Lifestyle – Daily News Egypt https://dailynewsegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:32:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Faissal El-Malak reincarnates Middle Eastern craftsmanship  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/22/faissal-el-malak-reincarnates-middle-eastern-craftsmanship/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/22/faissal-el-malak-reincarnates-middle-eastern-craftsmanship/#respond Thu, 22 Jun 2017 11:00:48 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=629921 I am very passionate about our Arab heritage as a whole and all the crafts that are unfortunately dying today, says El-Malak

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Sitting in an isolated workshop hidden in the heart of Akhmim, a man directs his attention to the hands moving relentlessly in front of his eyes. Every night, he dedicates his days to absorbing a legacy that many generations have translated into patterns and weaves.

Faissal El-Malak is a Palestinian designer on a journey to follow his passion through the unbeaten tracks, in order to revive the region’s oldest crafts. Like an ardent lover, one day he can wander all the way to Yemen to get his hands on traditional fabrics. Meanwhile, a few months later, his feet can march in the other direction towards Upper Egypt’s most-traditional weaving.

While ancestral motifs and textures are at the heart of his label, El-Malak still manages to keep avant-garde experimenting a cornerstone of his aesthetic. The Middle Eastern designer is not only aiming to lend a helping hand to the region’s forgotten crafts, but he is also quite determined to push conservative gender roles.

For his latest collection, Morphology, El-Malak borrows folkloric feminine embroidery and vibrant colour pallets to dress his male models. On the other hand, he tailours masculinity to suit his female heroines.

This unorthodox fashion leap depends on duality and gender fluidity. Each garment is designed to equally appeal to both genders. The collection brings polar opposites face to face and mixes time-honoured materials with unprecedented silhouettes to shatter stereotypes obscuring the road to visionary wardrobe.

Photo Handout to DNE

The Dubai-based designer was recognised by various specialised foreign enterprises, including the “Vogue Italia Fashion Dubai Experience 2015” as he was named one of the finalists for the “Who Is On Next Dubai” competition.

Daily News Egypt talked with the patron of Arab craftsmanship to discuss Morphology, his infatuation with Akhmim’s hand-woven fabrics, and dominating international trend charts with Middle Eastern artistry.

How does your Palestinian nationality reflect in your aesthetic as a designer?

My identity is closely linked to my work as a designer. I always start with a lot of research, in particular on the traditional motifs and clothing of the region. It is through this research that I source most of my inspiration.

My aesthetic is very much influenced by my infatuation with my identity as an Arab—whether through contemporary art, music, tarab, or dance.

How can fashion be a useful tool to raise awareness regarding Palestinian and Arab heritage internationally?

I am very passionate about our Arab heritage as a whole and all the crafts that are unfortunately dying today. It is through research as well as finding and working with artisans that I myself discover new crafts, which I am amazed by and I am always eager to use them out of their traditional context and in turn share them with my clients.

I do things out of pure passion for the craft and not with the intention of raising awareness. I think that this approach is something that clients can relate to more easily because, ultimately, they are after a unique and beautiful product.

What was the main inspiration behind Morphology? 

When I first started using the fabric from Yemen, the general Yemeni feedback was “look as these women wearing our traditional men’s fabric.” The fabric I use from there is exclusively made for men; it is part of their daily attire.

They wrap it around their waist and pair it with a shirt and jacket. This made me think about gender and how something that I perceived as genderless, if not leaning towards femininity for its use of colour and motif, would strongly be associated with masculinity where it originated.

I wanted to explore that idea, push it further, and see how it could translate to shapes and use of colour in this collection. For example, taking the idea of the fabric being traditionally wrapped and applying it on trousers, dresses, and skirts both for men and women.

Photo Handout to DNE

How would you describe your first experiment with menswear?

I decided to work on a collection that incorporates men’s and women’s wear for the first time this season. It is through that first exercise that I wanted to explore the idea of making masculine and feminine clothes that would work for both genders, such as the full-red look for men and the strong-shouldered men’s coat for women.

No gender means both genders. It means that things do not need to be exclusive. In fact, it could be the other way around.

I would like to dress men and women that have a strong sense of self and that are bold. They are interested in telling a story through their life, particularly their clothes. Furthermore, geography does not limit them as they are constantly on the go.

This constant stream of influence and diverse information that they receive make their eyes receptive and in demand of that kind of product.

Tell us more about the artisanal craftsmanship incorporated in Morphology?

This collection is one step closer to achieving my vision of a Middle Eastern luxury-fashion line sourcing from different countries around the region. This season took me from handwoven fabrics in Yemen to one of the last hand-weaving workshops in Egypt that specialises in cotton jacquards, cordonnés, and hand embroidery.

How did you find out about each one, and how did you manage to source them?

I find things by being very curious, continuously travelling, and not being afraid to ask everyone and anyone about where to find things. Sourcing is sometimes quite challenging because a lot of these artisans only have very basic forms of communication and accessibility; however, it all becomes worthy when I see the finished product.

Why did you choose the hand-woven fabrics of Akhmim?

There was something very contemporary yet nostalgic about their motifs and colour combinations. The owner of the factory was a kind man. I used to enjoy paying him visits and learning about the craft that has been passed on within his family from one generation to another.

The fabrics tell a beautiful story; meanwhile, they are optimum for making structured tailoured pieces.

If you can name a certain craft from each Arab country that you aim to incorporate in your designs, what would you choose?

Even long before I started, I have wanted to use Palestinian embroidery in my designs. I have met with several associations in Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon working with Palestinian women, and I have been waiting until the right moment comes along to integrate it with my work.

I believe that this step will take a lot of effort and time in order to be implemented correctly, and I want to do it justice. With that in mind, I have recently developed some contemporary motifs in collaboration with a Beirut-based design studio and cannot wait to start using them in the coming collection.

How can those crafts become more known and receive international fashion recognition?

It is about creating a beautiful product with an interesting story that people will want to buy and most importantly want to return for more. There is a lot of work beyond the craft. I am lucky to have studied fashion design in Paris, interned there for a few fashion houses, and worked as a stylist for a short period of time.

This taught me the importance of visual language as well as attention to details that has to be put into each garment and the way it is presented. I also loved the storytelling aspect of working as a stylist, which is something I use a lot in my work.

What can you tell us about your upcoming collection and near-future plans?

I am very excited to be part of a pop-up this summer in London with other UAE-based designers. The pop-up is organised by the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council of Sharjah and will take place at Fenwick’s of Bond Street from the 10 July until 10 September.

It will be my first time selling my designs in the UK. I am certainly looking forward to this experience and cannot wait to test the response of that market.

As for the collection I wish to continue exploring the region as well as keep finding new artisans and crafts I can work with to grow the collection step by step.

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Salma AlSaady encapsulates “Shades of Morocco” with leather masterpieces https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/14/salma-alsaady-encapsulates-shades-morocco-leather-masterpieces/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/14/salma-alsaady-encapsulates-shades-morocco-leather-masterpieces/#respond Wed, 14 Jun 2017 13:30:14 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=629099 She moves masterfully in her isolated workshop, where art transforms into lines engraved in leather and dipped in colors. While the music swirls out of her favorite speakers, her loose dress twirls following her passionate movement. Her working space is full of cluttered equipment, leather samples, colors and most importantly pictures of a charming country …

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She moves masterfully in her isolated workshop, where art transforms into lines engraved in leather and dipped in colors. While the music swirls out of her favorite speakers, her loose dress twirls following her passionate movement.

Her working space is full of cluttered equipment, leather samples, colors and most importantly pictures of a charming country beyond the boarder. Each frame captures the exotic architecture of Morocco’s hidden gems. While the blue dye speaks of Chefchaouen’s iconic walls, vibrant patterns narrate the stories of a souq in Marrakesh.

Salma AlSaady is an assistant lecturer that leaves the world of theatre criticism behind to allow her own stories to unfold on handmade leather goods. Her artistic designs vary between bags, shoes and silver jewelry.

According to the designer, her accessories are personal pieces of art that target specific individuals. “When I started developing this collection, I wanted to create something ‘unique’; each bag is different.” AlSaady added “Every design is only available in one piece because I want my customers to feel different. My main goal is to turn my designs into pieces of art.”

Photo Handout to DNE

For her very first cohesive collection, AlSaady decided to meet her target audience with a number of collector’s pieces inspired by Morocco. Each bag showcases an evident glimpse of the country’s architecture, jungle of colors and vibe of authenticity.

“I have always been mesmerized by Morocco. Its fascinating colors, patterns and structures have encouraged me to read books about its architecture,” AlSaady said while tracing the imprinted lines chronicling the country’s secrets on her bag.

The collection includes a carved backpack, which carries the hooks and loops seen on the doors scattered around Casablanca. A clutch holds in its small size the vigorous colors of Fez. “The coastal county has always been a source of inspiration to many artists. Matisse for example has many paintings inspired by his time in Morocco.” The designer added “for me it is not just about the colours and patterns; there is something spiritual about Morocco. Each city is different; yet, there is conspicuous harmony that links them all.”

Shades of Morocco offers a wide array of bags as well as a vintage-inspired pair of flats. The brown classics are a casual choice for those looking for a balance between artistic statement and practicality. Even though the country’s signature walls, markets and houses are present in each and every stitch, curve and pattern; the designer did not want to copy Morocco’s obvious landscape; instead, she embraced the details before expressing her personal narrative.

Alongside her original connotation of artistic concepts, AlSaady’s selection of premium materials is another factor that makes each bag a true carryable companion. The designer uses ethical genuine leather. In this collection, Morocco was brought to the heart of Cairo through vegetable-tanned leather, carving and filigree. “I love using genuine leather because while I am trying to create something that would last, it is a suitable and timeless material,” said the designer while proudly showcasing her hand-picked collection of leather.

AlSaady’s brand is an ethical brand that depends on local materials shaped by the designer herself; as she personally works on each and every item at her workshop in Heliopolis.

Her designs can often take a few hours, a week or much more depending on the details invested in each design. AlSaady remains keen on experimenting with new techniques; nonetheless, finding the fitting tools to master those intricate features is not normally an easy task. “In Egypt, it is not easy to implement unfamiliar techniques; it requires extra effort since we do not have the necessary tools for nontraditional craftsmanship and colours,” said the designer.

With a masters in theatre criticism and a deep interest in fine arts and architecture, AlSaady started designing her own silver jewelry in 2009. According to the designer, during her early years marketing was not a factor she considered, her main aim was to stray away from other designers and create designs that would stand out amid the competition. “When I first started making bags, I made bags that people would buy.”

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Camicie: a local ethical source for everyday fashion https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/14/camicie-local-ethical-source-everyday-fashion/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/14/camicie-local-ethical-source-everyday-fashion/#respond Wed, 14 Jun 2017 12:24:35 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=629095 We focus on designs and fabrics that are practical, easy to wear and can be equally dressed up or down for various occasions and according to every woman's taste: says designer

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A white shirt is a wardrobe fixture that can withstand trends, seasons and fashion movements. Renowned designers such as Karen Millen skyrocketed their careers by mastering the art of crisp shirts, but all brands still strive to add their own twists to the classic garment piece.

Puffed sleeves, collar details, wrapped silhouettes and many other variations have come and go to decorate the timeless staple. Nonetheless, the secret to a perfect shirt is lays in quality  and the fabric. These two specific attributes are the core of Camicie; a local fashion brand that has taken the concept of a shirt to a fashion-forward level. The brand’s name reflects their main specialty, the Arabic word for “my shirt.” The fresh concept was brought to life through the innovation of three sisters; Maha, Kinda, and Nada El-Azm.

The earthly color palette, light fabrics and figure-complementing cuts has made this particular brand the number one option for many more conservative Middle-Eastern women.

The Camicie brand also strives to offer ethical fashion; despite, the concept’s novelty in Egypt and the Middle East. Each piece is made of local fabrics, which the designers themselves source, then are tailored in a local workshop.

Daily News Egypt sat with designer Maha to discuss Camicie’s laid-back chic, ethical fashion, local materials and future plans.

What encouraged you to establish a fashion brand right after the revolution?

The Idea behind our brand had been brewing long before the revolution; however, it was further developed and encouraged by the general sense of patriotism as well as the desire to prove that the Egyptian fashion industry can be revived.

We always had a nostalgia for the era when Cairo was among the leading fashion and garment-manufacturing cities in the world.

Despite all production obstacles, we believe that with enough determination and perseverance we can manufacture high quality, simple and elegant pieces that are proudly made in Egypt.

Photo Handout to DNE

Tell us more about your fabrics. Do you depend on local or imported materials?

Our fabrics are mainly soft, easy to wear and of high quality. For our SS 2017 we used cotton, poplin, linen, gabardine and viscose woven fabrics that are suitable for the summer heat. We strive to source only the highest quality of the local fabrics for the majority of our pieces. Meanwhile, we source from local fabric importers, when we do not find suitable local options.

How much has the local market developed since your inception in 2012?

We believe that the local market had significantly grown to accommodate an increasing number of local designers. Additionally, customers have developed a taste and preference to proudly wear local designer pieces. This has also been further promoted by the recent economic conditions, which affected imported RTW garments and accessories; resulting in a dramatic increase of prices. It is safe to say that the Egyptian fashion scene is currently very promising and rapidly growing.

How would you define your label?

Our label is defined by its minimalist classic vibe mixed with an evident feminine touch. We focus on designs and fabrics that are practical, easy to wear and can be equally dressed up or down for various occasions and according to every woman’s taste. Our garments are also convenient for a wide age range; all the way from early 20s until mid 50s.

Would you consider your label ethical? 

Yes we do. The materials we use are environmentally friendly. We ensure that all personnel working on our garments are fairly treated and compensated.

We are very keen on maintaining the satisfaction of our customers and all the stakeholders associated with our company through listening to their needs and learning to accordingly improve our products and services.

What are the main factors that set your brand from any fast fashion brand?

We believe that the main factors that set Camicie apart from other brands are the following: first the style as we provide an elegant and simple; yet, a different style that is very trendy and practical at the same time. Secondly, the quality. We strive to provide the best possible quality in terms of finishing and materials. With that said, we remain committed to set our price range within a very reasonable and affordable bracket. Last but not least, we value the importance of impeccable customer service. We do our best to be very responsive to our customer queries and comments. Furthermore, we like to pamper them with fancy packaging and post-sale services whenever needed.

What is the main inspiration behind the new collection?

Our inspiration for this collection is every Middle-Eastern woman; who is strong, confident and who is not afraid to explore her girly romantic side. The collection demonstrates
diversity, versatility and practicality along with a touch of romantic femininity showcased through toned-down colors, ruffles and bows.

Which is your favorite piece out of this collection?

Our favorite piece would probably be one of our best sellers; which is the belted, crushed-sleeves linen jacket. The linen material is very fine and elegant; meanwhile, the fit seems to flatter almost every lady that has tried it.

What are your near-future plans?

We are in the process of developing our own website, which will include online shopping. We are also working on the fall/winter collection while exploring further brand-recognition options with the support of our PR agent: Flare PR.

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Slow Factory heals the world with fashion https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/08/slow-factory-heals-world-fashion/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/08/slow-factory-heals-world-fashion/#respond Thu, 08 Jun 2017 11:00:01 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=628302 The media portray the refugees in a pejorative way, and with our campaign we wanted to show another side of the story, says the designer

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One day after watching the latest news from around the world, Celine Semaan tweeted in 140 characters what is today known as an international fashion must have. The Lebanese designer wished to wrap the world with wearable art to remind humanity of the universe’s unity.

