimes, due to my couture experience, I tried to add additional intricate details. In the meantime, Victoria was always focused on keeping the collection simple and wearable, pulling me back to the concept we were trying to implement.

This is your first collection away from couture. Was experimenting with ready-to-wear a breath of fresh air or a challenge?

For me, even when I made ready-to-wear dresses, there was always an allowance for adjustments. This collection was my first attempt to make a dress for someone I did not know, for somebody that will just pick it up and leave without interacting with me as a designer.

At the beginning, I did not think it was going to be that hard. Nonetheless, it was in fact the trickiest collection I have ever worked on and it certainly took a long period of time, much longer than usual. However, I am absolutely glad because I have gained tremendous experience through this collection.

The designers aim to turn this collection into a permanent label. (Photo Handout)
The designers aim to turn this collection into a permanent label.
(Photo Handout)

What materials did you depend on?

We tried to use the most comfortable fabrics that can go with various body shapes and lifestyles. We also wanted fabrics that would give elegance and grace whether designed for tight or wide outfits.

How is the feedback so far?

Actually people are engaging far better than we have expected. The photo shoot has given the collection a tremendous push as it is highly fresh and many women could relate to. According to our clients, the collection is perceived as garments that could be worn to normal outings and still look elegant and sophisticated.

We are currently planning to make Kaprun X Maison Saedi a permanent line that introduces a new collection at least once every year.

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Miss Mexico Universal 2016 visits Egypt to support local tourism and designers http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/09/29/miss-mexico-universal-2016-visits-egypt-support-local-tourism-designers/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/09/29/miss-mexico-universal-2016-visits-egypt-support-local-tourism-designers/#respond Thu, 29 Sep 2016 08:30:13 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=553208 With a captivating smile, a sparkling tiara, and a strong cause, Yezenia Navarro is set to stand out wherever she goes. Mrs Mexico 2016 for Universal Pageants and Mrs UN ambassador of 2015 is a true advocate for women rights and universal harmony, as well as being living proof of the communicative power of fashion. …

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With a captivating smile, a sparkling tiara, and a strong cause, Yezenia Navarro is set to stand out wherever she goes. Mrs Mexico 2016 for Universal Pageants and Mrs UN ambassador of 2015 is a true advocate for women rights and universal harmony, as well as being living proof of the communicative power of fashion.

A few months ago, she was spotted out and about wearing Egyptian designers. It wasn’t long before she decided to take a couple of steps closer to her favourite local creators.

Navarro during the crowning ceremony in Mexico (Photo Handout)
Navarro during the crowning ceremony in Mexico
(Photo Handout)

Navarro, who was invited by International Business and Investment Services (IBIS) in collaboration with the Egyptian Tourism Authority, visited Egypt last week to support local tourism and meet her favourite base of fashion designers.

“Egypt is a country that I have always dreamed of discovering. I knew that the current lack of tourism is causing severe economic issues and I wanted to help in any way I can. I know it is a beautiful country and people need to come and see it,” said Navarro.

During her trip, Miss Mexico dedicated her time to highlighting many of the country’s large charity foundations, as well as its iconic monuments. Her schedule included visits to the 53753 Cancer Hospital, the Magdy Yacoub Foundation, and a few orphanages.

She also gave a great push to the tourism sector by visiting major attractions such as the ancient city of Luxor, Alexandria, Sahl Hasheesh, and the ancient Pyramids of Giza.

During her visit, Navarro showcased a strong relationship with some local designers as she was seen flaunting local garments and jewellery. The beauty queen is widely known for her admiration of international labels and ethnic designs.

“I believe in the international potential of the local fashion industry. Furthermore, I personally love some Egyptian brands and I believe that people around the world would love to know more about them. Therefore, I decided to wear Bahig Hussain, Sami Amin, and Diamond Zone during my stay,” said Navarro.

According to her, fashion is a field in which Mexico and Egypt have a great deal in common. While Egyptians are beginning to lean towards local designers who depend on their heritage as a main source of inspiration, Mexicans are more into blending the past and the present.

“The two countries try to keep their traditional clothes alive while applying modern and fashionable interpretations. For example, Mexican huaraches are a big trend now in the biggest fashion capitals,” said Navarro.

She also believes in using fashion as a universal method of communication. Consequently, she made sure to spend some time in Cairo with her favourite local designers; not only to express her support, but also to further show the world a different aspect of Egyptian tourism.

