By Maria Fahy
Okhtein was launched in 2013 by two sisters, Aya and Mounaz AbdelRaouf, who had a vision to bring back luxury to Egyptian fashion. Each Okhtein product has a unique cultural feeling, specialized in handmade embroidery together with significant oriental craftsmanship in their products.
The sisters arrived from Paris where they exhibited their latest collection at the Premiere Classe Paris fashion and accessories trade show. There they received great response to their unique designs. They are truly creating new edgy designs on an international scale.
CEM: Okhtein, what inspired your collection?
Okhtein: For our Weaving Waves 2015 summer collection we were inspired by summertime in Egypt. The excitement of travelling to the beach inspired us to create artworks that reflect the scenery of Egyptian shores, but with a tropical twist.
Where do you see the Egyptian fashion industry going in the future?
The industry is progressing in Egypt and we believe and trust that many Egyptian brands will make it on an international level due to very strong creative potential.
How did you fall in love with fashion?
From a young age, both of us loved drawing and conjuring up outfits and handbags. We loved fashion but most importantly we loved creating it.
What advice do you have for young people finding their passion in fashion?
Perseverance is key. Keep going after your dream no matter what obstacle comes your way and stay
Fufa is a new fashion label offering simple handmade clothes. Every collection is a limited edition with authentic free-spirited looks. Fufa offers her customers a carefree, comfortable fit guaranteeing a great finish in each piece.
The brand focuses on offering a limited quantity of the same design to minimize the number of people donning the same look. In addition, collections will be launched in an event-based manner that cannot be pre-ordered.
CEM: Fufa, what inspired your collection?
Fufa: Prints inspire me! Most of the material I used for this collection came from India and Turkey.The colors were so vibrant and the patterns were insanely beautiful. I wanted each clothing piece to be as unique as the print, so the majority of the collection was made into one-of-a-kind pieces, giving each customer the privilege of owning a gorgeous print that is exclusively hers.
I named this collection ‘Forever Summer’ because my goal was to make each piece an absolute beauty that you would want to wear all year long!
How do you see the local fashion industry?
I think the fashion scene in Egypt is starting to boom on an escalating pace. So many new designers have appeared and so many fashion photographers, stylists and make-up artists. I feel that there’s a large community that is starting to rise and that we’re all connected in a way and trying to help each other out. It’s amazing! In the recent year, I’ve heard about so many fashion events, bazaars and launch parties all trying to promote local design talent. And there are so many that still need to be recognized.
How did you start out in the world of fashion?
I’ve always liked art. I used to paint with my grandfather all the time. When I got older I started sketching mini dresses and outfits and I was thrilled with the idea of actually seeing these little doodles come to life. From that moment, I decided to learn the basics of sewing and cutting and began making my own clothes, which then followed to an entire collection and the brand FUFA.
What advice would you offer young people trying to start out in fashion?
My main advice is to put all your fears aside and just go for it! It’s so, so scary starting something completely new and on your own and waiting for people’s judgment to decide whether or not your dream, whether it’ll succeed or fail! But in the end, at least you tried and it is your passion so you know you had a hell of a time doing it. It feels so good making your own clothes, or even better seeing a random person on the street wearing something you made with your label on it! And it is always good to reach out to others, there’s no competition, just different ideas, with different styles, and everyone has an idea and a style of his own.