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.
“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 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.