“I think each country has its own style and you can see how people around the world are trying to showcase a touch of their roots through their everyday style. I saw in Mexico how people are going back in time by wearing vintage clothes; this trend is appearing everywhere simultaneously. It just adds beauty and charm to the pieces while giving the world a glimpse of the country’s traditional wear,” said Navarro.

Aside from fashion, Mrs Mexico Universal could see the general similarities between Mexico and Egypt during her short stay. According to her, the two nations share the same pace of life, keenness on family traditions, and overall lifestyle.

Navarro is set to return to Egypt once again soon to further promote her organisation, Queens without Scars. The initiative aims to raise awareness regarding gender-based physical and psychological abuse, as well as to empower women around the world who suffer from violence.

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Egypt’s fashion industry takes an international leap for SS17 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/09/22/egypts-fashion-industry-takes-international-leap-ss17/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/09/22/egypts-fashion-industry-takes-international-leap-ss17/#respond Thu, 22 Sep 2016 16:00:51 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=550247 According to the world’s most prominent fashion experts, September is the new year of the fashion calendar. It is the peak time when trends emerge and designers fight for survival. The significant month gains its importance from the respectable line of international fashion weeks. From New York to London and Paris, every year the industry’s …

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According to the world’s most prominent fashion experts, September is the new year of the fashion calendar. It is the peak time when trends emerge and designers fight for survival. The significant month gains its importance from the respectable line of international fashion weeks. From New York to London and Paris, every year the industry’s top capitals introduce their top-tier designers in mesmerising shows.

LO is the first home-grown menswear brand to participate in NYFW (Photo Handout)
LO is the first home-grown menswear brand to participate in NYFW
(Photo Handout)

The SS17 season witnessed many buzz-worthy milestones, including the invention of a new see now-buy now formula that gave average consumers and loyal clients complete control over the presented garments.

History was also made at New York Fashion Week (NYFW) when Indonesian designer Anniesa Hasibuan showcased a modest collection using a complete line-up of veiled models.

With that said, the local industry achieved a few milestones of its own, as multiple Egyptian designers managed to take a prominent part in the international events.

Home-grown menswear brand Live On Top (LO) led the parade with a simplistic fashion show in the heart of NYC. The brand, which launched locally less than a year ago, showcased a collection of sophisticated suits. According to the founder, Khaled Obbeya, NYFW has always been on the brand’s short-term calendar as they believe in the universal reach of fashion.

“We have received amazing feedback. Many of the attendees told us that they were absolutely surprised to see how far the Egyptian industry has come and how it could fairly compete with the world’s top labels,” said Obbeya.

The label is designed in Italy and manufactured in Turkey as the management seeks international standards of quality and addresses men of taste everywhere around the globe.

A few days later, Egypt’s success in New York continued with Farida Temraz’s “Rise of the Pharaoh”. Temraz, who is not a stranger to international events, became the first local couture designer to take part in the official NYFW.

Her collection drew direct inspiration from the country’s pharaonic heritage while staying true to her elaborate embroidery and sexy silhouettes. As the models walked down the runway drenched in hand-stitched details and pearls, Om Kalthoum’s voice serenaded the crowd back to Egypt.

It was not long until Temraz scored another milestone, as American Crime’s Angelique Rivera wore a stunning red and white dress to the 2016 Emmy Awards only a few days after the show. Even though these were not the designer’s first steps on a Hollywood red carpet, this special appearance is another first added to the local industry’s long list of recent achievements.

In less than two weeks Temraza has managed to once again add international milestones to the local fashion industry (Photo by Odelmo Paltooram)
In less than two weeks Temraza has managed to once again add international milestones to the local fashion industry
(Photo by Odelmo Paltooram)

Temraza by Temraz is one of the country’s top labels that educated the local market about the great potential in Egyptian designers, while putting Egypt on the international fashion map. Temraza has already tapped the SAG awards, as well as the prestigious Oscars.

On the other side of the world, local accessory label, Okhtein, has artistically represented Egypt at London Fashion Week (LFW). A couple of couture designers have already ventured into LFW before; however, Okhtein by the Abdelraouf sisters is the first accessory label to take part in the fashion showcase.

Aya and Mounaz Abdelraouf depend on art and craftsmanship to redefine accessories. Their long list of clients and admirers already includes a few international stars, such as Emma Watson. In a short period of time, Okhtein has proven that local production and craftsmanship can truly compete internationally, when guided correctly.

