Laura Mancini Via Arab Fashion Week Laura Mancini Via Arab Fashion Week

Why has the global fashion scene not yet recognized Egypt?

Sun, Mar. 4, 2018
CAIRO – 4 March 2018: Back in February the Arab Fashion Council (AFC) announced that Saudi Arabia will be hosting the biannual Arab Fashion Week from March 26 to 31. Yet only two months ago they did not even have cinemas and now they have an official calendar fashion week. We talked with the ‘Egyptian Fashion and Design Council’ (EFDC), about why the global fashion scene has not yet recognized Egypt?

As for here in Egypt, we have an ever growing fashion and design scene where on a daily basis we see an emerging designer or brand announcing their launch. As for Egypt’s representation in the regional or global fashion scene we saw Kojak take his bold taste to the runway at season 10 of Fashion Forward Dubai. As for the accessories, there isn’t one person left that hasn’t heard about Okhetin. They have managed to accessorize Queen B herself (Beyoncé) and Egypt’s first lady.

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Their achievements and industry recognition is simply owed to their social media strategies, networking and collaborations with some of the best and well-connected stylists there are, all the while without any consulting from official organizations. Yet, not many have knowledge of a select group of five people who have formed our very own homegrown EFDC.

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The council members are Fatma Ghali, daughter of Azza Fahmy and the Managing Director of Azza Fahmy Jewellery, Susan Sabet the editor-in-chief of Pashion Magazine a quarterly luxury bilingual fashion magazine, Paul Antaki the man that brought Converse and Daniel Hatcher to Egypt, fashion designer Marie Louis and Abdelmalek Shamsi.

With the background of Saudi getting the opportunity to host Arab Fashion Week, we reached out to the EFDC and asked them why Egypt has never had the opportunity to host an official calendar fashion week despite them following the fashion calendar regionally and globally just as the other fashion councils and organizations have.

As for their goals and objectives, the Council commented saying, “Our goal, as the Egyptian Fashion and Design Council, is to develop and grow our designers to eventually establish the Cairo Fashion Week that will showcase a sufficient number of Egyptian designers to a local and international audience of buyers and press.” They continue to explain, “Those designers will not only be competitive on an international level of quality and creativity but will also be capable of having their collections ready a season ahead and fulfill orders on time.”

In response to why we don’t have any official fashion calendar shows or showcases, they explained that “in order to attract, satisfy and guarantee the return of top international buyers and press requires a lot of funding. To guarantee such funding we have to be able to show our sponsors and a selection of professional Egyptian designers that will represent our industry with international standards.”

The Council had their first meeting around three years ago; it was initially formed by Ghali and Sabet who then gathered the rest of the members. However, three years is a long time for the council to still be in the phase of seeking finances.

There have been many homegrown fashion events held in Cairo over the past couple of years and according to their backdrops, they have no shortage of financing or sponsors.

“There are a lot of other steps that need to be taken to truly support the [Egyptian fashion] industry. Education, mentoring and creating strong networks are the necessary steps to establish a whole ecosystem that truly supports the whole industry. So it’s an important step with hopefully many to follow…The EFDC is creating a healthy ecosystem for the design and fashion industry in Egypt."

We only hope to see the Egyptian fashion industry take a step forward with it's everyday increase in talent and the ever growing need for luxury.
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