et Fashion Designer of the Week: UNTY

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Sun, 19 Nov 2017 - 10:00 GMT

Photos courtesy of UNTY/Omar Harbi

Photos courtesy of UNTY/Omar Harbi

CAIRO – 19 November 2017: Inspired by the streets skate-and-surf culture, UNTY came to life as a streetwear brand. “Each piece embodies elements of conceptualization, material, cut, print, production, and branding,” says Omar Mobarak, one of the label's founders and designer.

unty 1 Photos courtesy of UNTY/Omar Harbi

UNTY was founded in 2013 by Omar Mobarak and Omar Fayez as a collaboration between art and fashion. Omar Mobarak spoke to Egypt Today about the brand, where it stands and how they see it evolving in the future.

Omar, who grew up surrounded by skate-and-surf culture, fell in love with the lifestyle and the brands embodied in it. His mother helped inspire him; fashion was always “a big deal” to her and she used to buy him the coolest t-shirts since he was young. At a young age, he realized a simple item of clothing such as a t-shirt, can be a reflection of one’s identity and therefore he became very particular about what he would wear and later on what he would design.

UNTY 2Photos courtesy of UNTY/Omar Harbi

As for his background in fashion, Omar stated that it was all self-taught; he originally majored in art and graphic design at the AUC. However, his knowledge of fashion was accumulated through observation and reading.

UNTY’s current collection is their 10th and it was inspired by cigarettes and a hidden love as Omar says.

“This collection was inspired by a personal experience. I took that experience and metaphorically compared it to cigarettes, in the sense that we know smoking can kill you but you keep going back for it. In regards to which cigarettes, Cleopatra fit the most, due to the character of the ancient Egyptian queen. Historically she was one of the most powerful women, whose character was defined by charm and intellect. Her alluring character and stories inspired the designs and direction of the collection. The story of how she met Julius Caesar for example; Cleopatra wanted to take advantage of Julius Caesar’s anger towards her brother Ptolemy, so she had herself secretly smuggled into his palace to meet Caesar. She entered past the guards rolled up in a carpet. Julius Caesar was smitten by her and immediately saw the potential of being lovers and allies.
Nine months later, their first child was born. I made a tribute to that story with the design of the rolling paper, titled “Cleo-Bafra”, as she was rolled into the palace.”

unty 14 Photos courtesy of UNTY/Omar Harbi

The placement of the design on the hoodies is hidden inside of the pocket, a tribute to her being hidden when they met.”

His upcoming 11th collection will have two hoodies, three sweaters and possibly a special edition t-shirt, to be released later.

Omar relies heavily on the use of Egyptian cotton for his designs; he is open to using more materials in the future. As for his favorite designers? He said that locally it has to be Kojak and internationally the very talented Hiroki Nakamura.

unty 16 Photos courtesy of UNTY/Omar Harbi

In terms of his brand’s future and where he sees it going, Omar wholeheartedly believes that it is more important that people who wear his brand find it relatable more than trendy, as he remarked to Egypt Today.

“I would like to expand into different markets that fit with the brand. The route I’m taking is a lot more organic because it really matters to me that people who represent UNTY wear it because they relate to it, and actually means something to them. I’d rather sell 200 t-shirts to people who love and understand the brand than 1,000 people wearing it because someone with a lot of followers wears it.”

unty 7 Photos courtesy of UNTY/Omar Harbi

That is why UNTY is more focused on the lifestyle aspect of the brand and the culture that inspires it, hoping to have more opportunities of collaboration with all types of brands, artists, and products in the fashion industry.

unty 19 Photos courtesy of UNTY/Omar Harbi

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