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Mohandiseen, Cairo, Egypt.
Bershka Mohandeseen: Neons and Stone Wash
Lightweight pullovers are signature, as well as bright colours and plenty of the oh-so-trendy snake skin shoes and headbands you might have spotted recently. Bershka's Egypt outfit usually has a flare for punk, especially in the shoe collection. As a rule the store features versions of whatever is hottest, or has been hot recently, in the fashion magazines, from high waisted clown jeans to flats with an all over grommet motif. As you may guess, this isn't always with the best effects.
Staff generally stick to themselves, even in the dressing room where it would be nice to have someone offer to get you a different size or colour when you’re in a bind. There are usually some truly scary items, like the stonewashed jeans with an all over floral pattern, but definitely take a look for some good finds.
So you’ve decided you’re a fashion designer; options on the Cairo shopping scene simpy aren't doing it for you and you’ve taken matters into your own hands. All is in place except one thing: the fabric. Where can one go in Cairo for fabric to make a dress? The answer is Salem in Mohandiseen.
Located on Lebanon Street, Salem stocks endless amounts of fabrics and textiles suitable for any type of clothing you’re looking to design. Making our way over on a weekday afternoon, on the hunt for fabric suitable for a dress, we were completely overwhelmed by the endless options once we stepped foot into the shop.
We made our way to the silk section to begin, hoping to find something with a pattern. Words cannot describe the number of options peering at us from the shelves filled with rolled up fabrics. Taking up all the walls of the spacious establishment, the fabric sits side by side, or on top one another, on the shelves waiting to be picked.
The staff at Salem are patient and attentive – two very important factors while on the hunt for the perfect material. They will eagerly pull out whichever tickles your fancy, and also aid you in holding it against you for a more telling view of what it would look like on.
The quality of all fabrics is relatively high, however some are more luxurious than others and could carry high fashion names such as Christian Dior, costing up to 2000LE and higher per metre. A silk fabric with floral patterns went for 150LE per metre, while an orange one with apaisley-like patterns was priced at 190LE per metre.
Embellished fabrics with sewn beads and other accessories are also available, but were a little pricier, ranging 400LE-700LE per metre. Salem also carries an extensive collection of chiffon in all sorts of solid colours; the more expensive natural type would be around 65LE per metre. Lace is also readily available in different textures and shades of whites, beiges and blues; a standard lace costs about 62LE per metre, while a French imported one stood at a whopping 500LE per metre.
Most fabrics would require an under layer, which can be used on both its matte and shinier side, costing about 45LE per metre.
Salem also carry simpler fabrics in both texture and pattern, such as plain or striped – good for men’s wear – and these ranged about 165LE per metre.
Searching for the right material is not an easy feat; you will feel confused, pressured and at some point, downright scared – what if it ends up looking hideous ? But take your time, indulge in the hunt, allow yourself to be carried away in the world of Salem and its friendly, accomodating staff, and you should be just fine.