With September 2016 being a month that will later be remembered as the beginning of a new era in the local industry, November is also set to introduce an important participation in the World Fashion Week Paris. The event is set to harbour 40 shows from 50 different countries and for the first time, Egypt is set to be one of them.

Local designer, Norine Farah, will be taking her daring cuts and signature bustier to Paris in order to represent Egypt in the next big fashion event.

Locally, Farah has recently broken conventional boundaries and attracted a large segment of women, who were bored of traditional couture. Meanwhile, the designer has taken a step towards international markets as she participated in Tiffany’s fashion week in New York earlier last year.

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Hussein Bazaza awakens the eternal beauty of Sophia, the Alchemist http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/09/09/545416/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/09/09/545416/#respond Fri, 09 Sep 2016 11:00:22 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=545416 She was born a princess: rich, beautiful, and influential. However, her power was always limited for it was only a matter of time before it would age. Princess Sophia lived during the medieval ages in Europe, when alchemy was both a vital science and method of art. For years, the princess searched for the elixir …

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She was born a princess: rich, beautiful, and influential. However, her power was always limited for it was only a matter of time before it would age. Princess Sophia lived during the medieval ages in Europe, when alchemy was both a vital science and method of art.

For years, the princess searched for the elixir of life until it became her most precious secret and the reason behind her power. The enchanting story of this particular princess has been documented through various works of art. While literature unfolded her deepest secrets, paintings portrayed her ever-lasting beauty.

Photo from Facebook
Photo from Facebook

Lebanese designer Hussein Bazaza fell in love with the mystical character last season, when he dedicated his FW16 collection to the enchanting princess. The collection was elaborately detailed with show-stopping patch-work and metallic pleats. Accordingly, the promising designer decided to continue his stream of thoughts and spend yet another season with the one and only Sophia.

“Sophia became immortal and lived through several ages, hiding both her everlasting youth and the secret to her formula. The elixir of life was hidden in a red apple she kept with her, which she truly believed was the source of her happiness and satisfaction,” Bazaza said in a press release.

After walking the line of Vivienne Westwood’s iconic New Romance with a statement collection, this season Bazaza took a simpler detour with a collection that is set to withstand time and remain relevant.

The FW17 haute couture collection, Sophia the Goddess, taps into the princess’s life after finding the elixir of life and mastering the secrets of alchemy. The garments do not only document Sophia’s intellectual victory, but also her everlasting youth.

Meanwhile, the fabrics varied between raffia and delicate lace, embellished with handmade embroidery and patterns. Each garment embraced a different element of nature; aside from the green nature, the astrological constellation was evidently captured through various outfits.

In preparation for this collection, the designer spent a sufficient period of time researching and studying the key elements and symbols of alchemy. According to Bazaza, the collection’s key motifs were built upon geometric symbols and equations.

A few looks elaborately reinterpreted the princess’ association with her surroundings, as two of the dresses were beautifully adorned with moon-shaped lace embellishments. Meanwhile, the designer maintained his lucky charm: unicorns. After depending on the mystical creature for the FW16 collection, Bazaza created new interpretations of the highly loved creature for this collection.

When mixed together, the historic inspiration, handmade fabrics, and symbolic motifs create wearable paintings that highlight a new aspect of Sophia’s lifestyle. One of the collection’s most memorable outfits is an oversized sweatshirt that gives a casual vibe; yet, it still embraces the collection’s link to medieval decorative high necks and decorative embroidery. Meanwhile, it is also paired with a lace skirt that adds feminine and timeless feel.

Through the lines of black, grey, white, gold, and red, Bazaza recreated the medieval silhouettes for a 21st century fashion expert. The haute couture collection depended mainly on flared dresses and long skirts styled with drapes and high necks.

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Marmar Halim steps on Hollywood’s red carpets http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/09/08/545415/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/09/08/545415/#respond Thu, 08 Sep 2016 16:00:00 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=545415 “Skylar Grey’s stylist picked the dress during her shopping tour at the Los Angeles Fashion Avenue and luckily, she chose to wear the dress for this special occasion,” says designer

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With lights flashing on the path ahead of her and countless photographers calling her name for just one pose, world-renowned singer Skylar Grey stepped into the premier of Suicide Squad, dressed in none other than Marmar Halim.

