Tall, blonde, and with an inimitable sense of style, Bosaina El Kahal has almost literally taken Cairo by storm. Better known as Bosaina II, daughter to Egyptian actress Raghda, she has proven to be more than just a pretty face. Singer, actress and certified fashion stylist, she can now also add entrepreneur to her CV.
While Cairo’s art scene is well embedded in popular culture, it wasn't too long ago that studying art or design was deemed ridiculous and a waste of time. Over the past few years though, a new attitude has emerged; one that understands the importance of creative expression, how enriching the creative process is and, more importantly, one that realises the value of breeding these artistic abilities. The right attitude is merely a starting point, though; it’s the implementation of theory that matters more and this is what Bosaina pinpointed immediately when she founded the Fashion Studio.
“The Fashion Studio was conceived purely out of a lack of quality services and education in the creative fields here in Egypt, especially in fashion”, she explains of the initiative which was started up earlier this year. Having studied fashion styling herself at Instituto Marangoni in London, the twenty five year-old saw an opportunity to share her education and subsequent work experience in the field with those unable to attain it in Egypt. "I see it as a way to pay it forward to a new generation of raw creative talent”.
It’s true that there are fashion courses available in Egypt, but many have found the content to be lacking and the overall experience to be shallow. With workshops on styling, illustration and photography among others, the Fashion Studio aims to wield local talent for a greater good. "The workshops are less about teaching, and more about mentoring”, according to Bosaina. Bringing in professionals from their respective fields, she asserts that they don’t just teach students what to do, but more importantly what not to do.
The workshops are designed to cover all areas of their focus; for example, fashion styling is split into theory and practice. The former includes history of fashion and education on significant designers and brands, as well as the study of trends. The practical section includes making mood boards, learning research skills, editorial and celebrity styling, creating look books and completing a portfolio. While the set-up varies, all the workshops are structured within a holistic format.
Amuse in Zamalek hosts the Fashion Studio's activities. Using the upstairs gallery space, Bosaina was drawn to it because of its inspirational quality and the similarity between its approach and the one she saw the studio moving in. Amuse itself is a bright, high ceilinged and edgy space that carries a great selection of fashion items as well as home accessories, making it a very logical choice.
The Fashion Studio doesn’t restrict itself to the classroom and spreads its horizons in several directions. Keeping an open door policy, Bosaina is pleased that they’ve discovered a lot of great talent just by having the space open for collaboration. Through international and local contacts, they’ve also helped past students find work on projects, as well as seen other students join them full time – as she simply puts: “the relationship doesn’t just end when the workshop finishes”.
Recently producing a photo shoot for website, Greater than Fashion, as well as for Hebz Boutique and Amina K, the Fashion Studio is expanding. “We want to work as [a] visual arm to creative and unconventional companies”, says Bosaina, as she prepares to launch a creative agency that includes photography, web and graphic design, as well as video and editing services. Keeping in the mind the struggle that most young entrepreneurs face financially, some services, such as creating a website, will be tailored to be more affordable while equally urbane.
There is something very compelling about this project and you just need to check out their Facebook page to understand why. The Fashion Studio breathes new life into the local fashion industry where Cairo can begin to see hints of originality and a platform for experimentation.
“Fashion has its own language and we speak it fluently at the studio” says Bosaina proudly. A space collaged with colours, scraps of fabric, outfits, mood boards, it's exactly as one would imagine a fashion studio to be.
Workshops at the Fashion Studio last one month and are either four or eight classes, with prices ranging from 800LE to 2500LE. For more information check their website: www.thefashionstudio.org