Semaan left NASA to bring the diversity of the universe right into the wardrobe of women around the world. Slow Factory is her fashion brainchild that aims to connect conflicting nations and shed light on major humanitarian crises.

Growing up as a Lebanese refugee in Canada gave the fashion entrepreneur honest insight on the tormenting results of political conflicts. Therefore, her fashion label aims to address the international catastrophe through the universal language of fashion.

Semaan’s keys of dignity have attracted global attention towards the Canada-based fashion label. The contemporary accessory originates from an old Middle Eastern tradition that was born in the heart of occupation.

For years, displaced Lebanese and Palestinian women have worn the keys of their original households around their necks in anticipation of the day they finally return. The trending necklace, Dignity Key, is a silver replica of Semaan’s household key.

The necklace does not only aim to raise awareness of the increasing number of refugees, but is the core of an ongoing charity project that aims to provide job opportunities to many in need.

Photo handout to DNE

Daily News Egypt talked with the entrepreneurial fashion designer to learn more about her inspiration, how she managed to spread awareness regarding her authentic concept, and the impact Slow Factory has managed to create.

What encouraged you to establish your brand?

I always thought fashion has purpose and a meaning. Whether you wear a scarf, a hoodie, baggy pants, a leather jacket, or a beret; all these have meaning and express something beyond just your personality.

Slow Factory was designed out of a necessity to explore the connection between fashion and activism.

When NASA joined Creative Commons, where I was working as Community Lead, a spark occurred in my head and I tweeted: “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could wrap people in a silk print of the universe and the world so they stop killing each other?”

I got such an encouraging response, that I took it on as a challenge to make it happen.

How did you come up with the main concept behind the dignity key?

My family and I fled Beirut on a refugee status when I was a child; when we returned in the 90’s after a temporary ceasefire, I began exploring my country from the perspective of an expat teenager.

I saw grandmothers wearing an old key as a necklace, and I asked my mother what it is about? She explained that it was a Palestinian tradition to wear the key of the home that you have left behind as a symbol of hope.

This idea inspired me to mold the key of my home in Beirut and to turn it into a symbol that raises awareness and funds in support of the refugee crisis.

What was the main message that you aimed to send through the dignity keys?

A message of hope, dignity, and respect. A symbol that ties us all together and connects us in solidarity.

Photo Handout to DNE

How did you manage to deliver such a foreign concept to the western markets?

It was not an easy job, to be honest; it took a lot of work to get the western market to care.

Since the refugee crisis has been declared by the UNHCR as the biggest humanitarian crisis since WWII, the media had to pay attention to it.

It took me a lot of perseverance and courage to carry this message through.

Tell us more about your collaboration with ANERA. So far, how many children have benefited from this collaboration?

ANERA is a small but agile team of amazing people who work tirelessly in order to make a positive impact in the world.

So far we have had the chance to meet dozens of young adults, who have benefited from the programme we help fund. They have created careers and jobs to support their families after receiving the vocational trainings.

5,345 Syrians and Palestinians have enrolled in this programme in Lebanon alone.

How far did the increasing fear of refugees impact your brand?

We created the REFUGEE sweatshirt—despite the raging hatred—in order to inspire empathy and to attempt to put a different kind of image on the refugee crisis.

The media portray the refugees in a pejorative way, and with our campaign we wanted to show another side of the story—something the world needs to see.

How many artisans do you currently employ? What are your main criteria when recruiting them?

We work in collaboration and partnerships with local artisans. So far we have worked with family-owned factories in Beirut and Italy.

Our criteria are sustainable, fair-trade, green manufacturing, and overall eco-friendly practices. We also require certifications.

Furthermore, we visit the factories and establish a relationship of trust with our partners.

How much did your upbringing as a refugee impact your career and aesthetic as a designer?

My entire childhood I tried so hard to fit in my predominantly white school and neighborhood.

I lived with a lot of confusion and shame about my Arab identity and upbringing. As I grew older, I began to find my path; empowerment and healing came into play in various forms.

One of them being in design and creativity. Feeling empowered is what inspires me now to help others gain their dignity back.

What is the main element refugees currently need? How can the common public help?

There are many things refugees need on a basic human-rights level: basic needs, such as access to water, food, hygiene etc.

There are many organizations helping. Nonetheless, what I think the public can do is treat them with respect and dignity as people who have escaped suffering from atrocious conditions.

The public has the responsibility to talk about this issue, get informed, and inform others in hope of inspiring people to have more empathy—rather than criticism—toward this cause.

What are the main cities that you aim to add to “Cities by Night”? Why?

We have an addition to the “Cities by Night” collection, a view from space of the seven banned countries by the current administration of the United States of America. The scarf shows Sudan, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Iran, and Iraq at night with the word “BANNED” crossed out. The scarf is raising funds to support the “no ban” legal battle by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

How can common people, designers or not, use fashion in the face of current islamophobia and hatred against refugees? How can fashion be turned into an weapon of activism?

Activism is about educating yourself about an issue and then giving yourself tools to help this issue.

It can start with inclusion—including other people outside your race, giving them a voice, or collaborating with people who live outside your comfort zone.

Fashion is a tool—not a weapon—to inspire social and environmental change.

After scarves and jewelry, what other garments and/or pieces of accessories do you aim to experiment with in the near future, why?

We are working on an apparel collection made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles turned into thread. The final denim is revolutionary and gorgeous. Meanwhile, we also plan to expand into footwear by 2018.

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Okhtein opens an oasis of carryable art  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/01/okhtein-opens-oasis-carryable-art/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/01/okhtein-opens-oasis-carryable-art/#respond Thu, 01 Jun 2017 11:00:27 +0000 http://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=627538 While one of them welcomes the guests with her natural warm smile, the other one roams the store, frantically adjusting the bags and supervising the team behind the counter: the two Abdelraouf sisters welcomed their Cairo-based clients at their first flagship store. Mounaz and Aya are the region’s favourite sister couple to take the fashion …

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While one of them welcomes the guests with her natural warm smile, the other one roams the store, frantically adjusting the bags and supervising the team behind the counter: the two Abdelraouf sisters welcomed their Cairo-based clients at their first flagship store.

Mounaz and Aya are the region’s favourite sister couple to take the fashion industry by storm. After winning the Vogue fashion prize and becoming Gigi Hadid’s favourite everyday brand, the sisters came back to the heart of Zamalek to celebrate their biggest milestone to date.

“We wanted people to start interacting with our bags while purchasing them. We have realised that, yes, people trust our overall service; but they would still rather look at the bag, touch it, feel its texture, and try it on. Accordingly, it only made sense with what we are trying to establish as a very big brand name that we have our own flagship store; this is where the idea came from,” said Mounaz.

After years of following the brand’s updates and new releases through social media and international media platforms, the brand’s loyal fans were greeted by the sisters as they walked each and every client through the details of their store as well as the story behind the award-winning collection.

“We have always known that we wanted to have our own store. We had an image in our heads almost four years ago. Nonetheless, physically speaking, we started working on it eight months ago—and, finally, this came to life,” said Mounaz.

According to the sisters, the store is an exact replica of the vision they have always had in mind years ago. The store’s interior is a representation of the brand’s aesthetic and timeless designs.

“Basically, our logo is black and white; meanwhile, we always tend to add shades of pink or nude in our bags. Accordingly, our brand and store is black and white with a bit of a feminine colour. We used very expensive materials, such as marble and brass, as these reflect the high-end nature of our bags. Then we focused on the details, including the pink cactus, the door, and display. In other words, while walking around, you basically feel like a part of the Okhtein world,” said Mounaz.

As for the location, Okhtein has chosen to start what is anticipated to become an international web of branches from Degla centre in Zamalek. The low-key shopping destination is already the home of few local gems, such as Amina K and Vertan.

“I think that Degla is a very cute centre. We are surrounded by other emerging designers, which is great. It just felt like the right decision to take,” said Mounaz.

As for their current plans, the sisters aim to continue spreading their carryable magic to every corner of the world. After adding many renowned global names to their database of clients and taking centre focus in many world-class publications, the sisters also aim to have a chain of flagship stores to include every big fashion capital.

“The next store is set to be outside Egypt as we are only focused on having one flagship store in Egypt and do not need more. However, we might relocate when the brand gets bigger; but, for now, our four-year plan is to keep this store as it is,” said Mounaz.

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L’Azur: Aiisha’s ocean and Amin’s blooming flowers  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/01/lazur-aiishas-ocean-amins-blooming-flowers/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/06/01/lazur-aiishas-ocean-amins-blooming-flowers/#respond Thu, 01 Jun 2017 10:00:58 +0000 http://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=627536 The collection embodies clean lines for morning cocktail events and expands to more intricate hand-made evening gowns, some of which consist of 42,000 crystals and countless hours of hand embroidery, says Amin

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Nature is a rich source of inspiration that keeps on giving new details and concepts every season. While flowers are a stable concept for the spring season, they have only been given justice by a very limited number of designers.

Sami Amin is a local accessory designer with a wide base of loyal fans. Over the span of a long and well-established career, the designer has captured the country’s most renowned monuments and natural gems through his artistic creations.

On the other hand, Aiisha Ramadan is a woman of effortless statements that target confident women. The Lebanese designer is well-known for her smart silhouettes and modern style.

Earlier this week, the two powerhouses joined forces to introduce a must-have collection for any fashion fanatic. While the monochromic garments resembled the unstoppable waves of the ocean, the accessories embodied the beauty of blooming nature.

L’Azur collection by Aiisha Ramadan marks the designer’s 2018 masterpieces. The pan-Arab designer approached Amin a few months ago for a collaboration worthy of the Arab Fashion Week runway.

The brass and leather bags simulated growing gardens that blossom on the hands of the carrier; meanwhile, it also embraced the ocean’s most precious gems, pearls, and crystals.

Daily News Egypt sat with Sami Amin to talk collaborations, experimenting with new materials, and targeting a pan-Arab audience.

What was the main inspiration behind these designs?

The inspiration came from Aiisha Ramadan’s theme for her new collection, L’Azur.

Ramadan believes in the positive and magical power of the sea, whereby every design became the outcome of a journey under the sea among mysterious creatures with a majestic beauty.

Inspired by the deep treasures of the sea, a variety of colours danced together primarily in shades of blues and reds. Nonetheless, these colours did not drift far away from Aiisha’s favoured shades of white and black.

The collection embodies clean lines for morning cocktail events and expands to more intricate hand-made evening gowns, some of which consisted of 42,000 crystals and countless hours of hand embroidery.

Do you have a certain favourite piece?

They are all amazing, each in its own way. The collaboration for us was very unique and the fact that Sami used crystals and pearls was challenging at the beginning; but, this was Aiisha’s direction, and we fell in love with the outcome.

However, I believe that if we have to choose a piece, it will be the big flowers bag and the bracelet; they are very artistic.

How would you define the woman that would opt for these unique bags?

A woman that wants to stand out and be the centre of attention; someone who appreciates art and would be happy to wear a piece of art to complement her beauty.

What encouraged you to work with Aiisha Ramadan in particular?

Aiisha is one of our most admired clients. After buying several pieces from the Alexandria collection, she approached us for a collaboration.

She loved the brand, the spirit, the handmade work and the designs; accordingly, she was confident that we could do something together.

At the beginning, we were hesitant because the direction was different from our work. Meanwhile, it was also our first time to incorporate crystals and pearls. Nonetheless, we loved the outcome and loved dealing with Aiisha.

On the other hand, we are absolutely happy to introduce Sami Amin to the Arab fashion week through her brand and through the “Aiisha by Sami Amin” collaboration.

Why did you decide to showcase this collaboration at the Arab fashion week?

It is one of the biggest five fashion weeks in the world, and Aiisha participates in it every season; accordingly, we trusted her choice.

The Arab Fashion Week in Dubai is the only platform in the Middle East that showcases resort and pre-fall collections, the two most important seasons.

What did this collaboration add to Sami Amin as a brand?

We are still in the middle of the collaboration; therefore, we will have to wait and watch. However, we will definitely work with crystals and pearls again in our new collections.

Meanwhile, implementing something that fits both aesthetics was a challenging and beneficial creative exercise.

After a successful collaboration, should we expect more in the near future?

Yes for sure! Usually the first collaboration is the hardest and most challenging—but now, after a successful trial, we will be keener to collaborate with more entities.

Tell us more about the creative and manufacturing process of this collaboration? 

The main idea of the bag was inspired by Sami Amin’s Quran bag, which was first introduced as part of the classic collection.

She liked it and suggested designing a similar concept, but more like a cage with elements from the Alexandria collection. After he designed it, she loved it and decided that the two brands should work together on a line of bags that has the same aesthetic but with more premium and sophisticated details, hence the crystals and pearls.

The general dynamic during this collaboration was an equal creative relation between Aiisha and Sami as both added their personal inputs until this outcome came to life.

This collection is set to be sold in Egypt and Dubai. Did this new market impact the designs?

I am not sure if the designs were in fact affected by the markets. I believe it was more of an artistic experience that was meant to capture the interest of whoever sees it anywhere.

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“Bambah” and “Ballerinas of Cairo” bring retro magic to the streets of Cairo  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/25/bambah-ballerinas-cairo-bring-retro-magic-streets-cairo/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/25/bambah-ballerinas-cairo-bring-retro-magic-streets-cairo/#respond Thu, 25 May 2017 11:00:58 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=626756 "Bambah’s pieces are also very energetic and tend to move very well, so we thought no one could do them justice like a beautiful ballerina roaming around the streets of Cairo," says designer

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Cairo is full of elaborate destinations that document the various eras this country has gone through. With historical events preserved at every corner and renowned buildings and streets that have witnessed the country’s most impactful moments in time.

While inspired by the golden age of fashion and couture, Bambah is a modern brand that caters to nostalgic women, who would always favour a classic silhouette over a time-restrained trend.

The Dubai-based brand has come back for yet another charming shoot in the heart of Cairo in celebration of the new season. In collaboration with the country’s most graceful representatives, Bambah took timeless fashion to the streets of Cairo.

The fashion brand reached out to the enchanting Ballerinas of Cairo to dance the summer away in buffed dresses and floral prints. The professional dancers were dressed by the brand and captured performing for a one of a kind campaign.

The graceful moves were a perfect match to the classic silhouettes. While Ballerinas of Cairo is a celebrated movement in support of spreading art and beauty in the streets, Bambah is an advocate for bringing back the magic of Cinema’s golden era.

In a matter of a few hours, the campaign managed to attract outstanding attention. It is safe to say that the images were a respectable representation of the two parties, as well as the country itself. The images capture the ballerinas floating gracefully while the dresses obeyingly follow their gestures.

Daily News Egypt talked with Maha Abdul Rasheed, founder of Bambah, to learn more about the campaign, the selected dresses, and the massive feedback she has received after such artistic collaboration.

Photo Handout to DNE

What encouraged you to work with Ballerinas of Cairo?

As an Egyptian, I was so impressed and mesmerised with Ballerinas of Cairo’s work and how they bring out the beauty of our country. I immediately imagined how gorgeous it would be to showcase Bambah’s gowns and iconic pieces, which move effortlessly, on such a lovely backdrop.

I loved the mix of the elaborate and antique buildings with our modern day twist and the ’50s silhouettes.

Bambah’s pieces are also very energetic and tend to move very well, so we thought no one could do them justice like a beautiful ballerina roaming around the streets of Cairo!

What area did you choose to shoot at? 

We wanted to shoot in some of Cairo’s most iconic landmarks, including Moez Street, Qasr el Nile Bridge, Korba, and Downtown. They are incredibly rich with culture and history. In my opinion, they are the best reflection and representative of Cairo’s beauty.