Grey is an American singer and song writer that participated in Suicide Squad with her song Wreak Havoc, which is now topping most of the international music charts. Despite its simplicity, the floor-length black dress attracted a lot of comments and complements as major fashion entities wondered about the designer’s identity.

Photo from Facebook
Photo from Facebook

Marmar Halim is an Egyptian designer who has been creating waves in the Middle East for quite some time. From famous singers to TV presenters, Halim has created a strong rapport with an outstanding base of A-list stars. However, her latest endeavour to reach Hollywood has propelled her into a new league, where she competes against the world’s most respected designers.

The designer’s aesthetic is often confidently simple with old-school charm. Her love for basic colours and elegant prints mixed with complementing cuts are worthy of celebrities. Yet, it is still a perfect choice for any woman who wishes to stand out in the crowd.

After graduating from the Fashion Design Center to join with Istituto di Moda Burgo in Milan, Italy, Halim successfully established her label in Dubai and reached out to an Arab clientele.

Daily News Egypt talked with Halim to know how she had reached the year’s most anticipated movie premier, and how this massive exposure will shape her upcoming plans.

How did you manage to reach Skylar Grey?

A few months ago, the brand Marmar Halim was launched at one of the well-known fashion showrooms in Los Angeles Fashion Avenue, an established shopping destination for celebrities and their stylists, such as Skylar Grey.

Grey’s stylist picked the dress during her shopping tour at Los Angeles Fashion Avenue and luckily, Skylar chose to wear the dress for this special occasion.

How did this celebrity endorsement reflect on your label?

I feel very proud when I see such great exposure for my designs. It is highly crucial for a Middle-Eastern brand like mine to be a Hollywood choice. It is proof for my positioning on the international fashion map. Celebrity and fashion expert endorsements have been playing a key role in the brand’s expansion through creating an efficient regional and international buzz.

Photo from Facebook
Photo from Facebook

Many celebrities have previously chosen your label. How does celebrity endorsement help young fashion designers?

It is my pleasure to see my designs favoured and worn by celebrities. Therefore, I highly believe that the brand grows with each young star that chooses to wear one of my garments. Celebrities attract media attention and every camera in all world-class occasions. The stars are my ambassadors to the public.

Celebrities such as Grey, Egyptian singer and actress Sherine Abdel Wahab, singer Assala Nasri, TV presenter Joelle Mardinian, along with others have helped us start a new trend with Marmar Halim on the frontier line.

Which Arab or foreign star would you love to see wearing your designs?

My dream is to see every woman wearing Marmar Halim. While celebrities bring massive international attention to the label, women in general are the core of our focus.

Tell us more about your FW17 collection; inspiration, theme, and materials.

Lost between east and west, the FW17 collection presents a variety of different inspirations. The new collection combines classical and modern themes. My designs harmonise both cultures to exude top feminine flair with the utmost elegance and beauty.

The main colour scheme starts with dark mauve, all the way to purple night and graphite grey, with touches of black, gold, silver, and cream. On the other hand, a few garments also embrace big prints that create a statement, yet remain absolutely elegant.

In fact, I am a big fan of Egyptian singer Dina El Wedidi. Therefore, my designs were inspired by her song Arfek mosh tayha (I know you are not lost), which happens to be the name of the collection as well.

The autumn/winter 2017 was launched during D&D’s event last march in Dubai. The launch event was a very important step for us as we received a lot of appreciation and encouragement notes from the audience, as well as the media. Meanwhile, I am currently working on the SS2017, which is set to be launched very soon. I am already very excited, as I am expecting very good exposure, and another successful step towards the label’s future goals.

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Maram: an international brand with local roots http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/09/01/542008/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/09/01/542008/#respond Thu, 01 Sep 2016 16:00:23 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=542008 "I definitely want to return [to Egypt] in the next few years and involve myself in this area of industry through sourcing materials and manufacturing locally," says designer

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While she sits in her workshop planning her next fashion show or delving into the history of different nations, her designs travel back and forth across the world. With each stitch, Maram Aboul Enein has managed to pave her way to the international fashion scene with intricate embroidery and show-stopping fabrics.

A few years ago, the art fanatic travelled to Paris, planning to fulfil her admiration for art, but it was not long before she found her true passion. In a matter of years, Aboul Enein has changed local and international stereotypes while dressing women as far east as Japan and back around to the US.

The young Egyptian fashion designer is a true artist who has successfully established a name for herself in a relatively short time. From Paris to London to Montreal, the embroidery master has showcased her designs at various official fashion weeks.

