Most Egyptians don’t like to think of themselves as ‘African’, states Elshandaweely. She claims that the rich colours, vibrant prints and tribal motifs often associated with the continent as a whole are often rejected in Egypt as vulgar or unaspirational. Egyptian fashion, she says, tends to be shaped by two major forces, a desire to imitate the West and simultaneously hold on to conservative Islamic values.
“I remember, when I was little,” said Elshandaweely said in her speech at Design Indaba, “my mother took me to buy clothes for our feast – which is like Christmas is in the West. Nothing I saw in the stores seemed to excite me. I would look at all the advertising and magazines and no one in there looked like me. So I asked my mum if we could go buy some fabric and take it to the tailor to make clothes that I wanted to wear. I’ve been making my own clothes ever since.”
Join our community
This article is available only to subscribers. You can join here.
CR's premium content is available only to subscribers. Join today for the sharpest opinion, analysis and advice on life in the creative industries.
If your email address is registered we will send you an email to recover your password.
+44 (0)2072923703 or firstname.lastname@example.org