What did you plan to communicate through this particular campaign?

I would love for the world to see how beautiful my country is and to celebrate its incredible talent and creative drive.

You get inspired and recharged with so much energy just by simply walking down the streets and exploring their charm—this is something that I really wanted to highlight through this project.

How would you evaluate the feedback so far?

The feedback has been incredible! It is so lovely and heartwarming to see it being very well received.

Egyptians and non-Egyptians alike have expressed their love for the campaign and have flooded us with the best of comments. We feel so honoured to have contributed to something that has spread so much love and awareness for our country, Egypt.

The video got around 1 million views only on Facebook.

Photo Handout to DNE

Why did you choose to shoot another campaign in Egypt despite being based in Dubai?

As a Dubai-based Egyptian, I always jump on any opportunity to get involved with Egypt and its incredible talent. Even though I have never really lived in Egypt, I have always been drawn to its authenticity and buzzing atmosphere.

I love the chaos of the city and all the different landscapes and escape resorts that it has. There is so much history and hidden treasures that take you on a wonderful adventure.

The overall vibe is a very happy cheerful one and the country is just so colourful and full of beautiful, confident women that dress for who they are. Meanwhile, this is the highlight of the campaign and the main element that I really wanted to bring out in the pieces.

What did you add to Bambah through the new collection?

We wanted to portray the ‘best of Bambah’ for this particular shoot; starting from the first season, SS15, till our latest FW17, which has not been fully revealed to the public yet.

It was almost like a celebration of our achievements to date, as each piece represents a very special moment that I would love to cherish forever. As our pieces are timeless classics, it was important to highlight the best styles that were received so well by our customers.

It is almost like an archive or a little exhibition reminding my team and I of all the wonderful moments we spent while designing each piece. Every Bambah dress occupies a very special place in my heart and if it was up to me, I would have showcased the entire line!

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Ronaldo’s family arrives in Egypt to attend region’s biggest aqua park https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/18/ronaldos-family-arrives-egypt-attend-regions-biggest-aqua-park/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/18/ronaldos-family-arrives-egypt-attend-regions-biggest-aqua-park/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 15:06:26 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=625983 They will witness the opening of El-Batros Aqua Park in Sharm El-Sheikh

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The family of Portuguese football legend Cristiano Ronaldo arrived Egypt to attend the region’s biggest water park on Friday.

They arrived with Egyptian businessman Kamel Abo Ali in order to witness the opening of El-Batros Aqua Park, which is located in Sharm El-Sheikh. The new park includes a new hotel constructed with investments that exceed EGP 1 billion.

According to a press release sent by the president of the Red Sea Tourism Investment Association, Kamel Abo Aly, the aqua park covers 80,000 square metres.

Pictures of them visiting the Pyramids as well as the Egyptian Museum before heading to South Sinai went viral among social media users.

Ronaldo’s family is not the first to visit Egypt, for their visit comes two months after superstar Will Smith visited Cairo with his family to spend a couple of days visiting the Pyramids.

Earlier this year in February, Lionel Messi also paid Egypt a one day visit to support the country’s medical campaign to fight Hepatitis C.

Ronaldo's family arrives to Egypt

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La Reina Exchange: a method for affordable designer gowns https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/17/la-reina-exchange-method-affordable-designer-gowns/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/05/17/la-reina-exchange-method-affordable-designer-gowns/#respond Wed, 17 May 2017 10:00:04 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=625694 The main concept is about expanding your closet without keeping up with the investment terms of expanding, says founder

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“I have nothing to wear” is a sentence often repeated by many around the globe every morning. It is also a continuous nightmare for every woman ahead of each and every big event.

Flaunting a new dress to significant occasions is a fashion goal that all women strive to achieve; some might work towards it, while others would surrender to fashion recycling. With the recent price increase and import restrictions, that goal has become even more difficult for local women.

This week, a new cyber hero came to rescue many fashion-forward women that have a difficulty affording their expensive taste and event-studded schedule. La Reina Exchange is a new website that allows local women to trade their designer wardrobes.

While it allows many to flaunt designer dresses on a rental basis, it also gives others the chance to monetise their biggest fashion investments. The website is a local startup based on the idea of rental evening gowns.

Photo Handout to DNE

Ghada El-Tanawy and Amr Diab are two entrepreneurs that started changing the face of local fashion a year ago. After an intensive research left them shocked of skyrocketing prices of bridal gowns, the two started by launching La Reina, a website dedicated to rental designer bridal gowns.

Their first digital startup allowed many women to get their dream dress for a much more affordable price; meanwhile, it has generated money for formal brides that had their valuable gowns collecting dust in the closets.

After an eventful first year, the duo has expanded their horizons to include evening gowns as well. La Reina Exchange is their second project, set to change the way local women prepare for important events.

The new website has a cohesive merge between foreign high-end brands and local designer-made dresses. Accordingly, it accommodates various tastes and budgets.

Daily News Egypt sat with El-Tanawy to talk fashion, monetising garments, and local market awareness.

What is the main concept behind La Reina Exchange?

The main concept is about expanding your closet without keeping up with the investment terms of expanding. It is an invitation for fashion fanatics to look fresh, unique, and fancy at every event that they attend and keep their fashion investment for luxurious items that they plan to keep for a while.

Fashion keeps changing every now and then, and nobody can keep up with its frantic pace.

How far did the current economic changes impact your decision to establish La Reina Exchange?

The devaluation of currency was the main motive behind this project. We suddenly found that the brands we were used to buying for regular events, that have been previously affordable, have suddenly become too expensive over night!

It suddenly made no sense to invest more than EGP 10,000 in a dress just to attend a regular wedding or event.

La Reina Exchange is a new concept; an alternative. This gives everyone that owns a relatively large closet, which they have spent a lot on, a chance to monetise it. At the same time, you can look fresh and fancy with a new gown every time without borrowing your friends’ dresses.

You do not have to be a social butterfly to ensure having a new dress for every occasion.

Photo Handout to DNE

What has the past year taught you about the local understanding of renting garments?

People have accepted the concept of renting a bridal dress, though it is much harder to rent such a sentimental gown. However, we are becoming much smarter shoppers now. You are basically left with two options: you either get something off the shelf and end up feeling regular, or you compromise a little bit and share a designer dress with a very limited group of brides.

When you take something off the shelf, you are also not the only person that wore this exact design; hundreds around the world have already worn it.

On the other hand, it is a real accomplishment to see how people make money out of their dresses and how they are exceptionally happy because they managed to monetise something that has been collecting dust in the closet; it impacts their lives.

Everyone is talking about La Reina, but each group of friends starts dealing with us after the first initiative from one of the group’s members. We have even created an exclusive collection that is not showcased online. We are accepting the people’s concerns at the very beginning and we are betting on the fact that people change once they get used to new concepts.

Before La Reina, they were completely against the concept; now they are doing it, but not in public. However, in the near future, they will say it with pride.

Who are the main designers currently available on the website?

We have dresses straight from the designer house. Gowns from designers such as Amany El-Cherief, Nihal Khalifa, Sara El-Razaz, and Inas Abo El-Komsan. Basically, through this section on the website, we cater for a clientele that wants to be seen in those dresses first.

Rather than going to the designer and buying one authentic piece, they can rent four or five through La Reina Exchange. Nonetheless, they can still be the first one to wear it straight from the designer house—the alterations will even be made at the designer’s atelier, only for a premium price.

This is also an opportunity for the designers to reach a new audience. Many people fear investing a budget in a new designer that they have not dealt with before. This encourages customers to try new designers more often.

Meanwhile, we have another category that includes designers such as Dior, Chanel, LV, Zuhair Murad, Armani, Iman Saab, etc.

We have a wide selection of designers—local and international. We are trying to support local designers; therefore, we try to keep the majority of our collections locally made. Nonetheless, part of our launch plan is to move towards the Middle East with the main focus on each country’s local brands.

How do you filter your clients?

For the bridal line, we have a form that all potential clients have to fill in ahead of the process. For example, we have a specific list of hotels that we cater to, and all brides have to choose the venue, because we want to keep a certain image and standard.

For La Reina Exchange, we also aim to have a firm filtering process that we are still working on. We cannot leave it accessible for everyone, because neither the designers nor the dress owners would want their gowns to be seen on anyone.

Photo Handout to DNE

Why are you separating La Reina Exchange from La Reina on the online website?

Bridal shopping is a very unique experience. You need to have the full designer experience, from stepping into a specialised space to having a stylist helping you find your dream dress and having a team to deal with you through your bridezilla moments, plus all the necessary fitting appointments.

However, in La Reina Exchange, the client is often outgoing, fun, and fast. She wants to look fresh, young, and fashionable all the time. She just needs to order the dress online and get it delivered to her house.

How far does the local market currently support fashion startups?

Almost two years ago, when we started our survey for La Reina in general, the majority of people did not give us much attention as we talked about designer dresses. However, if you are keeping an eye on the rapid expansion of local designers in the market, you will realise that the number of eligible designers is growing aggressively every year.

Each person currently values looking authentic in a designer piece. We no longer have online websites and social-media accounts that promote designer copies. The local market currently supports Egyptian designers with extended pride.

Now walking into a regular dinner feels like stepping into a red-carpet event, just because everyone is dressed up from the latest local designers.

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8th season of Fashion Evolution https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/04/27/8th-season-fashion-evolution/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/04/27/8th-season-fashion-evolution/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:01:36 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=623456 Cairo Fashion Festival April 27th – 29th, 2017

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Cairo Fashion Festival (CFF), in collaboration with Cairo Festival City Mall (CFCM), is back this April—brought to you by “selfie expert Oppo camera phone”—celebrating the eighth season of Fashion Evolution. The festival takes place from 27 to 29 April 2017 at CFCM Festival Amphitheater!cff
Cairo Fashion Festival is a three day extravaganza featuring both leading and emerging designers from the region. The festival is mostly known for scouting fashion talents, and this season they will showcase fresh, talented designers as usual. As for international designers this season, Cairo Fashion Festival and Cairo Festival City Mall present to you the breathtaking designs of Hama Designs, which have captured the eyes of the beautiful Queen Rania of Jordan and other royalty.
The theme of this season is inspired by carnivals and amusement park vibes that embody a fashion wonderland, with its soft, white, pastel, and vintage vibes. The fashion shows and presentations will feature the SS’17 and FW’17/18 collections from top Egyptian, regional and international fashion designers and brands.
For the start of the festival, CFF has joined forces with the top exhibitors to create a brilliant bazaar, with over 20 exhibitors in the mall’s Festival Promenade. The bazaar will run from 10:00am till 12:00am, without any invitations needed. Everyone can enjoy an endless day of shopping from a huge variety of unique exhibitors.
On 28 April, the exclusive event will include more than ten runway shows, non-stop fashion presentations, and a glamorous red carpet. Needless to say, the show’s lineup will blow your wardrobe dream and introduce you to the top fashion trends in hair and makeup beautifully styled by Kriss Beauty Salon.
As per tradition, Cairo Fashion Festival will take place in the ever-so-grand Cairo Festival City Mall—strategically located in the spacious outdoor arena. Luckily, shoppers at the mall can also enjoy the show live on Cairo Festival City Mall’s mega screens.
CFF, in cooperation with CFCM, will give major support this season, as they have collaborated for the second time in a row with the best fashion university worldwide, London College of Fashion. CFF will give the opportunity to one of the festival’s designers to attend the university for a short course fully funded by Cairo Festival City Mall
DHL once again has tapped into the fashion industry and has created a global international campaign around upcoming fashion designers. DHL has joined forces with CFF to create a heated competition among all the designers, with a grand prize to be announced at the end of the event.
The red carpet event this year will be welcoming over 3,000 VIP guests, ranging from global media representatives to society’s top fashion elite.
CFF’s management expressed their happiness with their collaboration with CFCM for the 8th time, in addition to their partnership with “selfie expert Oppo camera phone” for the first time this season.
Sam Hosn, the general manager of Cairo Festival City Mall, has said, “CFCM is always keen to support the Egyptian fashion industry and the young entrepreneurs to help make Egypt’s future a brighter one. CFCM’s 2nd grant to the London College of Fashion is just one more way we are able to help the fashion industry, by giving a fashion designer the tools to become their best in fashion worldwide.”
Omar Madkour,the CEO of CFF, also stated that he and the whole festival team are grateful to all their partners and sponsors, as they have helped in taking the event to higher level, and he assured that it

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Cairo Wedding Festival season 2: bringing bridal dreams to life https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/04/27/cairo-wedding-festival-season-2-bringing-bridal-dreams-life/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/04/27/cairo-wedding-festival-season-2-bringing-bridal-dreams-life/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:30:41 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=623349 Weddings are a life-long dream for many people around the country. The long-anticipated night includes an endless number of details and necessities that future brides and grooms spend months looking for. After a very successful season last year, Cairo Wedding Festival (CWF) came back for a second season last weekend at Uptown Cairo. From gowns …

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Weddings are a life-long dream for many people around the country. The long-anticipated night includes an endless number of details and necessities that future brides and grooms spend months looking for.

After a very successful season last year, Cairo Wedding Festival (CWF) came back for a second season last weekend at Uptown Cairo. From gowns to jewelry, flowers, invitation cards, photographers, and even dentists, the event’s long list of exhibitors did not leave any wedding-related detail out.

“For our second season, we want to go bigger, better, and more luxurious. We wanted to focus on the vendors, fashion, and wedding trends of the year. We wanted to bring the best of the best in the industry. We have lots of exhibitors that offer a diversity of products and services, something that couples nowadays highly seek. All young couples want things that are different and unique,” said Morien Ghaly, social media specialist for CWF.

With each booth showcasing a different related product, the exhibitors have also competed to stand out further. The team behind CWF has given each exhibitor the chance to decorate their booths, which led to a diversity of bridal display.

On the other hand, the second season also has a fashion show, related entertainment, and A-list celebrities among the front row audience.

“Basically, we aim to curate an area where brides and grooms can find all of what they need. Furthermore, we also help them through offers, prizes, and discounts—courtesy of our exhibitors. We try to make the whole pre-wedding process far easier for them,” said Ghaly.

The event hosted 80 exhibitors and four fashion shows, including Raghda Helal and Amira Khazamy, who showcased their couture collections, as well as Bridal Veil, which presented its selection of imported bridal gowns, and, finally, Botros jewelry.

“We always aim to put brides at the core of our interests and plans. Every year, we plan to offer her more to meet her needs. Brides want a fairytale wedding; meanwhile, they also want to have something different. We offer as much diversity as possible. We are always keen on choosing exhibitors that meet a wide variety of brides,” said Ghaly.

According to the team, their main goal during the second event was to raise awareness regarding their work and position CWF as the wedding hub in the Middle East. Through their selection of partners and services, they reached out to brides and grooms that are currently in the process of planning their own weddings.

“We mainly chose Uptown Cairo for the open-air atmosphere; even though, today was extremely hot. But, in this atmosphere we get to equally enjoy the sunset as well as the fireworks show,” said Ghaly.

Despite the unstable weather, the crowd enjoyed the clear sky and light breeze at night, while the entertainment lineup unfolded.  According to the organisers, the fresh and open aesthetic is highly linked to how they aim to present themselves. “This is the atmosphere we seek: glamorous and relaxing, where you will mingle with your friends and network while enjoying the night,” said Ghaly.

By the end of the glittery night, the team added that they are already working on the upcoming season. “As soon as we finished the first event last October, we took a few weeks off; then we started working on this season right away. We already have upcoming ideas for the coming season. We never stop; we are always working and searching for the next big thing,” concluded Ghaly.

