CAIRO – 16 January 2018: From quirky street-wear to high-end accessories worn by the likes of Beyonce, Egyptian designers have been revolutionizing the local and international fashion scenes. These 18 names are on our list to watch out for in 2018.
This is a simple, fresh and modern fine jewelry brand offering 18k gold, diamonds and black diamond creations that are adored by the Egyptian starlet Amina Khalil. Dena Essam, Djewelled’s founder, aims to make sure that her line is always developing and always on point with seasonal trends and standards. Plus, it is easy to style and goes great with everything. Djewelled is available in Egypt, UAE and soon to be worldwide.
Starting from the design up until the manufacturing, Cotton Ball is proud of and rejoices in its use of Egyptian cotton and manufacturing in support of the local market. Established in 2013, Cotton Ball has been creating everything one would need from high-quality basic must-haves to basic apparel. They don’t just offer garments; they offer a lifestyle and tradition.
The sky is the limit for Amany Shaker, the Los- Angeles-based Egyptian high jewelry designer, who finally came home to Cairo in November to launch her Sa’maa collection. The 18-piece collection showed off fine craftsmanship and storytelling. Her choice of lapis lazuli, metal and silver pays homage to the ancient Egyptian traditions of when silver was favored over gold due to it being rich in substance. We’ll be on the lookout for this celestial dreamer’s next collection.
Specializing in innovative handcrafted jewelry and eyewear, Amr Saad’s namesake brand has managed to gain an exclusive list of clientele in a short time with style mavens such as Elisa Sednaoui, Lana El Sahely and many more. He has become the It designer to be Instagrammed in. Saad is expected to be one of the frontrunners in the MENA region to make a statement on the global jewelry and eyewear scene.
The brand was launched earlier this year by Hisham Wali when he decided to turn his hobby into a business to spread Middle Eastern art and culture through his bespoke pins and cufflinks. Each piece from the collection “El Sand Storm” can adapt to the everyday man’s style, whether it is the daily corporate life, casual hangouts, or elegant night out. HUWA (him) debuted 17 pieces for men and, if styled correctly, can be for her too. Handmade gold, sterling silver and platinum-plated pieces are embellished with black diamonds, emeralds, sapphires and pearls. The brand also offers a private service where clients can bring in their own pieces of solid gold that HUWA can then shape into beautiful bespoke pieces.
Massarany’s semi-couture creations are only created once, so you can be sure that whatever piece you choose to wear from the collection, you will be the only owning it. Her debut collection was influenced by nature, earthy tones and women’s silhouettes that captured a hard and industrial setting.
What is Indira? It is reviving the art of traditional jewelry by using 100 percent sterling silver, accentuated by colorful materials such as mother of pearl. Founded in 2014 by Egyptian-American designer, Marwa Saadawi, who found inspiration, beauty and simplicity amidst the organized chaos of her two home cities; Cairo and New York. Her pieces are designed with the modern professional woman in mind, while using Saadawi’s signature geometric patterns, mixing Arabesque designs with the edgy, minimalist style of New York. Her vision for Indira is to create jewelry that has universal appeal by collaborating globally with independent designers and artisans. You can find Indira Jewelry online, and in select boutiques in New York, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Cairo.
Hayden & Co
Founder and designer Shaddy Elian had an idea to substitute diamonds and gold with a more affordable range of choices. In his latest collection “Love Wear,” Elian mixes old and new to create unique jewelry for the modern women. Hayden & Co’s purpose is to fill the need for special occasion jewelry with accessible prices, and of course for all women to feel special through his jewelry. His pieces are handmade in Belgium from gold and silver-plated rhodium and encrusted with Swarovski crystals.
Egyptian sister design duo Aya and Mounaz Abdel Raouf first launched their brand Okhtein (sisters) in 2013. They began to design luxury accessories such as clutches and bags using Egyptian craftsmanship, incorporating handmade embroidery, straw and leather into their designs. Their biggest social media hit came when Beyoncé, the international singer and mother to everything fabulous, posted on her Instagram not one—but three posts—that have now garnered over one million likes, where she is seen wearing the brand’s new classic dome belt and orange shoulder bag from the 2017 spring/summer collection.