This season, she finally decided to pay her hometown a visit and meet her local base of fashion-forward clients.

Daily News Egypt sat down with Aboul Enein to talk art, fashion, and craftsmanship, as well as her future plans to come back home.

How would you define your aesthetic?

My aesthetic is based around craftsmanship. I am dedicated to ensuring that everything is done intricately with luxurious fabrics and well-detailed embellishments. As a kid, I grew up painting; I have always loved sculpting and art.

I went to Paris to study fine arts at Parsons because I have been painting for as long as I can remember. During the first year, however, we rotated around different art departments. After that, I decided to do fashion because suddenly I did not see a point in studying fine art—I was already good at it, I wanted something that had a technical aspect.

What made you choose fashion as a career?

Fashion is extremely technical. I have always loved fashion—I grew up observing my mother and grandmother’s personal styles. Furthermore, I have always had an interest in textiles and clothing. Accordingly, I simply gravitated towards fashion. It was not a conscious decision, I just fell in love.

How does your Egyptian nationality affect your brand?

I am currently based in Montreal, Canada. However, I studied and established my label in Paris. Wherever I show my designs, people are often surprised by my Egyptian origins. People often cannot see past the stereotype of Egyptian and Middle Eastern designers—they expect an oriental aesthetic with elaborate details.

I do have a slight hint of orientalism in my clothes, such as the embroidery, which obviously comes back to Egypt. Nonetheless, I believe that it makes it more interesting to people to see somebody who was born and raised in Egypt and trained in Paris combine the two worlds to create a middle ground.

How would you label your brand: an Arab brand targeting Europe or an international one?

I do not target a specific market. Obviously, I would say that my style is more European than it is North American or Asian, as my designs definitely appeal more to the European market. I do receive various orders from Japan, South America, and Egypt though.

Each target market prefers a different aesthetic in my collection. For example, the Italians really like the embroidered items; meanwhile, the US market loves the cashmere pieces, simple and basic sweaters.

I try to think of all of these things when I am designing, so that there is something for everyone, but, at the end of the day, I am still myself.

Photo Handout to DNE
Photo Handout to DNE

Which is your top market at the moment?

The US is on top of the list; I have a lot of clients there. Paris and London are also quite strong. In actual fact, it kind of changes every season. For example, the Middle Eastern market is always interested in the summer collection—they rarely favour fur or jackets.

Even though fashion is currently booming in Egypt, you have never officially showcased your collection here. Why are you absent from the local scene?

I am very aware of the current fashion boom happening in Egypt and the Middle East because it partly took place right when I was graduating. I had the option of coming back to Egypt at the same time. I was observing the local scene when there was a sudden increase in social media, bloggers, and a large number of young people starting to pursue a career in fashion.

However, I really wanted to establish myself internationally first just because that was a true challenge. Furthermore, I was trained abroad and I had become familiar in the market. Egypt was actually a more difficult venture for me, particularly because I was specialised in fur and leather at the beginning.

However, now after doing a few collaborations in Egypt and meeting local media, I definitely do not want to lose touch with Egypt because eventually I am going to move back. The problem with the local industry is that there is a lot happening, and very few brands are doing it properly.

It is kind of haphazard; there is no system, a very limited number of factories, the training level is low and there are various problems in the import regulations. This industry needs to build a strong foundation of manufacturers, factories and craftsmanship.

I definitely want to return in the next few years and involve myself in this area of the industry through sourcing materials and manufacturing locally. There is a huge potential in making fabrics and implementing all the handwork locally—it will generate money for the country and it will even be cheaper for the European market.

Photo handout to DNE
Photo handout to DNE

You were finally able to meet the local market this season through Coterique’s pop-up event in Sahel. How was the local feedback?

Coterique is my stockist in Egypt; they represent me locally by selling my pieces to the Egyptian market. I called Dana, the founder, a few weeks ago and when I told her that I am coming to Egypt, she told me that a summer pop-up is being organised.

I instantly agreed to take part in the pop-up because many people have difficulties in purchasing my items due to problems with imports and shipping, so I always welcome any opportunity in Egypt.

I find it interesting to see the people’s reaction to my clothing line and their opinion when they try on the clothes—it tells me what I need to improve and what is good. So far I have received great feedback and I came to know the market much better.

Tell us more about your upcoming collection.