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Sandra Mansour: international fashion talent on the rise https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/04/27/sandra-mansour-international-fashion-talent-rise/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/04/27/sandra-mansour-international-fashion-talent-rise/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:00:17 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=623346 “Rudolf Bauer, the avant-garde German painter, was also a huge reference in the Doux Reves collection,” says designer

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She is a strong woman that believes in the power of dreams. She enjoys a calm morning among the city’s most iconic artistic attractions. Each line and each frame is a close friend that she grew up gazing into.

While she appreciates art, she also sees beauty in the sharpness of geometry; she cannot help but fall for the simplicity of straight lines and the balance of rectangles.

Even though she appreciates practicality, she often fails to ignore a well-embroidered tulle fabric. She is a fashion aficionado, who waits from season to season to wear Sandra Mansour’s latest designs.

Mansour is the region’s new fashion star that has managed to attract increasing attention across the Arab world, as well as in Europe and the US.

Despite the region’s intensive appreciation of couture fashion, Mansour specialises in ready-to–wear (RTW). Unlike the region’s well-known list of international designers, Mansour prefers creating affordable garments that could be restyled and shuffled multiple times.

After launching a couple of successful collections, her aesthetic effortlessly captured many women across the globe.

While being based in Lebanon, Mansour regularly showcases her new masterpieces at Paris Fashion Week (PFW). On the other hand, she is also a favourite of many international clients due to her presence on the world-wide acclaimed ecommerce website, Moda Operandi.

Even though it is widely known that the fashion industry is often linked to cities such as New York, Paris or Milan; Mansour is keen on maintaining her brand in the heart of her home land. According to the designer, building a successful global brand in Lebanon further adds to her aesthetic and long-term goals.

With that said, the young designer favours a simple and dreamy taste. Nonetheless, her work is widely known for smart details, intricate fabrics, and eye-catching embellishments.

Daily News Egypt talked with Mansour to learn more about her RTW label, bridal designs, and upcoming plans.

How would you define your aesthetic?

Elegant and effortless.

What made you establish your brand in Lebanon, despite studying in Paris and regularly showcasing your collections at PFW?

I came back to Lebanon for several reasons. The essential one being it’s thriving with inspiration; the colours and the people; one can’t help but be inspired.

Another aspect was the craftsmanship. Lebanese tailors are some of the best in the world, and they helped me and my vision come to life. It was also very important for me to be recognised as a Lebanese designer, as it was evident that the market was growing and I wanted to be a part of it.

Who is the Sandra Mansour bride?

She is soft, elegant, and strong. All bridal gowns are made to measure, so the brides I work with are beautiful, strong women with a very firm sense of what they want and what they aspire to look like on their wedding day.

Why did you favour specialising in RTW rather than couture?

I love RTW and couture, but with RTW, I create pieces that can be translated into individual outfits day and night. On the other hand, with couture, you are limited to dramatic pieces that are not as easy to wear.

How did being available on Moda Operandi affect your brand?

Moda Operandi gave me exposure, especially in the US market. Working with them has also allowed me to experiment with different design possibilities. For instance, we have teamed up to create capsule collections; our most recent being a Kaftan Capsule collection for Ramadan.

Tell us more about your FW17/18 collection. What was your main inspiration behind it and what are the main stories that you aimed to communicate through it?

Surrealism played a great role in our FW 17/18 collection; it was inspired by the manipulations of art and fabric.

Using the technique of fabric patchwork re-embroidered together to create a story, expresses the interpretation of every individual in each piece.

Rudolf Bauer, the avant-garde German painter, was also a huge reference in the Doux Reves collection, as geometric shapes came to life while interpreting dreams and their repetition.

What is your favourite trend for FW17/18?

I try not to follow trends; I really try to set my own for myself and the brand.

What are your near-future plans?

A ready-to-wear bridal line and a boutique that envisions the Sandra Mansour journey.

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Sandbox opens the boundaries of autism https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/04/20/sandbox-opens-boundaries-autism/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/04/20/sandbox-opens-boundaries-autism/#respond Thu, 20 Apr 2017 10:00:23 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=622507 Art is a common method of self-expression. Even though forms of this expression may vary from one person to another, based on talent or preference, it remains one of the most evident non-verbal methods of communication. Autism is a daily challenge that one million Egyptian citizen go through every minute of every day. While many …

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Art is a common method of self-expression. Even though forms of this expression may vary from one person to another, based on talent or preference, it remains one of the most evident non-verbal methods of communication.

Autism is a daily challenge that one million Egyptian citizen go through every minute of every day.

While many stereotypes interfere with the way autism is understood and perceived, the society often falls into the trap of applying further isolation upon autistic individuals.

Sandbox has highlighted many causes since its inception

Sandbox has highlighted many causes since its inception

Sandbox is a local jewellery brand that aims to prove the importance of art communication. Suhayla Al Sheikh is an artistic visionary that considers jewellery to be the most intimate form of art.

Since establishing Sandbox, Al Sheikh has tackled a few contemporary causes and dilemmas, including women empowerment, as well as the political turmoil taking place in Syria and Iraq.

This season the designer aimed to take her personal form of communication to those who need it the most.

Through a limited-edition design in collaboration with the Egyptian Autistic Society (EAS) and advertising agency Momentum Egypt in EAS’s sixth campaign, the designer opened a communication portal with mothers of autistic children.

The designed necklace embraces the international symbol of autism, while highlighting the names of the mother and her kid. Meanwhile, she has also created a second variation that supports the cause without highlighting any names—in an invitation for more people to join the movement.

Daily News Egypt sat with Al Sheikh to talk design, communication through jewellery, and the contemporary causes that need instant support.

Why did you choose the design’s main shape to be a puzzle piece?

The puzzle piece is autism’s main symbol worldwide. It reflects the mystery and complexity of autism. It reflects the puzzling condition of autism, and the hope of being able to fit in.

Initially, we agreed with the Egyptian Autistic Society and Momentum on incorporating the symbol. It was a main condition from the start.

On a further note, for me, it was very important to use this renowned symbol, so that the design is recognisable as a jewellery piece in support of the cause.

Incorporating the puzzle piece also makes the design much more intimate to those who deal with autism; more than any other design.

What are the main stones used in this limited-edition design?

Blue is a sign of hope for autism. The entire campaign we did in collaboration with the EAS and Momentum Egypt revolved around the colour blue.

Therefore, to incorporate this element of hope into the design, I decided to use a blue stone as part of the design, implemented in the crushed stone technique used in Sandbox designs.

There are various blue stones; however, the kyanite stone is believed to bridge gaps of communication, evoke loyalty, and embrace the fair treatment of others.

All these characteristics are crucial in improving the situation of autistic children in our society. Therefore, I chose to use the kyanite stone to evoke not only a sense of hope, but also a sense of communication, loyalty, and positive treatment towards autistic children.

Al Sheikh uses her jewellery line as a method of expression

Al Sheikh uses her jewellery line as a method of expression

What is the main message that you would like to communicate through this particular design?

This design is placing autistic children on a high pedestal; acknowledging their unattested vibrant minds and the strong artistic elements that many of them have.

As a detailed description of the design, I chose to make the side with the autistic child’s name more artistic and vibrant due to the colourful minds and skills many autistic children tend to have.

On the other hand, the mother’s side is simpler and less vibrant to emphasise a sense of maturity and calmness in relation to the other side.

Moreover, given that the puzzle piece is used as a symbol of autism to symbolise the mystery of autistic children and their lack of ability to fit in, I made sure to close in the gaps of the puzzle piece itself (as evident on the right and left circular parts of the puzzle piece) in order to indicate the fact that autistic children do actually belong and should be accepted as such.

Closing in the gaps of the puzzle as part of the necklace’s design is a subconscious message conveying the anticipated progression of autistic children fitting in.

How would you evaluate the feedback?

Well, I do not think that anything is ever 100% successful. I am one of those people who find that anything done could have ALWAYS been better.

With that being said, the feedback was great! People reacted positively to the design and the campaign. I got orders for the necklace by people who are directly affected by autism and by others merely wanting to support the cause.

That is what we were initially aiming for. So in that sense, I would say that the campaign was a success.

According to the designer, jewellery is an intimate method of expression

According to the designer, jewellery is an intimate method of expression

What other causes would you like to shed light on through your brand?

For me, shedding light on any cause that does not get enough attention and is in desperate need of being widely discussed is something I hope to do with Sandbox as often as I can.

If it is an issue that already gets enough attention, but my work can create a further reason for improvement, then I am all for that as well.

I want to work on causes where I am genuinely generating change, not just participating or working for the sake of attention or self-satisfaction. That is what truly matters to me.

As cliché as it may sound, I am very passionate about improving issues that affect our society and people negatively. This can come in the form of all kinds of causes.

I have touched upon that in Sandbox’s “Rising from the Ruins” collection, by turning Syrian and Yemeni war ruins into beautiful art. Furthermore, I will also be doing so once again later this year through a special jewellery collection, in collaboration with an unexpected twist to a very specific cause.

So, as long as Sandbox continues to grow, I hope to continue rendering positive change through meaningful causes; through the art of jewellery.

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Cairo Wedding Festival: glamorising every bride’s dream https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/04/20/cairo-wedding-festival-glamorising-every-brides-dream/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/04/20/cairo-wedding-festival-glamorising-every-brides-dream/#respond Thu, 20 Apr 2017 08:15:34 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=622564 After the huge success on the first Cairo Wedding Festival, an even greater season is about to see the light

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After the huge success on the first Cairo Wedding Festival, an even greater season is about to see the light. Cairo Wedding Festival season 2 is a must go for all brides. Here is an exact breakdown of what CWF is and why ladies should head for The Clubhouse, Uptown Cairo on 21 April.cwf
Wedding shopping can often be a hassle. Brides run from one place to another in pursuit of the best jewellery, the best make-up, and the best cakes.
Of course being not so experienced in wedding shopping, there are things that are completely alien to every bride. But what if there’s one place to provide brides everything in the same place? In only one place, brides can meet hair stylists, fashion designers, wedding venues, beauty experts, makeup artists, photographers, jewellery designers, wedding planners, honeymoon planners, spas, catering services, and florists. Anything under the umbrella of weddings will be right there.
Brides will no longer turn a blind eye toward anything in their wedding because they have everything right there in front of them. We will guide them through it all!
CWF aims to deliver top notch quality service. Brides will meet prominent beauty experts, captivating photographers, and steadfast wedding planners, among many other outstanding experts in the fields of beauty, makeup, and fashion.
Emphasizing on the concept behind a “festival”, the whole event of course will be very joyous, from a fireworks show to an exquisite buffet. As the DJ plays the latest hits and beats, CWF will be spiced up as everyone gets into a festive mood ready to celebrate and party in the most elegant atmosphere.
In essence, all brides will get the chance to interact with the finest exhibitors in the wedding industry while enjoying the festive atmosphere.

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Fashion between tolerance and politics  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/03/30/fashion-tolerance-politics/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/03/30/fashion-tolerance-politics/#respond Thu, 30 Mar 2017 13:00:54 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=620248 Growing up with stereotypes is both confusing and pressuring. In many parts of the Middle East, women are often categorised based on mistaken concepts and outdated ideas. The women of Iran are a controversial topic that often ends with generalised assumptions that could not be further from the truth. Recently, many Iranian women have decided …

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Growing up with stereotypes is both confusing and pressuring. In many parts of the Middle East, women are often categorised based on mistaken concepts and outdated ideas. The women of Iran are a controversial topic that often ends with generalised assumptions that could not be further from the truth.

Recently, many Iranian women have decided to take matters in their own hands to communicate their true identity and reality. Hoda Katebi is a true example of a cultural ambassador. The elaborate Iranian writer, photographer, and activist living in Chicago does not hold back from speaking on behalf of young local women.

Through her fashion blog, Joojoo Azad, and her photographic book, Tehran Streetstyle, Katebi aims to shed light on the truth of Iranian women and their fashion. Through her regular blogs, Katebi links fashion and hijab to politics and global business trends. Meanwhile, she also captures casual sceneries from the everyday streets of Tehran.

Other than women from her homeland, Katebi also seeks to highlight the unfortunate conditions Musilm women endure in hidden sweatshops. Many global brands depend on illegal workshops in order to reduce retail costs on the expense of women that are over worked and under paid.

Daily News Egypt talked with Katebi to discuss the recent spread of hijab-wearing models on international runways, as well as the apparent political Islamophobia that is being met with tolerating fashion, despite brands’ dependence on Muslim women in illegal sweatshops.

Through her blog, Katebi aims to shed light on the political importance of fashion  (Photo Handout)
Through her blog, Katebi aims to shed light on the political importance of fashion
(Photo Handout)

How can hijab-wearing models walking on international runways impact Middle Eastern fashion creatively and financially?

There are a lot of factors that would go into answering this question!

Do the models wear the hijab outside of the runway, or are they just wearing it to tap into a billion dollar industry or be politically on-trend while they continue to exploit Muslim women in sweatshops?

In today’s political climate, the already-existing hijab fashion industry is harmed by brands coming out with hijabs on runways to feign support for Muslims while they continue to exploit Muslims in their factories abroad.

When Nike came out with a new “pro-hijab” campaign, they were hailed as revolutionary and game-changing, erasing the fact that Muslim-owned and Muslim-designed brands have been creating sportswear for hijab-wearing women for years. And now, they also have to compete with one of the largest brands in the world.

How would you evaluate the importance and influence of Halima Aden’s participation in a few key runway shows, including Yeezy?

There is no doubt that Halima Aden’s signing as an IMG model is beautiful and groundbreaking. Representation is vital, and I would have loved to see more Muslim, hijab-wearing women as fashion icons growing up—especially given she is a Black Muslim refugee.

But, at the same time, as models typically get little to no say in what runway they walk in, I found Kanye’s usage of Aden in his runway particularly problematic: how can Kanye pretend to be “pro-Muslim” or “pro-refugee” while simultaneously outwardly endorsing a president whose policies continue to create refugees and then proceed to ban them from the US?

Is modest fashion week a necessity, or is it discrimination against hijab-wearing women?

I do not see modest fashion week as either a necessity or a form of discrimination. I do find it to be valuable, as it gives Muslim women the platform to showcase their work designed with Muslim and hijab-wearing women in mind; but, at the same time, I do not think a fashion week designated specifically for “modest-wear” is a necessity. We have been coming along fine without them for centuries.

If you can choose one face to represent fashion in the Middle East, who would it be?

Given the incredible diversity, history, and political significance of fashion in the Middle East over the years, I do not think it would be possible to pick a single face to represent an entire region’s fashion!

Even for one country alone, that would be difficult. Underground fashion in Tehran, Iran, is wholly different from streetwear in Mashhad, Iran.

How can fashion be used as a global language that Muslim women can use to communicate with the world?

There is little doubt that fashion is a powerful tool of communication. Fashion is an important expression of culture, identity, and ethics (although the latter is less overtly visible and depends more on where you chose to purchase your clothing from).

As someone who oftentimes finds comfort in loud, bold, clashing colours and patterns, it is difficult to look at me and see me as weak, docile, or oppressed—tropes that are always associated with Muslim women and tropes I get to twist and shatter just by getting dressed in the morning.

One of Katebi’s most-highlighted topics is the significant issue of exploiting women in illegal sweatshops  (Photo Handout)
One of Katebi’s most-highlighted topics is the significant issue of exploiting women in illegal sweatshops
(Photo Handout)

What is the most common western stereotype regarding Iranian women and their fashion?

