The influx of international fashion brands to the Cairo shopping scene has produced mixed results on the streets of the city. With its sleek, clean-lined shop front, Bershka looks the part inside the modern walls of Mall of Arabia in 6th of October City. You can find it located in its thematic homeland between Stradivarius and Pull & Bear. Incidentally, all are shops owned by Spanish retailer Inditex – so what makes Bershka stand out from the crowd?

Bershka’s interior shies away from the I-am-not-a-shop-I-am-a-surf-shack look, which other shops attempt, and opts instead for minimalist, block-colour walls without shots of models in bikinis. If anything, Bershka thinks it’s a nightclub, and sports a futuristic look with anti-aircraft speakers filling a central panel wall, blaring out techno/trance music as if it were Amsterdam circa 1997. The overall look is fresh and modern, with mannequins wearing the latest trends dotted about the open-plan layout, and accessories displayed to their full glory on spacious shelves.

The women’s clothing selection is diverse, ranging from the slouchy t-shirt at 99LE, to a hot pair of heels for 559LE. Although the tops were often flimsy and see-through, we’re willing to put this down as a style choice rather than lazy tailoring, as the heavier items seem well made and durable. Surprisingly for an international brand, there was the odd unfortunate print top with incorrect English across it – another style choice? We think not.

The designers at Bershka have been inventive with this season’s trends – dying a pair of suede boots mint green and glitzing up baggy jumpers with interesting motifs. However, unlike its neighbouring sister shops, it seems Bershka missed the memo about Aztec prints and denim jackets.

The shop also came short in the men’s section, which was banished to a dark corner, and where items were outnumbered by women’s wear at least three to one. Disappointingly, Bershka too has condemned men to the confines of the blue colour spectrum, although one florescent lemon shirt did catch our eye. Logo-print tees and suede shoes ruled the day, but if they’re on season in the fashion world, the abundance of heavy coats and jackets means that Bershka are one season behind Cairene temperatures.

We were delighted to find that sale season was upon us and prices had been generously cut by up to a third, meaning some t-shirts were just 19LE. Despite its low prices, Bershka’s sale was not the sprawling mess which pits girl-against-girl for the best bargain, and means you leave the shop with a black eye and missing a shoe. In any case, trendy and laid back shop assistants were on hand to help lest a brawl should break out.

Unlike Zara or Massimo Dutti, Bershka doesn’t branch out into office-wear, maternity or sports sections, but does what it does best and sticks to everyday wear, perfect for just hanging out in. Bershka makes an effort to remove the stress from clothes shopping, and while you won’t find anything especially daring in its fashion ranges, it’s a refreshing find after the showboating of other young-person clothes shops.