Right now, I am finalising the SS17. Meanwhile, FW16 is in the last stages of production and should be coming out next month. The latter is all about leather jackets, the collection includes a lot of embroidery and patchwork—it is very graphic.

So far it has received very positive feedback; it is one of my all-time favourite collections. I am very excited for it to hit the stores.

The SS17 also has a sufficient amount of embroidery but it is all done by machine. Embroidery is one of my favourite signature looks that I am keen to sustain across the different themes of each collection. Personally, I love embroidery; I worked in the embroidery department at Balmain.

Where are you showcasing your SS17?

The SS17 is set to be showcased in Paris and Dubai. It is my first time experimenting with prints, as well as my first time at Dubai Fashion Forward. I have wanted to do Dubai for a long time, but before now every time I was ready to go the show was for fall/winter collections, so I have been saving myself until I had a spring/summer collection.

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Dina Shaker: international advocate for quality and comfort http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/08/25/539454/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/08/25/539454/#respond Thu, 25 Aug 2016 15:00:12 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=539454 “Clients usually welcome the label as an international brand that provides creative designs in natural materials with competitive prices,” says the designer

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Standing in a booth among the world’s finest under-the-radar fashion labels, she meets the continuous parade of congratulatory comments with confidence. Her line of fashion-forward investments is a modern must-have for any woman around the world.

Stocked in Egypt, Dubai, and the United Kingdom, Dina Shaker is a local designer that has decided to challenge stereotypes and advocate the local fashion industry across the globe.

After successfully remaining a key player in the local market for 15 years, Shaker currently has her eyes set on the world as she plans to invade the globe with her brand. The revolutionary designer first met the international market five years ago, and ever since then her name has been synonymous with high-quality Egyptian fashion in the minds of many European clients.

From the sleeve belt to her asymmetric silhouettes, Shaker has managed to create a series of smart and subtle signatures that her clientele around the world can easily spot.

Even though many celebrities have already chosen her designs for their public appearances, Shaker targets regular women that seek comfort and confidence as her intricate twists are always enough to stop the show without looking too desperate.

Daily News Egypt sat with Shaker to talk about her 15 years in the local market as well as her fast-paced international plans.

Shaker aims to further spread into foreign markets and end mistaken stereotypes regarding Egyptian fashion Photo from Instagram)
Shaker aims to further spread into foreign markets and end mistaken stereotypes regarding Egyptian fashion
(Photo from Instagram)

How did you start your career in fashion?

I have always had a thing for fashion, ever since I was a child. I used to design garments for myself and my friends. Nonetheless, when I joined university I decided to study interior design. After graduation, I tried to pursue a career in that field, but fashion took a hold on me.

It was not long before I decided to study fashion design in order to learn all the technical basics in an academic setting. At the time, Egypt had an educational programme, sponsored with aid from the US, to help local designers.

During the late 1990s, imported clothes were not easily allowed into the country; however, the government was just about to sign an international trading agreement. The programme aimed to prepare Egyptian suppliers and designers for equal competition between local and imported goods after signing the agreement.

Why did you choose to focus on ready to wear (RTW)?

The courses I studied were under the umbrella of the fashion institute in New York, which largely focuses on the business aspects of the industry along with creative courses. We were introduced to the fundamental factors of RTW fashion as well as couture, and I thought that the local market needed RTW brands at the time. With that said, the market gap still exists today as the majority of local talents prefer couture.

In your opinion, what makes RTW a less popular genre among Egyptian designers?

There is a serious competition between local and international RTW brands. Costumers expect local brands to have a lower price point while international brands are the ones that get to mass produce their designs, which allows them to reduce their prices. On the other hand, costumers also do not fully trust the quality of local goods.

Accordingly, with each international brand opening in Egypt, local designers further resort to couture.

How did the recent economic changes affect your brand?

I always try to keep my prices affordable and relevant to local and international competition. Materials and hand-workers are very expensive in Egypt. I have my own workshop, which also demands a budget.

A year ago, I used to receive comments about my prices as they were higher than mass-produced competitors. Nonetheless, after the recent economic changes, costumers stopped commenting on my prices because all imported brands have significantly doubled theirs.

Meanwhile, the local market has been developing its own fashion awareness and aesthetic for the past couple of years. Today, clients understand the value and importance of natural fabrics, quality, and exclusivity.

Modes of production and the acquisition of materials in Egypt are often a true burden on local designers, how does your process go?