Just google “Iran women” and you will see the same images that are constantly blasted on our television screens here in the west: women wearing all-black from head to toe and the chador (a long covering that is worn over clothing and usually held under the chin).

Images of militancy, violence, oppression, and darkness are always recalled when speaking to people about Iranian women and the ways in which they are required to dress in public.

Yes, there is a state-sponsored dress code, but it is also important to note that it is minimally followed and scarcely enforced.

What encouraged you to publish “Tehran Streetstyle”?

For exactly those reasons above, my book Tehran Streetstyle challenges mainstream, orientalist misrepresentations of Iranian women, as well as domestic Iranian government dress codes. I celebrate the diversity and complexity of underground and largely illegal fashion found in the streets and alleys in Tehran, while also exhibiting a diversity of interpretations of modesty and hijab.

I finally decided to publish after pleas from both my western audience yearning to learn more about my culture and Iranian fashion (which is fair, given that there are not many of us who document Iranian streetstyle!), as well as underground Iranian fashion designers I interviewed for my ethnographic research, who asked me to create something celebrating our people and challenging media renditions.

Many well-established global brands have introduced limited-edition abaya/modest collections. In your opinion, have any of them succeeded in truly reaching out to Middle Eastern women?

The hijab/modest-fashion industry is worth billions. There is no doubt that well-established global brands are using limited-edition abaya/modest collections as a way to profit from this industry.

And there is also no doubt that seeing mainstream clothing brands cater to you and your taste is exciting, after years of them pretending you do not exist.

But we should never be so easily swooned by surface-level inclusion at the expense of exploitation of our sisters in their factories abroad. If you really want to reach out to the Muslim community, please start with your sweatshops.

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2017: a new era for hijabi women in fashion https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/03/30/2017-new-era-hijabi-women-fashion/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/03/30/2017-new-era-hijabi-women-fashion/#comments Thu, 30 Mar 2017 11:00:36 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=620249 Walking in mega shopping malls around the Arab world is often a journey among the world’s number one commercial campaigns. From ethnic models to Caucasian women and men that equally fail to relate to Middle Eastern beauty aesthetics, shop windows and flashy ads often display an obvious neglect of many countries and ethnicities. Manal Rostom …

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Walking in mega shopping malls around the Arab world is often a journey among the world’s number one commercial campaigns. From ethnic models to Caucasian women and men that equally fail to relate to Middle Eastern beauty aesthetics, shop windows and flashy ads often display an obvious neglect of many countries and ethnicities.

Manal Rostom is an Egyptian pharmacist and athlete that refused to stay unrepresented in her favourite brand’s campaigns. After years of growing up in a world that stereotyped her nation and women she could relate to, Rostom wanted to change what she considered unacceptable.

In 2014, the successful long-distance runner became the first hijabi woman to step into Nike HQ to be featured in the brand’s global campaign. Today she is part of a campaign taking the fitness and fashion industries by storm—the world’s first pro-sport hijab by a world-class brand.

Even though many Arab-based brands already have a wide range of alternatives, this particular move from Nike is widely celebrated as a gesture of acceptance and tolerance.

Daily News Egypt talked with Rostom to discuss her courageous endeavour, her struggle as a hijabi athlete, and the importance of the Pro Hijab.

What encouraged you to contact Nike for the first time back in 2014?

The first time I contacted Nike was in November 2014; after I founded my support group on Facebook for women surviving hijab. It was basically founded to reach out to women in Egypt and other Arab countries, which are dealing with having to take off their hijab or not being comfortable with it.

For many reasons, I did not want to be one of these women that were going to take off their hijab, so I decided to create this group. It grew so rapidly that we reached 40,000 women in the time between August and November.

I thought that it was a great opportunity to contact Nike and introduce myself through the Facebook group and the fact that I was an athlete that took part in several triathlons. I simply told them that I wanted to see Arab Muslim women running in their campaigns because as a hijabi runner, I wanted to see somebody that represents me.

Through her blog, Katebi aims to shed light on the political importance of fashion (Photo Handout)
Rostom was the first Hijabi woman to work with Nike in 2014 (Photo Handout)

What was the main message that you hoped to communicate through your first collaboration with Nike?

The main message that I wanted to communicate was that we are here and that we do exist in this context: we are active; we run; we are neither confined nor oppressed. I wanted to let people know that we are not limited to raising kids and spending our days in the kitchen like the media portrays us.

I wanted to let everyone know that we are interesting, at least some of us are. Generally speaking, no one should judge a woman based on how she looks or what she chooses to wear to display her faith.

I was the first Arab hijabi athlete to be invited to Nike’s HQ in July 2015 to attend their trainer summit. They recognised me as a sportsperson that lives in the Arab world and they wanted me to represent Arab women.

My images were all over the stores here in the UAE. Meanwhile, I am also the first hijabi Nike run-club coach in the world and the first hijabi trainer in the world as well.

How would you evaluate the impact and importance of launching the Nike Pro Hijab now amid all the political tension and increasing Islamophobia?

The product is crucial for me and my sport as well. I want any woman, who is already veiled, to feel confident that she now has got the product that will support her sport; whatever it is. I want women, who are thinking about wearing the hijab, to not be reluctant or confused.

I was born to Egyptian parents and I grew up in Kuwait. I was always confused about the hijab because I wanted to wear it, but the rest of the world was never supportive. However, as a kid, if I had me or any other successful hijab-wearing athlete to look up to, I would have never hesitated about my decision.

It is actually the perfect timing to launch such a product to the world. For the world’s number one sports brand to support Muslim women is going to change Islamophobia and the way people perceive us. It is going to make people more tolerant and less judgmental regarding hijab-wearing women.

One of Katebi’s most-highlighted topics is the significant issue of exploiting women in illegal sweatshops (Photo Handout)
The Egyptian long-distance runner was one of the key Muslim athletes featured in the Nike Pro Hijab campaign (Photo Handout)

I am a certified pharmacist and sports instructor. I have an Egyptian passport, but then also multiple US visas due to my work in the pharmaceutical industry. Nonetheless, last time, when I was there earlier this year, they stopped me and I was held for three hours in a room full of Arab and Chinese travellers—I missed my connecting flight just because I wore hijab.

For you as an athlete, what are the main positive features that the new Pro Hijab offers to veiled women?

I am an athlete that trains mostly outdoors; I run very long distances in brutal weather. I live in the Gulf area—in one of the hottest countries in the world. When you train for a triathlon or marathon, you train mostly outdoors with limited opportunity to train indoors. The reason why most hijabi women find it difficult to train outside is the heat.

Some women have very sensitive skin so the area around the neck gets agitated and develops a severe rash. The material with those athletes choose to cover their head is quite essential.

The Nike Pro Hijab is coming with dry-fit material that is used in running gear. It is going to impact long-distance training outdoors and heat tolerance. It is going to improve the performance of hijab-wearing athletes drastically.

What are the main characteristics that you would like to promote regarding Middle Eastern women in general and hijabi women in particular?

First of all, Middle Eastern women are not confined to setting up families and catering to domestic life or even raising 5 or 10 kids. Sadly, this is a stereotype that we grew up being scared of. We have many examples of hijab-wearing Middle Eastern women that excel in many fields.

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Sami Amin joins He for She on International Women’s Day https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/03/23/619558/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/03/23/619558/#respond Thu, 23 Mar 2017 10:00:24 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=619558 Fashion is a method of compassionate communication and expression. While it has been limited to women during the previous decades, the local industry has been taking steps towards including more men. In celebration of the International Women’s Day, UN Women, Regional Office for Arab States in partnership with #HeForShe reached out to few men figures …

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Fashion is a method of compassionate communication and expression. While it has been limited to women during the previous decades, the local industry has been taking steps towards including more men.

In celebration of the International Women’s Day, UN Women, Regional Office for Arab States in partnership with #HeForShe reached out to few men figures from all over the Arab world to shed light on men’s role in supporting women in their lives.

The campaign aimed to engage local “agents of change” in order to raise awareness regarding gender equality. The campaign included renowned figures such as Medhat El Adl, Gamal Soliman, Hazem Imam, Hanykhalifa, Gamal Bekhiet, Mohamed El Nasery, and Sami Amin.

As a designer that portrays the inner beauty and strength of women in all of his well-thought designs, Amin was a natural choice for the movement. In the video campaign, Amin mentioned the women that influenced his journey and aesthetic as a designer.

Starting from his mother that despite the common norms at the time, encouraged him to fully pursue his talent and aim for a career in fashion and design. According to the designer, she was the main reason his sketches as a child turned into the career that he had always dreamed of.

On the other hand, he has also highlighted few local female designers that have inspired him. His list included figures such as Azza Fahmy, Suzan El-Masry, and Ehsan Nada.

Ever since his early beginnings, 25 years ago, Amin has kept women at the core of his designs as he has showcased iconic yearly collections inspired by and for women. Amin has always planned to make women feel unique and catered for.

As a designer that takes much pride in his pharaonic origins, Amin has always been inspired by ancient-Egyptian queens; their beauty aesthetic, wisdom, and strength. He is a firm believer that this particular era is a solid proof of the importance of gender equality.

Furthermore, along his journey, Amin has built a strong team that includes many women. His brand is today made by women for men.

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Fashion Zone and Hany El-Behairy introduce ultimate luxury   https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/03/16/fashion-zone-hany-el-behairy-introduce-ultimate-luxury/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/03/16/fashion-zone-hany-el-behairy-introduce-ultimate-luxury/#respond Thu, 16 Mar 2017 16:00:46 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=618700 Last weekend, the capital was illuminated with elaborate haute couture gowns, courtesy of Hany El-Behairy. The internationally acclaimed designer introduced his new spring/summer 2017 collection in the heart of Porsche Centre Egypt. After a few successful fashion events Fashion Zone organised yet another glamorous night of haute couture and luxury—powered by Hany El-Behairy and Porsche. …

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Last weekend, the capital was illuminated with elaborate haute couture gowns, courtesy of Hany El-Behairy. The internationally acclaimed designer introduced his new spring/summer 2017 collection in the heart of Porsche Centre Egypt.

After a few successful fashion events Fashion Zone organised yet another glamorous night of haute couture and luxury—powered by Hany El-Behairy and Porsche.

The collection reflected both the designer’s and Porsche’s luxurious appeal and quality. While the designer’s fan base flocked to the centre to check El-Behairy’s latest masterpieces, Porsche also attracted their circle of owners and car lovers through launching the new Panamera car, which went hand in hand with El-Behairy’s spectacular extravaganza.

The new collection sparkled with hand-made embroidery and dazzled with refined details. Furthermore, the SS17 maintained the designer’s signature feminine and Parisian embellishments. That said, the gowns spoke to confident women, who seek dreamy designs and show-stopping silhouettes.

The colour pallet ranged between baby blue, gold, grey, and silver. In addition to that, the silhouettes included the currently popular dress-jumpsuit hybrid seen on many international runways.

The crowd was also illuminated with well-known attendees, including the designer’s loyal fans from the local media, celebrities, social media influencers, and beauty queens.

 

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Jayda Hany: building the future of local footwear https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/03/16/618690/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/03/16/618690/#respond Thu, 16 Mar 2017 11:00:41 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=618690 "I did not want to 'create' a new collection; instead, I wanted to approach shoes as if they were buildings and construct something new," says designer

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Shoes are a life-necessity that many designers and trends have turned into a fashion statement. While many international names dominate the global market, Egypt is full of fashion savvies that would never be satisfied with whatever number of pairs they have.

With technology molding and driving the fashion industry, footwear is becoming an area where innovation is key. Even though many women would risk personal comfort for extravagance, new methods and trends promise statement without pain.

Despite the fact that Egypt has always been known for exceptional leather and well-established factories, footwear is not a specialty that many young designers decide to pursue.

Jayda Hany is an exception to the ordinary. The promising designer seeks to push boundaries and design limitations in order to reinterpret shoe wear across the globe. The avant-garde designer depends on cutting-edge technology to create show-stopping shoes.

Her first collection did not only establish a base of impressed fans, it has also positioned her very young brand as a unique and technology-forward label that is home grown. Her handful of designs have immaculately created to suit top-notch stage performances of international artists. Meanwhile, comfort is a key factor that Hany considers at the core of her aesthetic.

Daily News Egypt sat with local designer to speak shoe wear, inspiration, and wearable technology.

In your opinion, why does Egypt have few outstanding bag designers, but not as many in the area of footwear?

Shoes are very difficult, because you have to design the sole and heels, especially if you want to do your own unique design. It is very possible to source ready-made soles and heels from local suppliers; they import them from China. Nonetheless, they will not be my design, they will not have my logo on them, and they will end up looking like other well-known commercial designs.

Shoes require patience. Each design needs several samples before it is ready. Every sample needs several trials to test convenience and comfort for the wearer. The trickiest aspect is often the foundation: sole and last.

How does your creative and manufacturing process unfold?

I start designing my own pieces from scratch, and then I 3D modeled them, before scouting for manufacturers that would meet my standards of quality in the shortest timeframe and with the most reasonable price.

Your shoes are notorious for mixing height and absolute comfort. Tell us more about the science invested in this mixture.

Making high heels is very different from flats. Flats are all about the sole; meanwhile, high heels are based on the last. Accordingly, it is an equation of how high you aim to design the final shoes, the height of the shoe-last, and the toe shape.

The highest and least-comfortable shoe last is 13 centimetres, and they are not known for being practical or convenient. Therefore, platforms are essential to balance height.

I have tried several methods for high heels, and I have decided to follow a certain technique. For example, I try not to exceed 11 or 12 centimetres for the shoe last; meanwhile, I play with the platform. At the end of the day, I want my shoes to look magnificent and eccentric; but, I still want people to be able to wear them.

The designer’s line combines Avant-Garde aesthetic and practicality  (Photo from Facebook)
The designer’s line combines Avant-Garde aesthetic and practicality
(Photo from Facebook)

What is the main element that separates your brand from any other similar avant-garde labels?

What separates me from other avant-garde designers is that my designs are eccentric and unique; yet, they are practical.

For example, other brands around the world that depend on 3D printing are often not quite wearable. Meanwhile, I utilise technology to create practical products. I integrate several materials and technology to create the end result.

What are the main technology methods that you depend on?

My first collection depended on two main techniques: 3D printing as well as CNC milling. The difference is basically that 3D gives you the opportunity to build out of nothing. On the other hand, CNC milling depends on negative space; products are engraved into a block of material.

CNC is ideal for surfaces, while 3D printing is more appropriate for angles and shapes.

How long did it take you to create your first collection?

For me, designing goes under research. For my first collection, it took me nine months of research; it was my master collection, and I wanted to invent a new way to “build” shoes.

I did not want to “create” a new collection; instead, I wanted to approach shoes as if they were buildings and construct something new. The second I was satisfied with my research conclusions, I started sketching then manufacturing.

Why are you keen on producing in Egypt?

We have everything in Egypt. For example, the leather that you see at the greatest leather exhibitions around the world is actually imported from Egypt. We have three key tanneries that export leather to the rest of the world. High-end brands—such as Chanel, Valentino, Fendi—depend on Egyptian leather.

Local leather is by far the best in the world. We have the most convenient climate worldwide, as the temperature is almost always moderate, which is key to the leather tanning process. On the other hand, the way cows are domesticated in Egypt positively affects the leather’s quality.

That said, fashion technology is highly attainable in Egypt. People are under the impression that we do not have 3D printing in Egypt. On contrary, we have a lot of printing houses. The only problem that we truly face in Egypt is the lack of certain materials; however, we have many low-key suppliers that provide suitable alternatives.

