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A taste of summer fashion
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 26 - 05 - 2016

A fashion and jewellery show for 12 Egyptian designers was held this week at Uptown Cairo, one of the most beautiful compounds in the city. The event was organised by a leading online e-commerce company.
The show presented the designs of the 12 designers under one roof. Its theme was the launch of a virtual fashion boutique, part of a bigger marketing plan to boost Egyptian-made designs.
The event featured Sarah Beshir, Egypt's first local optical brand, Nile Eyewear, the Sahara Collection, with its hip bohemian designs, Nahla Al-Alfy Designs, Noi Designs, Nasharty's E-Nash, Trinket, Ad'oro, Sarai Couture and others.
The designers introduced themselves and talked about the different themes of their designs. The first part of the show was dedicated to jewellery designs. They were displayed in illuminated display cases in a softly lit showroom to give as much focus as possible to the pieces of jewellery.
The designs were mainly inspired by traditional Egyptian culture, with some inspired by India, but all were manufactured using Egyptian silver and other materials.
“I always try to get the latest information about the most recent trends, whether in Egypt or outside Egypt,” said Heba Makled, the well-known Egyptian designer. “I get my inspiration from the shapes used in silver designs, whether Islamic or geometrical in inspiration. I also use Kashmir flower designs from India in various pieces.”
Makled added that the Egyptian market is full of imported jewellery from Turkey and China, in particular. However, while these designs may look good, the materials used are not necessarily of high quality.
“We should focus more on manufacturing our own Egyptian designs. Speaking for myself, I only use Egyptian silver throughout,” she said.
The jewellery designer Sara Beshir has worked in the field since 2011. She mainly markets her designs online and in concept stores. “What makes my designs unique is that they all are Egyptian-made,” she said. “All the material I use is Egyptian, and I am also keen to incorporate various colours in my designs.”
From jewellery, the show moved on to summer fashions. Long dresses are in fashion for women this summer, many of them inspired by bohemian-style designs. Warm colours are also much in evidence.
“I mainly get my inspiration from bohemian, hippy styles,” said Nahla Al-Alfy, an Egyptian fashion designer and one of the main contributors to the fashion show. “And I target women with different silhouettes.”
Al-Alfy believes that women should be more creative in the way they dress, and that every woman should stand out for her unique style. This style should suit her figure and make her comfortable.
“I mainly market my products online and in different virtual boutiques. The present event is a good step towards encouraging more local designers to contribute to the Egyptian market,” she said.
The second part of the fashion show presented summer designs for both men and women, with cotton being used widely for menswear. For women, cotton and lace were strongly in evidence.
Basic T-shirts in earthy colours like black and grey are in fashion for men this summer, and daring colours like orange and pink are in fashion as well. For women, flowery dresses and long, wide-legged trousers are much in fashion. Long sleeves and fluffy chemises for morning outings are favoured.
Online shopping platforms have an enormous capacity to bridge different cultures and fulfil different customer needs, according to Hesham Safwat, the CEO of the company that organised the design show.
“We are keen to create good outreach for local designers in Egypt, since some customers might still not be able to access pieces from them. Online platforms bridge this gap, and they are the cornerstone of any successful marketing and branding plan.”
He added that the competitive advantage of such local designers lies in the fact that their inspiration comes from understanding the mindset of Egyptians, and because they are totally aware of the day-to-day routines of Egyptian men and women.
“They know what is comfortable, practical and fashionable, and they master how to make the best use of Egyptian fabrics. ‘Made in Egypt' is the slogan we are currently promoting,” he said.
The online company now employs different marketing tools to promote local Egyptian designs, including social media channels, company websites, offline events and promotional activities.

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