I have been in this industry since the late 1990s. I used to have my own mass-produced label, called Spicy, which had seven stores around the country and its own factory. The brand was very successful, and I only decided to stop the project due to the 25 January Revolution and the economic repercussions of it.

Accordingly, controlling a workshop is an easy task after supervising a factory for 15 years. My experience is currently my professional backbone. I definitely have fewer problems compared to other local brands, who still suffer from poor craftsmanship and suppliers.

The majority of my materials are local. Even though the options are very limited in Egypt, I try to keep the brand fully made in Egypt. Also, since I depend on international markets, I have to secure stable local suppliers that would provide the same material whenever I receive a new order.

Furthermore, the European market highly appreciates cotton and linen, which is what the Egyptian market is well-known for.

Her best sellers include a few pieces that can suit any women searching for daily pieces of garments  (Photo from Instagram)
Her best sellers include a few pieces that can suit any women searching for daily pieces of garments
(Photo from Instagram)

What made you take your label internationally?

After the revolution, I decided to create a smaller brand that is more exclusive than Spicy. The country was going through a hard time and importing materials or marketing a fashion brand in Egypt was very tricky. Therefore, I decided to pursue a new market.

At the time, everyone thought that I was crazy to start a new fashion project and even experiment with a foreign market. Nonetheless, I have always believed that people are capable of achieving miracles if they truly believed in what they are doing.

How do international clients perceive the brand?

The beauty of tradeshows lies in the fact that clients do not know the specific origin of each participating label unless they check the catalogue. Meanwhile, my brand is simple and modern, with no ethnic or Bedouin references.

Accordingly, when clients first visit my booth, they rarely know the origin of my brand. The majority like the design, the materials, and the quality. Furthermore, the price is also an extra incentive. European equivalents of my designs are much more expensive.

Therefore, clients usually welcome the label as an international brand that provides creative designs in natural materials with competitive prices.

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In Video: The niqabi fashion designer puts soul in clothes http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/08/21/video-niqabi-fashion-designer-puts-soul-clothes/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/08/21/video-niqabi-fashion-designer-puts-soul-clothes/#respond Sun, 21 Aug 2016 02:24:44 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=537166 Video by Asmaa Gamal Edited by Ahmed Magdy

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Video by Asmaa Gamal

Edited by Ahmed Magdy

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5 fashion statements for summer 2016 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/08/18/5-fashion-statements-summer-2016/ http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2016/08/18/5-fashion-statements-summer-2016/#respond Thu, 18 Aug 2016 18:00:05 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=535774 Whether chilling on the beach or spending the night in one of the country’s biggest parties, fashion statements are important. While few local labels have already proven to be great wearable companions to all sorts of occasions, the year’s busiest season requires a few iconic pieces. This year Sahel has established itself as Egypt’s top …

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Whether chilling on the beach or spending the night in one of the country’s biggest parties, fashion statements are important. While few local labels have already proven to be great wearable companions to all sorts of occasions, the year’s busiest season requires a few iconic pieces.

Amina K reinterpreted summer breeze with her “Prints of the Orient” collection (Photo from Facebook)
Amina K reinterpreted summer breeze with her “Prints of the Orient” collection
(Photo from Facebook)

This year Sahel has established itself as Egypt’s top summer haven according to a large sector of Egyptians; accordingly, what was once perceived as a getaway destination, is today as close as ever to a summer-season cosmopolitan city with numerous pop-up shops and shopping plazas.

With that said, a few names have risen to the occasion with great fashion investments. Amina K has started the season with an effortless and colourful collection. Prints of the Orient is based on Islamic architecture and prints. The casual RTW SS16 collection celebrates the rich heritage of Andalusia and Morocco with geometric patterns and silhouettes.

On the other hand, Okhtein and Up Fuse took summer bags to the next level with two fresh concepts. While Okhtein collaborated with autistic children to revamp everyone’s favourite cartoon characters from the 90s, Up Fuse up-cycled plastic waste into colourful bags.

For jewellery, Jude Benhalim excelled with her vibrant interpretation of the season’s hottest jewellery trend: shockers. Incorporating spirituality with jewellery, the young designer celebrated the SS16 with the Aurora choker, which mixes her signature silver bullets with colourful Lucite parts.

As for swimsuits, the competition is still dominated by Saya: a local brand that embraces a theatrical aesthetic and international quality. From creative cut-outs to retro-inspired bikinis, this season the label managed to introduce a collection that is worthy of the season’s biggest pool parties.

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