How did you manage to shift from your architectural background to fashion designing?

It was my backup plan. I have always wanted to design womenswear since I was 10. My parents were very supportive; yet, they were concerned about me pursuing a career in fashion during a time when Egyptians did not have an established industry.

As an alternative, my parents suggested that I pursue architecture, since it was a safe option at the time. Surprisingly, I did not oppose that suggestion. After five years of studying architecture, I took a year off before applying to the London College of Fashion.

According to the designer, footwear requires more elaborate and complicated manufacturing process (Photo from Facebook)
According to the designer, footwear requires more elaborate and complicated manufacturing process
(Photo from Facebook)

What made you specialise in footwear in particular?

My first option was womenswear. However, I did not mind putting footwear as my second option in London College of Fashion’s application.

During my interview with a board member, I had a huge portfolio of womenswear that included complementary pairs of shoes for every outfit. Furthermore, it also included two shoe designs at the very end.

The board member went through the portfolio and kept looking at the shoes. She then flipped the portfolio on the other side, got to the last two pages, and said that these pages are what will get me into the London College of Fashion.

How did your five years in architecture influence your design aesthetic? 

When you study architecture for five years, you start having a better understanding of structure and foundation; you always tend to start from the bottom. Subconsciously, this affects my fashion sketches. Hence, shoes have always been the strongest point in all my sketches.

On the other hand, I aim to honour and respect the wearer’s intelligence. As a customer, I like to examine and see what each piece is made of. I like to analyse the design and the materials used. I wanted to convey this sort of understanding to the people who will at least check my shoes; I want them to feel intelligent.

Who is your ideal target audience?

As a brand, I have the bespoke line that targets performers and celebrities because it represents quite an eccentric statement. On the other hand, I have got the commercial, ready-to-wear line, which includes everything from high heels to trainers, which target a much wider selection of people.

What are your near-future plans?

I am launching my first autumn/winter collection very soon. I always work and design a year in advance; however, manufacturing takes a much longer period of time. Between designing and producing, I am always running around, researching and experimenting with new suppliers and concepts.

 

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Route Cairo Paris: a window for local talents at PFW https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/03/09/route-cairo-paris-window-local-talents-pfw/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/03/09/route-cairo-paris-window-local-talents-pfw/#respond Thu, 09 Mar 2017 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=617798 Paris is not only the city of lights; it is also the city of fashion, couture, and many high-end tycoons. Last week, the global fashion industry had its sight directed towards the glamorous city for the latest fall/winter trends, as many brands graced the runway with their latest collection during Paris Fashion Week (PFW). That …

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Paris is not only the city of lights; it is also the city of fashion, couture, and many high-end tycoons. Last week, the global fashion industry had its sight directed towards the glamorous city for the latest fall/winter trends, as many brands graced the runway with their latest collection during Paris Fashion Week (PFW).

That said, local forces Maison Pyramide and Pop-Up Shop, along with the Egyptian embassy in Paris, joined efforts to provide a platform for local fashion talents to take part during the fiesta.

Photo handout to DNE
Photo handout to DNE

“Route Cairo Paris” is a dedicated exhibition that gave many local talents an opportunity to meet a global audience at PFW. The exhibition is by far the first of its kind as it supported 13 different brands to expand internationally.

Selected brands varied between apparel, jewellery, accessories, and home accessories.

“The main goal of this endeavour is to raise awareness and increase the visibility of Egyptian brands,” said Maria S. Muñoz, managing partner at Maison Pyramide, adding that “there is so much talent in Egypt that is just waiting for its moment to see the light, and now is the moment.”

The exhibition, which is also supported by the Egyptian embassy’s Commercial Office and Cultural Center, took place on the sideline of PFW, which drew an iconic selection of fashion professionals and specialised media to the French capital.

Photo handout to DNE
Photo handout to DNE

“The Pop-Up Shop is essentially a marriage-like union between business and art. With backgrounds in export, retail, and development, the partners—who are two renowned artists—vowed to work closely with designers and artisans to grow with them in Egypt and abroad,” said Laila Helaly, partner at Pop-Up Shop.

According to Helaly the local industry is rich with many startup talents that are ready to participate in the global scene. Meanwhile, the ladies behind Pop-Up Shop aim to constantly provide support and guidance whenever needed.

The four-day exhibition featured a cohesive selection of designers including By Jazzy, Rafik Zaki Designs, and Avalanche along with Mix & Match in the apparel segment. Meanwhile, accessory and jewellery designers such as Djewelled, Sandbox, Maha Al Sagheer, Monalissa, and Tollie Design were also present.

As for the home accessories category, Malaika Linens, TICA’S, EHEM, and Candle Connection showcased their latest collections.

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Les Miniatures: big statement and small shapes https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/03/02/616856/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/03/02/616856/#respond Thu, 02 Mar 2017 10:00:46 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616856 “Through our designs, we aim to make every bag a statement, with a story that explains its details,” says co-founder Bags are a life necessity for women across the globe. While men are usually more concerned about a bag’s functionality, women are often more focused on its exterior. Every season, high-end brands fiercely compete to …

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“Through our designs, we aim to make every bag a statement, with a story that explains its details,” says co-founder

Bags are a life necessity for women across the globe. While men are usually more concerned about a bag’s functionality, women are often more focused on its exterior. Every season, high-end brands fiercely compete to launch the new IT bag.

While some designers depend on the appeal of limited-edition quantities, others aim to offer the best quality; very few tend to search for new concepts. The local industry has been taking consistent steps towards entering global competition.

Season after season, local designers have launched iconic bags that took the Egyptian market by storm, becoming seasonal must-haves. Furthermore, few designers are also currently working on invading foreign markets and reaching top-notch celebrities.

"Mini-malist" aims to create statement through simplicity  (Photo Handout)
“Mini-malist” aims to create statement through simplicity
(Photo Handout)

Earlier this week, Les Miniatures stepped out of the brand’s digital platforms to meet its growing base of fans. The local brand has been reinterpreting the charm of mini-bags for a couple of seasons through elaborate details and a rainbow of embroidery.

Farah Yasser and Hanna Hazem are two friends who grew up discussing fashion and sharing a stack of mini bags. While one is a financial analyst and the other is a stylist, together they created a dream team that has managed to reach the wardrobe of many women around the world.

“We have known each other since forever, and we have always wanted to do something fashion-related. Meanwhile, we have been obsessed with mini bags since we were five. We used to buy silly mini bags that looked like garments and flowers. However, it had never occurred to us to start designing the bags rather than collecting them, until they became a fashion hit,” said Hazem.

According to Yasser, what is currently a well-established statement brand started as a casual Whatsapp conversation on what could have been an insignificant day.

The collection included suede, fur and metal details for statement  (Photo Handout)
The collection included suede, fur and metal details for statement
(Photo Handout)

“It was just a casual question about starting something together—maybe something related to mini bags. Then we started researching, studying the market, and contacting artisans. We had no idea at the beginning what we’d do; we did not even have sketches of our designs. We still do not sketch!” said Yasser.

After a few successful collections, the duo decided to finally meet their market through an offline pop-up event. Le Miniatures’ biggest online supporter, Coterique, hosted an event at their premises in Zamalek to showcase their reasons to obsess about this one particular brand.

“We have never launched the bags on grounds of people come and check them out; we have always been available online solely. Accordingly, this is our first pop-up event,” said Yasser.

The designers launched a new size of their signature shape; called themother of miniatures (Photo Handout)
The designers launched a new size of their signature shape; called themother of miniatures
(Photo Handout)

In collaboration with Coterique, Les Miniatures brought their biggest hits for a day of art, fashion, and fine craftsmanship. Aside from the brand’s previous popular bags, the designers also launched their newest collection through a creative display.

“Today we are showcasing the ‘Minimalist’ collection. It is all about embracing simplicity through simple colours and suede fabrics. We wanted to remind everyone that despite the world we currently live in, simplicity is still beautiful,” said Yasser.

The collection highlights the strength and importance of details. While few designs embrace a circular metallic handle, which allows versatile styling options. Others come with braided details on the side. Furthermore, one design merges simplicity with statement through fur.

The brand’s name is a direct ode to the brand’s specialisation in mini bags. Nonetheless, the designers have already started reinterpreting their aesthetic through new sizes.

The Mini-malist allows various styling methods  (Photo Handout)
The Mini-malist allows various styling methods
(Photo Handout)

“We have also launched the ‘Mother of The Miniatures’ recently. It is a bigger bag because we do not want to be stuck in one size; however, mini bags are not only in the core of our personal preferences. They are a massive current hit,” said Yasser.

The brand originally started in February 2016; nonetheless, the first collection was not launched before August. According to Hazem, the brand is based on the designers’ passion to play around with objects as they tend to experiment with objects and turn them into wearable art.

The first collection of Les Miniatures revolved around two stories, including the tales of two African tribes. “The African collection was inspired by two tribes. The bags did not really shout out their source of inspiration; nonetheless, they told the stories of the tribes: the Zulu and Samburu. We took their sense of colours and overall aesthetic and put them in a bag,” Yasser said.

While the Zulu tribe is the biggest ethnic group in South Africa, the Samburu reside in north-central Kenya.

“On the other hand, the first collection included another bag that was inspired by the Looff, a very old carousel,” said Yasser. The Looff was particularly popular during the 1900s, when its pastel horses and embellishments were notorious synonyms for childhood and fun.

“The next collection was ‘Desassemble.’ For this one, we turned small antique pieces into small bag handles. Basically, this collection was put together as a painting,” said Hazem. The second collection blurred the lines between art and fashion. Each bag was embellished with antique handles that the designers have to comb the market to find. Meanwhile, the fabrics also added more to the nostalgic mood.

Each item is fully designed and manufactured in Egypt  (Photo Handout)
Each item is fully designed and manufactured in Egypt
(Photo Handout)

According to the designers, depending on one particular shape since the brand’s inception has not limited its potential. After experimenting with various concepts, colours, and fabrics, the duo still sees further potential.

As for the production, Les Miniatures is 100% manufactured locally, which adds an extra value to each and every bag. “Manufacturing in Egypt is extremely difficult. We outsource every detail from a different artisan and supplier. Production was one of the main reasons we started the brand in February but only launched the first collection in August,” Hazem said.

According to Yasser, working with every new supplier and artisan often starts with many challenges. “They come with the mindset that there are only a few common techniques and that any innovative designs are impossible. Furthermore, they deal with production malfunctions lightly; they believe that slight errors can slide.” Yasser added that “it took us a while to make them understand our quality standards. On the other hand, it is quite tricky to find materials in Egypt.”

Each bag is often the collaborative work of many artisans and suppliers specialised in various things. While the embroidery is hand-sketched and then implemented, metallic and antique handles are coming from a completely different source.

“Interestingly, we do not only work with specialised artisans that work on bags only; instead, we look at all kinds of suppliers for materials. For example, the antique handles came from an antique shop that has rare finds. We are always keen on doing things in a different and new method,” said Hazem.

According to the designers, each bag takes a different period of time. Nonetheless, the average time frame is usually between 10 and 14 days. Meanwhile, the brand often offers 15 items from each design.

Nonetheless, Les Miniatures launches many limited-edition designs during every season. Even though the designers test demands and orders before settling on the final quantities, popularity does not interfere with their positioning as an exclusive brand.

“We do not only launch seasonal collections; on contrary, we launch independent stories and capsule collection every now and then. We always aim to represent new lines in limited quantities,” said Yasser.

As for local and international competition, the designers find their distinctive aesthetic a solid method to remain away from any similar brands. According to Hazem, being the only local brand specialised in mini bags makes Les Miniatures quite distinctive in the local market.

With that said, the brand has also reached out to a global audience through the network of ecommerce. “Abroad, people further welcome the brand when they learn that it is 100% manufactured in Egypt. We have already experimented with various markets, including South Korea, London, the US, Dubai, etc.,” said Yasser.

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Our Wedding Carnival season 5, bigger and better https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/616048/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/616048/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 16:00:10 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616048 After four consecutive years of bridal extravagance, brides-to-be were once again on a date to meet the world’s latest trends in jewellery, fashion, furniture, and even entertainment—all designed for that one special day. Our Wedding Carnival (OWC) is one of the most prominent annual events in the bridal field. For their fifth season, OWC brought …

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After four consecutive years of bridal extravagance, brides-to-be were once again on a date to meet the world’s latest trends in jewellery, fashion, furniture, and even entertainment—all designed for that one special day.

Our Wedding Carnival (OWC) is one of the most prominent annual events in the bridal field. For their fifth season, OWC brought together a wide diversity of related suppliers and brands to help put all wedding-related details under one roof. With more than 150 exhibitors, this season did not leave anything to imagination.

“We have been building on the successes of Our Wedding Carnival year after year; and as we celebrate OWC5, we are proud to host over 150 exhibitors from Egypt and abroad, which only proves that OWC is truly Egypt’s number one wedding destination,” said Sherif Ashraf, managing director of Red Square and organiser of OWC.

Aside from the festival’s wide scope of exhibitors, it is also notoriously known for its corporate social responsibility (CSR) aspect, as the festival aims to continuously link major brands to brides that are in need of financial aid to attain their bridal dreams.

“We also continue to grow our commitment to social responsibility by sponsoring 30 brides bags in collaboration with the ‘Egyptian Clothing Bank’s organisation,” Ashraf added. “We have to thank Luminarc for providing 100 orphan brides with 100 wedding sets.”

El Esseily put a dance-fulled ending to the bridal extravagance  (Photo Handout)
El Esseily put a dance-fulled ending to the bridal extravagance 
(Photo Handout)

Throughout the day, young couples flocked into the Fairmont Heliopolis and Towers hotel to get a glimpse of all that is new in the bridal scene. Furthermore, many were interested to witness the extravagance that took place during the night’s runway shows and performances.

The night started with ten aspiring designers, who impressed the attendees with their creative designs. Furthermore, it was not long until Mohamed Abdel Hamid took the stage to unfold his secrets to perfect bridal make up by means of a live demonstration on models.

Syrian designer Ayman Lahomouni, a regular guest at OWC, came back for a new season of couture intricacy and elaborate details. While his wedding gowns took many people’s breath away, the night only continued to further amaze the attendees.

Few designers dominated the runway to showcase the latest bridal trends (Photo Handout)
Few designers dominated the runway to showcase the latest bridal trends
(Photo Handout)

Tiara Bridal boutique brought modern princesses to the centre stage with their dreamy bridal gowns. Meanwhile, Kriss came back once again for one of his theatrical on-stage demonstrations. The hair guru showcased the beauty and charm of cheeky hair bangs for the 2017 bride.

After years of mentoring and teaching Egypt’s promising generations of aspiring designers, Stefania Gulina celebrated the launch of her new haute couture line, SG, on OWC’s runway. With that said, the true spectacle was courtesy of Luminarc. The renowned household-supplies brand offered a runway show in all colours of the rainbow.

The event was far from ordinary, thanks to Ahmed Essam’s fireworks show and Mahmoud El Esseily’s moving performance. Furthermore, Esseily was also joined by the saxophonist Ramy Samy and English singer Juleen Evans; together, they effortlessly made the event one of a kind.

On the other hand, Lydia Shohdy and Dina Faltas from Zeena Events took care of every minor detail of the event. The majestic hall was transformed into a space worthy of fairytales and queens.

