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Mohandiseen, Cairo, Egypt.
Tommy Hilfiger: Classic Sportswear in Red White and Blue
Clean lines, classic basics and traditional threads; that’s what Tommy Hilfiger is all about. Despite increasing competition from European brands like Mango, Zara, and H&M hitting the Egyptian clothing market recently; the Hilfiger brand has steadfastly held its ground.
Walking into the store’s Mohandiseen branch; you'll find clean-cut, classic clothes for the preppiest set of yachters, golfers and tennis players; and with those price-tags, they may well be. Women’s jeans sell at 900LE, albeit a nice pair of very well-cut classic jeans, but 900LE nonetheless. Regular t-shirts with a smidgeon of silk-screening sell for about 500LE, while basic polo shirts and fancier flowing office button shirts retail at around 750LE. The average price for really well-tailored trousers, whether casual or office, is 1100LE; while dresses of any kind (though mostly short and shifty or summery) are about 1300LE. Basic canvas shoes are for 500LE, while simple foam flip flops sell for 350LE.
The store’s walls match the brand’s sailing theme colours in classic navy blue and white, with dark shelves and displays in a multi-level setup, while interestingly quirky photos and memorabilia hang in black frames in the stairway. Various architecture books strewn about round up the touches of vintage Americana– but is all this enough to warrant the prices and make us want to buy things? Not neccessarily.
In the end, the store is pretty and the clothes are nice to look at; but realistically, there is nothing fantastically spectacular about a Tommy t-shirt that justifies paying up to 750LE. And the staff seem to know it: they can smell the green, or lack thereof, when you walk in; meaning service can be intimidatingly attentive for those who just want to browse through the racks in peace.
Shopping in Cairo is becoming increasingly eclectic with international brands popping up in every corner. The latest brand to grace our city with its return is Topshop, which had previously closed down its only shop in Maadi due to the political and social instability of the past few years.
Located in Cairo Festival City, Topshop, at first glance, retains its urban high-fashion meets high street vibe. From the lights focused on the mannequins to the neon signs leading to every section of the store, you cannot help but get absorbed into the hip, dare we say, post-modern theme. The clothes also generally carry a more high-end than high-street appearance.
The staff was generally friendly, but not overly eager. They’d stop by, say hi and tell us to call for them if we need any help, but would not insist on accompanying us all throughout our visit, which was refreshingly liberating.
We immediately began scanning the women’s section to see what they had to offer and all we can say is we found a handful of items that will totally transform us into street style fashion icons. A formal powder pink jumpsuit (949LE) definitely caught our eye, as did a striped skater dress (519LE) and a cosy fluffy jumper (579 LE). The store also carries a special “petite” line, for all the smaller-sized ladies out there.
We moved on to the shoes and accessories section, where there were plenty more goodies for Cairo’s fashion-conscious to drool over. Our favourites included a small leather backpack (549LE), heeled suede boots (1349LE), a sturdy handbag (719LE) and some chic flat loafers (449LE).
The men’s line, Topman, was no disappointment either. Some of our finds there included casual sweatshirts (449LE), summery tank-tops (249LE), all kinds of fitted jeans (480LE-600LE) and an array of t-shirts (319LE). Men can accessorise too, with some knitted icecaps (129LE), as well as normal caps (280LE).
We all need some fashion advice, especially when we cannot get our significant other, friends, or mother to accompany us on our shopping trips, and so the store’s unique personal shopper service can be a life saver. For no extra charge, the store’s resident stylist can help you pick out an outfit or put one together for you from scratch.
All in all, Topshop offers a shopping experience that is one-of-a-kind. The sales personnel were helpful but not too overly-attached, and the new service they’re offering is definitely a game changer. The only downside is that many of the items carry hefty price tags – price tags that are, through experience, more than the quality and longevity in the garments offered.