Always looking to inspire and empower women through her wearable deconstructed, asymmetrical, textured and color-blocked designs, Dina Shaker is an interior designer turned avant-garde inventor. While playing on the hard and soft elements with day and night looks, the piece de resistance of her 2017 fall/winter collection “Recomposed Classic” is the winter jacket, which is oversized, deconstructed and a three-in-one transforming piece of edgy wearable art that turns into a skirt or shorts. Her collections are now sold in the fashion capitals of the world such as Milan, London, Beirut and Kuwait.
Inspired by the street skate-and surf culture, UNTY came to life as a street-wear brand, as “each piece embodies elements of conceptualization, material, cut, print, production and branding,” says Omar Mobarak, one of the label’s founders and designers. UNTY was founded in 2013 by Mobarak and Omar Fayez as a collaboration between art and fashion. Their current collection is their 10th and was inspired by cigarettes and a hidden love. The upcoming 11th collection will feature two hoodies, three sweaters and possibly a special edition t-shirt, to be released later. Mobarak relies heavily on the use of Egyptian cotton for his designs; yet he is open to using more materials in the future. In terms of his brand’s future and where he sees it going, he wholeheartedly believes that it is more important that people who wear his brand find it relatable and not just trendy.
Lifelong best friends Farah Yasser and Hanna Hazem decided to create wearable art that displays different stories and transformations while staying true to their established identity of high-end luxury bags that can set your outfit apart.
House of Select
Founded in 1923 by an Italian expat name Folina, Select is known as one of the oldest jewelry houses in Egypt, carrying pieces of heritage since the time of Egyptian monarchy. The house has dressed some of Egypt’s most notable personage, including King Farouk himself, his wives, children and other members of the Royal Family. After the 1952 revolution, Folina left Egypt and passed on ownership to Samy Abdou Youssef. With focus on staying relevant and adapting to modern fashions they have taken the collaborative approach and partnered up with Okhtein and M Collection for capsule collections.
A master of mixing both haute couture and ready-to-wear, Mohanad Kojak is fresh off the Fashion Forward Dubai season 10 runway where he showcased his tracksuits mixed with dresses and jackets with his signature Romeo and Juliette goblin fabric, the upholstery fabric he introduced to the fashion scene when he first started his brand. He has dressed many Egyptian celebrities, such as Nahed El-Sebai, Dorra, Hana Shiha and many more. He is, and will go on to push boundaries with his sense of taste and bold fashion statements.
Jewelry designer Reem Jano has gone on to bling out the stars on the Cairo International Film Festival red carpet, including Mai Omar and Asmaa Galal. All of her designs are handmade and are gold or silver plated, and the namesake brand stands out as a consistent, high-quality and widely loved local favorite.
Jewelry with a cause; Suhayla Al Sheikh created the “Cicatrix” collection to fundraise for Ahl Masr Foundation, to empower women who suffer from physical or psychological scars. Behind every piece is not just an inspiration, but a concept; but her challenge is to bring the conceptual jewelry into the mainstream. Sandbox was first launched in 2014, when Al Sheikh began designing customized pieces for exclusive private clientele.
There is an undeniable gap in the Egyptian market for locally made footwear. This architectural engineering student turned- footwear pioneer recently launched her first ready-to-wear autumn/winter 2017 collection Riv-It! After the success of Hany’s first bespoke experimental collection “Connector,” BMW created a car model based on it. Finding the harmony of craftsmanship, structure and 3D technology, Hany is gaining popularity, with her first best seller being The High Bolt high tops.
Arwa Al Banawi
She may not be Egyptian but it would be a shame if we did not mention the Saudi-born fashion designer Arwa Al Banawi who made waves on social media in 2015 with her inaugural collection of sharp-tailored suits and tops, only to go on to collaborate with Adidas Originals on a capsule collection, and most recently Levis for Sole DxB. Banawi is loved for her comfortable, feminist and empowering creations.