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The Design Studio captures the talent of Egypt’s hidden gems https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/616051/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/23/616051/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 10:30:31 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=616051 With black and white portraits hanging from the ceiling and dramatic pieces laid out on white tables, a new generation of local jewellery designers showcased a glimpse of their aesthetics. While each piece captured the stories of Egypt’s next top jewellery designers, the collective collection widened the boundaries of design. The Design Studio by Azza …

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With black and white portraits hanging from the ceiling and dramatic pieces laid out on white tables, a new generation of local jewellery designers showcased a glimpse of their aesthetics. While each piece captured the stories of Egypt’s next top jewellery designers, the collective collection widened the boundaries of design.

The Design Studio by Azza Fahmy celebrated the graduation of their very first students as well as the work of a new talented batch with an artistic exhibition. The studio chose the cultural hub at Galleria 40 mall in Sheikh Zayed to introduce the work of their pride to an audience of fashion and design enthusiasts.

The showcased pieces varied between architectural inspiration and ethereal stories of long-gone women. “Captured” is without a doubt one of the studio’s most cohesive exhibitions to date.

"Captured" was curated at Galleria 40 to introduce a new generation of young designers (Photo by DNE)
“Captured” was curated at Galleria 40 to introduce a new generation of young designers
(Photo by DNE)

“My inspiration was goddess Isis; it is all about her wings and the curves of her body,” said Gehan Felfel, beginner designer at The Design Studio. My project aims to bring her into our modern lives, so if she were with us today these are the kinds of shoes, earrings, and bracelets she would choose.”

Felfel introduced a new concept to the yearly exhibition with her bespoke pair of shoes, as she is the very first student to apply to footwear what she had learnt at the studio. “Shoes and jewellery are my main passion. Accordingly, I wanted to combine the two in one project,” said Felfel.

The promising designer has already studied fashion in London; nonetheless, she has joined the studio for intensive information about the craft of jewellery making.

“I went to London Fashion College to study shoe designing and pattern making. However, the jewellery industry in Egypt is well established. Furthermore, The Design Studio by Azza Fahmy gives the students an opportunity to learn so much and for as long as each individual needs,” said Felfel.

Furthermore, Felfel is currently working on her collection, set to be launched by mid-March.

With that said, specialised designers, who have been regular students at The Design Studio for a longer period of time, have also came back to, once again, equally amaze the audience and faculty with their new concepts.

“During the summer, I was taking part in a contest in Legnica. My concept was about the city’s architecture. I used to analyse each city into cells and units. Accordingly, I approached the city’s architecture as a human body then I used the units as materials,” said Adam Yousry, specialised designer at The Design Studio.

“The co-founder of Alchemya School suggested that I source my materials from a hardware store. My main materials are nails, bolts, and jump rings,” said Yousry.

According to Yousry, the local market might not easily embrace his collection, which successfully turned nails into loop necklaces and bolts into bracelets. Accordingly, he is currently planning to collaborate with a foreign fashion designer to reach out to a bigger audience.

After a few semesters, The Design Studio is finally celebrating a new generation of specialised students who now serve as teachers for newer batches. Furthermore, as of recently, the design studio’s teaching staff also includes a graduate of the school itself.

“I am the first graduate from The Design Studio; I have finished six semesters in three years. Meanwhile, I am currently teaching the new batch,” said Amira Ayad, specialised designer at The Design Studio.

As for Ayad’s end-of-semester collection, the promising designer aimed to create a rustic collection reminiscent of neglected monuments.

The Design Studio by Azza Fahmy celebrated a new batch of students with a spectacular end of semester exhibition  (Photo by DNE)
The Design Studio by Azza Fahmy celebrated a new batch of students with a spectacular end of semester exhibition 
(Photo by DNE)

“I was inspired by the Egyptian Museum. The broken statues and the antiquities scattered at the door got my attention. Therefore, my concept started developing from that scene until it became mainly about restoration,” said Ayad.

Her pieces depended on vintage materials mixed with burnt metal and old wood. Meanwhile, the end result was both statement and artistic. “My main problem is that I tend to follow an avant-garde genre; many people often fail to know how to wear my pieces. However, sales and market preferences are creatively limiting. Therefore, I would rather implement my designs and then simplify them when I want to sell,” said Ayad.

The designer is currently a member of The Design Studio’s teaching staff as she is fond of teaching and being part of the studio’s mission to establish a strong generation of jewellery designers. Meanwhile, she aims to manage her own line in the near future.

“The first thing that I make sure to teach my students is that there is no such thing as absolute right or absolute wrong. Sometimes, I do not give them the direct methods and solutions, because they end up finding better alternatives than what I know,” said Ayad.

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Temraza and Zagh represent strong women at NYFW https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/16/615599/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/16/615599/#respond Thu, 16 Feb 2017 16:00:46 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=615599 For fashion designers and fanatics, New York is the city of dreams. The big apple has been a top fashion capital for many decades. Meanwhile, the seasonal fashion week is, without a doubt, a destination and target for many aspiring talents. Farida Temraz is a young and promising local fashion designer that has managed, in …

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For fashion designers and fanatics, New York is the city of dreams. The big apple has been a top fashion capital for many decades. Meanwhile, the seasonal fashion week is, without a doubt, a destination and target for many aspiring talents.

Farida Temraz is a young and promising local fashion designer that has managed, in a short period of time, to not only establish her brand, Temraza, but to also take the entire local industry to a whole new level. The haute couture designer is currently known in Egypt and across the globe for her extravagant embroidery and red-carpet reoccurrences.

After taking her pharaonic pride to the Big Apple last season through her fashion-week runway show, Rise of the Pharaohs, Temraz came back for a second round a few days ago.

The Xecutive addresses strong and independent women that seek practical fashion
The Xecutive addresses strong and independent women that seek practical fashion

After being acquainted with embroidered gowns and detailed usage of pearls, the designer decided to go for a new challenge in the spring/summer season of 2017. “The Xecutive” reveals a tailored side of Temraz’s design aesthetic.

The white and gold collection maintained the designer’s signature embroidery. Nonetheless, it featured more fabrics than beads. Furthermore, it also depended on tailored trousers and statement pant-suits.

While the collection highlighted the designer’s ability to still make statements through minimalism, it has also brought back the 80s unmistakable power dressing—but with a twist. The collection’s main silhouette celebrated the many modern interpretations of a suit that is practical and essential.

On the other hand, Temraz’ elaborate embroidery was not completely left out as she managed to show a brief ode to her all-time most recognised designs through shoulder details and sequin motifs.

Zagh worked on incorporating precious metals with wood and stones
Zagh worked on incorporating precious metals with wood and stones

According to the designer, this collection celebrates womanhood through addressing women with busy schedules. Each outfit is designed for a woman that wants to look modern and fashionable while juggling numerous responsibilities.

The collection also featured key elements that all women could agree on: versatility and classic essence. Each of the showcased outfits could be easily divided into separate items; meanwhile, each item alone is a major fashion investment. The Xecutive’s main strength comes from the fact that practical women have always wanted similar suits.

From the colour pallet to the fitted cuts, the outfits are as fashionable today as they were in the 1980s, and exactly as they would be in at least 20 more years to come. It is quite impossible to find a woman that would not choose a basic white suit with flair of gold statement over any temporarily-trendy gown.

With that being said, the show also showcased another home-grown brand, Zagh Jewelry. According to the woman behind Zagh, Riham Zaghloul, this collection elaborately unfolds the brand’s main message while exactly addressing the target audience.

Zagh is widely known for statement refined jewellery, as the lead designer is always keen on choosing simple, yet elaborate stories to unfold. The brand’s most widely-known previous collection was inspired by nature, as Zaghloul wanted to equally address women’s inner strength and femininity with elaborate leafs.

Once again this collection was designed to speak to hard-working and determined women that relentlessly work towards their goals without giving up on their femininity. Walking the same lines of the brand’s aesthetic, this collection highlights women’s curves through dainty details; meanwhile, it also combines gold and silver with wood and precious stones.

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“Age of Magnificence” is back for a new season of drama https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/16/615596/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/16/615596/#respond Thu, 16 Feb 2017 11:00:40 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=615596 Many would not be able to name a certain point in time that resembles the age of magnificence. Nonetheless, many local-fashion fanatics can instantly describe what these words summon in their minds. Over a year ago, Zaam launched a theatrical-bags collection that remains, despite the seasons, an evident local success story. The home-grown brand is …

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Many would not be able to name a certain point in time that resembles the age of magnificence. Nonetheless, many local-fashion fanatics can instantly describe what these words summon in their minds. Over a year ago, Zaam launched a theatrical-bags collection that remains, despite the seasons, an evident local success story.

The home-grown brand is one of the first names to transform the local industry through pushing boundaries and limitations. After adding fashion appeal and theatrical drama to Egyptian leatherwear, the brand has finally decided to venture into a new segment of fashion.

The capsule collection was inspired by the bag collection launched last year
The capsule collection was inspired by the bag collection launched last year

After many seasons of speculations about this moment, Ahmed Azzam, lead designer and founder of Zaam, would finally blend his own personal style with his label. He took his motifs and elaborate details to the world of ready to wear (RTW).

Known for his personal style and eye for details, Azzam said, “RTW garments have always been part of the plan. Zaam was never intended to be an accessory brand solely. However, I wanted to take this step by step. Accordingly, every once in a while, I create a limited-edition collection to introduce future permanent lines.”

According to the designer, the brand’s current expansion plans in Dubai and Korea makes this a suitable time to launch limited-edition pieces and introduce the brand’s take on ready-to-wear garments for women.

“I did not want to address the masses; accordingly, I have only created two designs and six pieces of each one,” said the designer. The exclusive collection featured a velvet dress and jumpsuit, both extravagant and unique.

The designer currently plans to launch the label’s first RTW and bag collection for both genders by end of March
The designer currently plans to launch the label’s first RTW and bag collection for both genders by end of March

“The items were only launched in Egypt through the e-commerce website and our accounts on social media,” Azzam added, “I did not expect a lot of people to wear it, because it was designed with the aim of creating something different and exclusive. On the contrary, a lot of bloggers bought the pieces right after the launch.”

While famed fashion blogger Hadia Ghaleb wore the jumpsuit to her birthday party, TV presenter Sally Abdel Salam was also spotted wearing a piece from the collection. According to the designer, the jumpsuit is more popular than the dress, even though it represents a more edgy aesthetic.

That said, the collection was shortly followed by a collection of bags. “Rave was ready long before the launch; however, I took the decision to launch it in Dubai at the very last minute. Therefore, it was not the right timing to launch the first RTW designs in parallel,” said Azzam.

While “Age of Magnificence” takes inspiration from the baroque-motif statement, mixed with detailed leather and a dark-colour pallet, Rave takes an opposite direction with minimal details, unordinary silhouettes, and expressive colours.

“So far, ‘Age of Magnificence’ is the best collection I have ever designed, especially the flap bags. Therefore, I wanted to expand and translate it into RTW garments,” said Azzam.

Regardless of the designer’s aim to specialise in different forms of fashion, the first collection was essentially an announcement regarding the upcoming line. Therefore, he wanted to link it to his most demanded collection. “’Age of Magnificence’ was launched over a year ago; yet, I still receive orders of it until this very day,” said Azzam.

As for the brand’s near-future plans, Azzam is currently gearing up for the upcoming spring season as he plans to launch his first cohesive collection. “The spring collection is currently in the pipelines. It is set to be launched by the end of March, and it will include bags as well as RTW outfits for both men and women,” said the designer.

On the other hand, the brand’s latest Dubai-based launch will also initiate a new phase for Zaam. “I am currently focused on off-shore expansion. My latest trip to Dubai has proven great potential there. Accordingly, I am planning to further establish myself in Dubai first, then the region,” said Azzam.

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What have you done with your ex’s gifts?  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/14/615420/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/14/615420/#respond Tue, 14 Feb 2017 11:00:26 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=615420 On Valentine’s Day, people remember how they got rid of the last traces of their failing relationships 

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As the big red day hits, all streets turn into a large scene set of Moulin Rouge; from the red flowers to giant red teddy bears, all along gifts shop that are decorated with balloons and helium hearts. That’s how most traditional gifts are showcased, waiting for people to pick them up and demonstrate their love by giving them to their partners.

As it has become a tradition all over the world for loving couples to exchange gifts on that day, these presents might not last as a source of happiness for partners. As sweet as this ritual seems, when it occurs, some might find themselves trapped with presents after breaking up, being left only with heartache where once sweet memories had been.

While some of those who go through ugly breakups decide to keep those former tokens of love away from eyesight or just ignore them until moving on, others found funnier ways to deal with them in order to help them find inner peace after breaking up with the ones who gave them these things.

“I sold the gift my ex fiancé got me and bought a new pair of shoes.” That’s how M.N., 29, started her story, explaining, “that’s how I currently see him and where he stands in my heart, just like a shoe. It’s also the perfect way of reminding me how badly he treated me.”

Every time M.N. wears her new shoes, the comfort she feels about the fact that at least she came out with something relieving from that relationship brings a smile to her face and reminds her that she took a good decision when breaking up with him.

“At least now when I spend the whole day out, I know that getting out of that relationship didn’t only save me the troubles that would have occurred in a similar situation, but it also keeps me comfortable,” she says with a laugh.

As for Z.M., 24, her gifts remind her of the reason she originally broke up with her ex: being cheap. “Although he gave me several gifts throughout our engagement, he asked me to give them all back after we broke up,” she said. “The one and only nightmare I had to live with after the engagement was over was his mother’s continuous nagging to give him back the ‘extremely expensive’ gifts he had given me—they did not care about anything else.”

Although she wanted to conclude everything related to him, Z.M. refused to satisfy his wish of giving him the things he wanted, reaching a point where she smashed the gifts and sent his mother the video tape of their destruction. “I was stubborn enough to not let them enjoy the one thing they wanted after we broke up.”

While some did not personally go through a similar situation, they witnessed it happening to their closest friends.

“Before my friend was about to break up with his girlfriend, he sold the wallet and the watch—both of which she had previously given to him as gifts—on an online marketplace and told her they got stolen,” M.S., 24, said.

As for E.T., her friend’s breaking up with her boyfriend was a source of happiness. “She gathered all of us [her friends] and brought all the gifts he had previously given to her and asked each one of us to take whatever she likes,” E.T. explained.

From the other side, some shared decent stories of their gifts’ fate after their breakups.

“I keep them in my closet. They never fail to make me smile by bringing back so many sweet memories, even if there some heartache which comes along all the time,” M.N., 22, stated.

Walking the same line was R.K., who keeps all of her ex’s gifts in a box in one of her room’s corners—away from eyesight. However, she gives them a look every now and then as a reminder of her maturing process and of how much she has gone through.

Other people decide to erase all the traces of their failed relationships, except of the traces their memory is carrying.

“I put them in a box and left them in front of his house. I don’t want anything to remind me of him,” H.B, 26, concluded.

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“I Ikadolly” celebrates Valentine’s Day in the Nubian way https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/14/615410/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/14/615410/#respond Tue, 14 Feb 2017 10:00:37 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=615410 Although Nubia has always been an important part of Egypt, a lot of people do not have enough information about its history, roots, and traditions. Aiming to bridge the gap between Cairo and Nubia and spread Nubia’s distinctive culture and the origins of its language, a group of young Nubian men and women held the …

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Although Nubia has always been an important part of Egypt, a lot of people do not have enough information about its history, roots, and traditions. Aiming to bridge the gap between Cairo and Nubia and spread Nubia’s distinctive culture and the origins of its language, a group of young Nubian men and women held the fifth round of the annual festival “I Ikadolly” on 10 February at El Sawy Culture Wheel.

“Each year, we organise a big festival that coincides with Valentine’s Day to celebrate our love and gratitude to our beloved land, Nubia,” said Dina Shabaan, main coordinator of the festival.

