Azza Fahmy creates bridge between design, community service

Nayera Yasser
8 Min Read

Cultures are said to be measured by art and literature; while the first turns history into motifs, the latter listens closely to the tales of time. When generations follow, names and facts slowly intertwine, and the fine details soon fade in. Nonetheless, and no matter how long the lineage can go, a few motifs and folkloric tales always manage to find their way to survival.

Her world is identified by emblems older than time and stones with the past encapsulated at heart. For many decades, her statement designs have served as a modern-day history guide for numerous loyal customers. Her pharaonic eagles have soared to the other end of the world, where her falahy earrings jingle to foreign rhythms.

Being one of the country’s most established contemporary jewellery designers has made Azza Fahmy a reference for traditional accessories made for a woman who greets earrings and necklaces as life-long companions. Her best-sellers have long become classics given from one generation to the next.

Azza Fahmy is a jewellery designer, currently known as a beacon of knowledge and experience. Over the years, her talent has grown to become a full-on business with an Egypt-based factory as well as a wide network of branches. On the other hand, her endeavours have also developed to include a design school, which has already contributed to the growing local fashion industry.

That said, Fahmy also has a passion for community development that, more often than not, is shadowed by her creative and educational roles. From her continuous search for long-forgotten craftsmanship to her ventures to support green technology, Fahmy has recently taken the lead part in a variety of community projects.

While she has decided to work with women of Red Sea tribes to empower their authentic artistry, she has also joined hands with KarmBuild to work on innovative solar panels.

Daily News Egypt sat with the designer to talk community service, social responsibility, and demanding causes.

In a country such as Egypt, to what extend do fashion designers have a social responsibility towards their community? 

Egypt is a country that has so many areas in need of help, anyone who can offer support or guidance will definitely do so. Our brand, for instance, is deeply rooted in Egyptian culture, so it is essential for us to give back to our community and to all the communities we tackle along the way. I can also assume that it is the same for all brands.

It is very important to be a citizen of the community, as an individual or as a brand. For us, we give back by using our know-how. For example, The Design Studio by Azza Fahmy works with organisations to help enhance the techniques of different tribes. One of our most memorable experiences took place when we worked on empowering and improving the techniques used by women of the Red Sea tribes in order for them to have more sellable products to sustain their living.

We plan to do the same in all the markets we go to. Accordingly, for the regional market, we started by being involved in the Dubai Fashion Council to be able to help map prominent designers in the region.

How can community work reflect on the creative aesthetic as well as the brand image of local fashion designers?

Community work opens a new channel for designers, and it opens their eyes to more inspiration for their designs. It definitely gives a genuine, rich opportunity to the brand by allowing bigger exposure to a lot of positive aspects. When you help your surroundings, you ought to first embrace them.

How can independent designers from various disciplines contribute to their communities? Are there certain contributions that are a necessary act of social responsibility?

Independent designers can use their know-how, craft, design, and experience in order to give back. For us, we use our resources to help and develop disadvantaged people. Contributions are definitely necessary. It it depends on what the brand consists of; it is all about developing what you are passionate about within your community

Your community work showcases a wide range of specialities and purposes; what do you look for in each project that you take part in?

I am passionate about giving back to the community in any possible way, which is why I seize the opportunities of all projects that come my way. In each project, I look for a concept that incorporates education, development, preserving the craft, innovation, and design such as our collaboration with KarmSolar.

Is there a certain cause that you have a deep interest in but you still have not gotten a chance to tackle?

Developing the craft of Nubia, by taking the vanishing local crafts and reviving them on a national scale.

Alongside collaborations, why have we not seen a jewellery collection dedicated to causes that interest you?

We have a charity bracelet that we sell the profits of which go to a different cause each quarter. In addition, we have an exciting cause that we will be supporting in 2018 for which a collection will be dedicated, so stay tuned!

What did an architecture-based project such as KarmSolar add to you as an experienced jewellery designer?

As a designer, I always look for new challenges through engaging in different interesting projects and the collaboration with KarmBuild did exactly that. Together, we attempted to create a different vision for real estate development and architecture in Egypt by combining their architectural design with my deep knowledge of Egyptian culture’s motifs and art.

We would like to expand our scope of work to become a complete design house, which entails tackling lines of design other than jewellery, such as architecture.

How would you describe this experience of not only experimenting with a new form of design, but also an innovative concept that aims to change the way we perceive architecture?

As a designer, I love to see everything beautiful around me, so I wanted to apply that to architecture as well. Solar panels need to be beautified and I used the motifs to do so.

Please tell us more about the piece donated to the Chain of Hope and the main inspiration behind its design?

We have been donating pieces to Chain of Hope for many years since we believe in their cause and we share the same values as the foundation. This year, we donated a necklace that is one of our best-selling designs from the Wonders of Nature collection.

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