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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
The Studio @ Zafir: Affordable Accessories at New Concept Store
The small room carries a shelf on its right side displaying notebooks, organisers and coffee travel mugs by Hani Mahfouz Designs (HMD) as well as colourful flip-flops by local brand Shibshibi.
On the other side, large retro film posters hang next to a shelf displaying cool and affordable tile stickers by Drumstick Designs (less than 100LE) and music albums by local production company 100Copies. CDs include music by Rango, Mahmoud Refat and El Tanboura.
A small wooden box covered in Chinese newspapers carries copies of the last two TokTok issues next to a 2011 calendar. In the corner by the room’s only window, a Louis XV armchair is covered in bright red kheyameya fabric next to a sleek lamp with a large felt tarbush-shaped lampshade, complete with a long black tassel. Next to it, a small red TV set has been converted into a fish tank.
The window is flanked by a large stand displaying the jewellery line of Beirut designer Zinab Chahine, called Ctrl+Z. Her collection of young, colourful and cheap jewellery is easy wearable, including her bright charm bracelets, long pendants and bulky rings with images of arab pop icons, symbols and funny slogans. Priced between 20LE and 140LE, the collection is extremely affordable and will brighten up any wardrobe.
In the centre of the room, you can find aprons made of blue kheyameya fabric and hairbands with mini-tarboushes by Boho Sharqi. The local clothing brand also has a tiny rack carrying four or five clothing items in muted colours.
At the opposite end of the room, several photographs and prints (starting at 100LE) hang on a wall, all of which follow the same Egyptian theme that the whole shop seems to embrace. A collection of colourful woven baskets are arranged beneath a massive print and next to a small collection of brass earrings by Eman El Banna.
The cool thing about Zafir is that everything is extremely affordable, with many items priced under 100LE, which is becoming a rarity in Cairo’s boutique culture these days. Although the shop is still in its soft opening phase, this reviewer is excited to see if it can cement itself as an alternative shopping destination in Cairo for cool, funky local brands at affordable prices.