“The festival hosts a big number of Nubian bands, cultural dances, costumes, Henna drawings, in addition to the different Nubian cuisines, which attract people from different Egyptian governorates,” she added.

This year, the festival welcomed about 1,000 people, who came to enjoy the Nubian culture and experience its heritage.

“Unfortunately, Nubia is always neglected in movies, songs, and TV programmes. People need to understand how Nubia is a valuable part of Egypt, and that is exactly the main goal of our initiative, which raises people’s awareness about this neglected land with its important customs and traditions,” she noted.

To cover the costs and guarantee sustainability, the festival’s organisers offered cheap tickets that anyone could afford. The festival is one of the activities held by the “Nubian Knights” initiative, which four young people started in 2011. Today, the initiative has 15 organisers.

“The whole thing started when I realised with my friends that people don’t know the difference between Egyptian and Sudanese Nubians,” Shaaban said. “We decided to launch the “Nubian Knights” initiative as a Facebook page that provides information about the topic. People started to contact us, asking for more events,” she added.

However, Nubians are currently suffering from many problems most people are not aware of. “One of these include the latest clashes between the government and “Qafelet Al-Awda Al-Nubia,” which demanded their right to return to their lands that had been flooded after building the Aswan High Dam. Although the government promised to provide solutions, nothing has changed until now,” she explained.

Although the initiative succeeded in achieving a number of goals, it is still struggling to reach more people.

“Our dream is to convey our message to people everywhere. We also dream of establishing a Nubian cultural centre and launching the first Nubian TV channel to spread our culture,” she concluded.

 

Photos handout to DNE

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Ghazl Banat introduces a combination of local and imported fashion https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/12/615205/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/12/615205/#respond Sun, 12 Feb 2017 12:00:18 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=615205 I wanted to support local talents, especially after the recent pound flotation and the evident improvement in local quality: co-founder

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Walking into Ghazl Banat takes every woman directly to the heart of major fashion capitals. The exceptional store is Cairo’s window into international fashion. The team behind it makes it their own mission to find hidden gems from across the world and bring them home.

Over the course of a few years, Ghazl Banat created a base of fashion-forward women that seek beauty and art in their day-to-day garments. After adding more than 20 brands on their expanding portfolio, the store decided to open the doors to a few of the country’s home-grown stars.

“I wanted to support local talents, especially after the recent pound flotation and the evident improvement in local quality. On the other hand, I also want to offer a wider spectrum of options to my clients,” said Meram Maafa, co-founder of Ghazl Banat.

Ghazl Banat represents young and contemporary fashion from across the globe

Ghazl Banat represents young and contemporary fashion from across the globe

Hosted by Soma Art gallery in Zamalek, Mohanad Kojak, Amr Saad, and Farida Abu Shady brought their latest masterpieces to represent Egypt in the global selection harboured by Ghazl Banat.

“The event today is a celebration of the launch of three local brands at Ghazl Banat. The brands are Kojak, Amr Saad, and AFH. Ghazl Banat has always been contemporary and with an all-foreign list of high-end brands; nonetheless, recently, many local designers have proven to have the same standards as international brands,” said Maafa.

Through an artistic and minimalistic display, the two worlds were merged. While Kojak introduced his combo of extravagant fur sleeves and cropped silhouettes, Abu Shady inspired the audience to go back to nature for real beauty, and Saad highlighted the essence of precious eyewear.

“The pieces showcased today are not the new collection. Meanwhile, they are edited pieces from the previous collections. The beauty of handmade craft is the open window to keep editing along the way; in core they are the same designs, just a bit modified,” said Saad who was passionately keen to personally introduce his pieces to each and every member in the crowd.

The extra ordinary store aims to bring a creative mix to the heart of Cairo

The extra ordinary store aims to bring a creative mix to the heart of Cairo

As a jewellery designer, Saad believes in the importance of silver and precise craftsmanship. While he started his career as a jewellery producer in Italy, today he uses the same techniques in making his one-of-a-kind frames. The designer personally works on each and every design at his workshop in Cairo.

When he first started, Saad’s biggest challenge was to educate the local audience regarding his frames and their value. Nevertheless, Saad’s journey has managed to change many old-school perspectives.

He said that “the local market has very vague dynamics. However, local clients do appreciate innovation. On the other hand, it is undeniable that local awareness is currently on the rise.” He continued, “Nonetheless, since the concept itself of wearing a silver pair of sunglasses is quite new, the idea might be extremely different to some people.”

According to the designer, people are often concerned that silver would affect the weight of sunglasses; accordingly, he is always keen on encouraging every new potential client or admirer to just try a pair first.

While the new economic changes were one of the key incentives behind Ghazl Banat’s change of aesthetic, they have also been a sign of better conditions to many designers, including Saad.

“The new prices have definitely served my brand. Plastic sunglasses are currently worth of 4,000 and 5,000 LE. While mine have managed to stay relevant in terms of price, materials and craftsmanship,” said Saad.

The founders’ main goal was evidently highlighted through the display as the team made sure to place all items closely to blur any separating lines.

“The local designers might appeal to a new type of audience; but, more importantly, I want the same audience to get into buying local brands. Ghazl Banat can help them reach a bigger audience.” Mefaat added, “When put next to each other, very few can tell the difference between local and international brands. Foreign-brand obsession needs to end.”

On the other hand, the designers were only concerned about communicating their brands and art through new, well-established channels.

“Meram and Farida are very nice people; they were also very interested in the brand. For me, once the chemistry is there, anything else is doable. Accordingly, I welcomed the collaboration without hesitation,” said Saad.

Along with their well-established list of global designers, Ghazl
Banat currently aims to expand their portfolio of local labels

Along with their well-established list of global designers, Ghazl
Banat currently aims to expand their portfolio of local labels

According to the designer, there is always a difference between showcasing any fashion item at the designer’s personal studio and at a store. As local designers, many aim to sell their story and inspiration as part of the product. Accordingly, the majority of designers are always keen on the people introducing their brands.

“When a client walks into my studio, they already come with a certain amount of knowledge regarding it; meanwhile, I am always present to introduce each design as well as my personal workshop where I work on each and every one of the designs.” Saad added, “The store takes a bit from the brand’s vibe and lifestyle; nonetheless, it is vital, because more people would love to see it and try it while not everyone would necessarily be able to come to Maadi.”

Saad is one of the designers that have one-on-one briefing sessions with the sales team. “I normally tell the store’s staff to focus on a few key elements, including the fact that everything is fully made in Egypt using precious silver. Furthermore, I make sure to educate them about the brand because there are always other brands featured nearby,” he stated.

Amr Saad is specialized in handmade silver eyewear

Amr Saad is specialized in handmade silver eyewear

With that said, Ghazl Banat had even a longer process in order to bring in the new designers to their well-established entity. According to Maafa, the research and selection phases were the hardest and most consuming, as they wanted to find local designers that did not imitate and could compete with the already featured labels.

The local designer aims to make craftsmanship an evident part of eyewear

The local designer aims to make craftsmanship an evident part of eyewear

“Amr Saad intrigued us with his design and quality,” Maafa said. “He has his own style and direction. Unfortunately, many local designers blindly imitate other designs. Saad has his own character. The same thing goes for Kojak. He has some great ideas, and he mixes many styles in one item; he is very talented. As for Farida, her quality is amazing, and she is very ambitious; I like people who are truly passionate about what they do,” said Maafa.

Ghazl Banat currently stokes 20 international brands and three local labels; furthermore, they are on the search for talents, quality, and value all the time. “We currently harbor many international brands. Ghazl Banat has its own style in a way; nonetheless, I always like to cater to different budgets. I do not want to be a store that has nice stuff that only very few can afford.” Maafa added, “I am personally a big fan of local label because I have already had my own home-grown brand before Ghazl El-Banat. Accordingly, I understand the local potential.”

On the other hand, after the event’s positive feedback, the featured designers are only planning to take further expansion steps locally and internationally. Saad, for instance, is preparing to take a major leap through participating in the upcoming season of Paris Fashion Week.

At the same time, he is finally ready to go back to his initial passion. “Jewellery is by definition my next step. I have been working for quite some time on the branding and the concept behind the brand. It is set to be a self-expressing jewellery brand. I am planning to launch by next May,” said Saad.

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Elie Saab pays tribute to Egypt with retro silhouettes and embroidered sailboats  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/02/elie-saab-pays-tribute-egypt-retro-silhouettes-embroidered-sailboats/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/02/elie-saab-pays-tribute-egypt-retro-silhouettes-embroidered-sailboats/#respond Thu, 02 Feb 2017 13:00:08 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=613843 Last week, a single photo of a sailboat embroidered amid blue beads on a luxurious organza fabric broke the internet. The elaborate embroidery became the number one highlight from the current season of Couture Week in Paris after the designer behind it shared further details with none other than American Vogue. Elie Saab, the pioneering …

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Last week, a single photo of a sailboat embroidered amid blue beads on a luxurious organza fabric broke the internet. The elaborate embroidery became the number one highlight from the current season of Couture Week in Paris after the designer behind it shared further details with none other than American Vogue.

Saab captured his favourite Nile scenery through a hand-embroidered gown
Saab captured his favourite Nile scenery through a hand-embroidered gown

Elie Saab, the pioneering Lebanese designer, won the Spring/Summer season of 2017 with a retro-fueled collection inspired by the Egyptian cinema’s golden age. The designer introduced a nostalgic collection influenced by the personal style of many late local starlets, including Souad Hosny and Faten Hamama.

In his post-show interviews, Saab stated that during the 1950s, the Egyptian cinema was capable of leading societal phenomena and causes. According to the designer, people were able to express themselves and their talents through various forms of arts including cinema and music; something that made Egypt a cultural hub and allowed Arabic culture to flourish and reach foreign countries.

The dresses carried various local symbols; including blue eyes and sailboats
The dresses carried various local symbols; including blue eyes and sailboats

The collection maintained the designer’s dreamy aesthetic with flowing silhouettes and mid-length dresses. As for the colour pallet, Saab favoured a number of romantic shades that resembled the era’s most popular movies. From powder blue to light pink, the gowns would have been a red-carpet choice for various beloved starlets.

With that said, the show’s main innovation was the hybrid pants/dress gown, which combined the new millennium’s modernity with the 1950s glamour. Meanwhile, the silk trails combined with the retro accessories embodied every woman’s deepest fashion dreams.

As for the famed dress, Saab’s team spent three weeks working on the one of a kind handmade embroidery. Using a mix of powder blue and gold beads, the designer’s team was capable of capturing Damietta’s sailboats and the Nile’s chain of mellow waves.

This collection represents Saab’s first ode to the Egyptian culture. Meanwhile, it is one of the many ways he uses to advocate Arab beauty and romance. The designer has already brought his hometown, Beirut, to the heart of Paris a few times before.

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Jude Benhalim joins forces with UNICEF to “End Violence” https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/02/jude-benhalim-joins-forces-unicef-end-violence/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2017/02/02/jude-benhalim-joins-forces-unicef-end-violence/#respond Thu, 02 Feb 2017 12:00:15 +0000 http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=613846 “Bringing together the power of the fashion world to contribute to the campaign helps spread awareness on a crucial cause,” says the designer

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During the early years of any child’s life, every experience is a milestone that aids in shaping his or her lifelong personality. While parenting is a difficult task, sadly, being a kid raised in a dysfunctional family is often a more complicated chore.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is well-known across the globe for its relentless attempts to protect children from domestic violence, among other dangers. This year, the non-profit organisation has launched a new campaign in collaboration with various influential entities and individuals to strive for better conditions for childhood everywhere.

Jude Benhalim is a leading name in the local fashion industry, despite her relatively young age. Over the course of a few back-to-back seasons, Benhalim has managed to stand for women through the art of wearable poetry. Her statement jewelry is a fine weapon that she uses to empower women as she depends on powerful quotes and catchy designs.

After successfully showering the region with her iconic bullets, the designer has recently collaborated with the UNICEF to fight for safe childhood and violence-free environment for kids in Egypt.

“Sadly, the statistics on the frequency of child abuse in Egypt are shocking and this campaign aims to go viral to end child abuse in Egypt,” said Benhalim.

The bullet is Benhalim’s top seller and signature design (Photo from Facebook)
The bullet is Benhalim’s top seller and signature design
(Photo from Facebook)

“Awladna”, our children, is a national campaign that aims to raise further awareness regarding child abuse in all its forms. In addition to the UNICEF and Jude Benhalim designs, the campaign is organised under the auspices of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) with funding from the European Union (EU).

Walking the same line of her bestsellers, Benhalim designed a limited-edition bracelet to increase related awareness and speak to a fashion-focused audience. The bracelet was also sent to a number of influencers that represent a fair share of the local fashion community.

“Bringing together the power of the fashion world to contribute to the campaign helps spread awareness on a crucial cause,” said the designer.

Her designs often carry empowering Arabic quotes designed to empower women  (Photo from Facebook)
Her designs often carry empowering Arabic quotes designed to empower women
(Photo from Facebook)

With that said the designer, along with her team, strongly believes in the extended power of social media stars. “Many of the influencers in Egypt are role models to their followers, and spreading the message through them will definitely make a change,” said Benhalim.

The bracelet highlights Benhalim’s aesthetic through mixing silver with semi-precious stones and leather. Meanwhile, it also carries her signature appreciation of geometrical shapes and engraved lyrics; #EndViolence; the campaign’s official hashtag.

Furthermore, the bracelet is distributed with a card that unfolds a few shocking statistics regarding child abuse in order to fully highlight the importance of this particular cause under the headline “Shocking, isn’t it”.

According to the Demographic and Health Survey published by the Ministry of Health in 2014, 93% of children between the ages of 1 to 14 in Egypt were exposed to either physical or psychological violence at home. Meanwhile, 78% of the mentioned children were subject to physical punishment and 43% lived through severe physical abuse.

Few bracelets were sent to key local influencers to help raise digital awareness (Photo from Facebook)
Few bracelets were sent to key local influencers to help raise digital awareness
(Photo from Facebook)

“The UNICEF recognises the dire need for promoting positive discipline at the level of the family, school, and community as part of an integrated national programme to End Violence against Children (EVAC) in Egypt, which is also a global commitment for the UNICEF,” according to Bruno Maes, UNICEF representative in Egypt. He added that “this national campaign is anticipated to reach millions of people thanks to the leadership of the NCCM and the support of the EU, the commitment of the civil society, and the contributions by the private sector.”

This campaign is a subsidiary of the UNICEF’s global campaign, End Violence, in support for children rights. The campaign was first launched via social media in June 2016 and is currently being aired on various TV and radio channels, along with mega outdoor billboards.

Benhalim’s contribution targets a different segment that appreciates art and fashion. Meanwhile, it further highlights the true essence of her goal: to use fashion and jewellery to empower individuals and help women and children-related causes.

Collaborating with creative fashion designers is a global trend on the rise as fashion has proven to be a successful medium for various causes. Meanwhile, timeless items, such as jewellery, are a constant reminder and elaborate advocate that women can carry around in style.

”Jude Benhalim has contributed a creative input to the campaign with a great passion and initiative,” Dalia Abu Senna, partnerships and private sector specialist at UNICEF Egypt stated. She added: “We value this new partnership with Jude Benhalim’s jewellery and thank Jude for the beautifully designed bracelet that we expect will create a good digital hype serving the campaign’s reach.”

The campaign’s official hashtag currently has more than 28,000 posts on Instagram; including the viral campaign featuring famed football player David Beckham, as well as many inspirational children that have survived various forms of violence.

 

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