Sign in using your account with
Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Fair Trade Egypt: Handicrafts From All Over Egypt in One Zamalek Shop
Located on a side street near L’Aubergine, Fair Trade Egypt hides away on the first floor of a building in Zamalek. In an area that cannot seem to get enough of boutique shops, we decided to revisit Fair Trade Egypt to see if it can still hold its own.
The first thing you’ll notice when you walk in is the selection of textiles; from simple scarves to authentic galabeyas and colourful tunics to drawstring trousers and dresses – all pieces are unique and often include simple embroidery. Many of these are one-off items – making them rare and precious treasures to own. Prices range from 30LE to 65 LE for scarves, 140LE to 200 LE for tunics and 170LE to 200LE and upwards for galabeyas and dresses.
Akhmim bed covers offer a cheap and simple addition to your bedroom and range from 123LE to 220LE. Colours are mostly subtle and a variety of sizes are available (single, double, Queen and King sizes).
A selection of handbags and purses are scattered throughout the shop, ranging from drawstring cloth bags to leather Sami-Amin-style purses. The leather purses and copper accessories are not very unique, since similar designs can be found elsewhere around Cairo. Jewellery and accessories range from bright beads (25LE-50LE) to copper earrings, pendants and rings (20LE-40LE); these accessories can be authentic little trinkets or a quick fix for a simple outfit.
Buffalo horn accessories from Behera include little statuettes made by local communities to ensure that all parts of the animal are used; fish, camels, kangaroos, dolphins, mermaids, elephants and turtles are hand-carved from buffalo horns and are imaginative in design.
Handcrafted pottery from Fayoum is perhaps one of the real treasures of this place; the selection includes a range of cups, fruit bowls and plates of all sizes, vases, coasters, trays, and other kitchenware, each piece tells a different story. Designs range from colourful to subtle; some are inspired by nature, with animals and birds adorning large serving plates, to the more traditional swirling designs on fruit bowls. One thing is certain: no two pieces are the same. Prices vary from as low as 8LE for a coaster to up to 200LE for a plate or bowl.
Nubian baskets (23LE) are hung on the walls, bringing colour and culture to the shop and can be used functionally or simply as accessories in your home. Klims woven by Behera women come in a variety of sizes – from small runners to large rugs and range from 35LE to 400 LE.
Wooden kitchen and home accessories from the Hegaza woodcraft workshop are inspired by Ancient Egyptian themes, including keys of life, lotuses, scarabs, Horus’ eye and range from 17LE to 90LE. Kitchen accessories include spice grinders, salad bowls and cutlery ranging from 60LE to 200LE and above.
Last but not least, Fair Trade also holds a selection of cards made of recycled paper as well as goods from the Zabaleen recycling community - another quality to add to the list of things that make this boutique shop truly special.
Gift Carnival has a variety of wrappers, bows, ribbons and such to make gifts as festive as possible and prices range according to size and amount of supplies used. . While they had a lot of plain balloons, the occasion-specific ones were out of stock, although you can also grab some helium balloons (8LE each). Gift bags are also available in surplus, with prices ranging about 10LE. Celebratory cards (12LE) are offered in great variety, many of which were simple and appealing, without being too tacky or fussy.
Apart from gift accessories, you may also find the gift itself while roaming the shop. A definite highlight, and one of the nicest items we’ve seen around, were porcelain travel mugs (100LE) in a range of vibrant colours and patterns.
The shop also carries lightweight storage pieces - essentially a straw chest of drawers - at a very steep price of 790LE; single baskets are also available, most useful for storing small items and knickknacks. Interestingly, the Gift Carnival had quite the selection of scarves claiming to be Burberry and Gucci, at 100LE to 150LE.
Other household items include candles; a large one was discounted from 260LE to 130LE, while scented candles come at a much more reasonable price between 20LE and 40LE. Gift Carnival also has a range of kitchen utensils such as egg whiskers, cheese graters, cheese knives and vegetable peelers – all around 20LE each.
If you’re looking to decorate your Christmas tree, the shop also has a bunch of tree ornaments available. Though not very exciting or unique, a box of large round ornaments, with two per packet, costs 25LE.
The knickknacks are endless at Gift Carnival. Louis Vuitton inspired lighters, refrigerator magnets, decorative boxes, pillows, stuffed animals, there appears to be no restricted theme.
If you’re looking to wrap a gift or buy a helium balloon than Gift Carnival is likely a good stop.