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Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt.
Mobaco: Egypt's Answer to Polo
The famous camel logo polo shirt is now 35-years-old, and it's what Mobaco has built its brand on; specialising in shirts made from the finest Egyptian cotton fibres. They now produce a full line of clothing made from cotton, cashmere, silk and worsted wool. Starting with only a dozen employees in a small factory, Mobaco now has over 30 stores in Egypt.
The store's Zamalek branch in the Cairo Marriott Hotel is marked with the sign New Man, a French brand that is distributed by Mobaco in Egypt. The store is tiny but still stocks enough of a variety to get an idea of their style, and buy something on the go. On the cheaper side, classic white trousers and linen trousers cost 170LE, while the brand's classic polo shirt sells for 100LE, and its fitted version sells for 120LE.
On the more expensive side, several items hit 290LE upwards, such as the office suits, which start at 350LE by the piece, and silk shirts start around 300LE. Cuts are classic and basic and not exactly fashionable, although a few variations in pattern, colour and fabric are eye-catching, but not necessarily appealing to wear.
The store even stocks loungewear, including shorts and jogging trousers, but the items' cuts and shapes were too sloppy for us to care about the price. On the other hand, we did find an adorably floppy white beach hat for 90LE. There’s also a kids' section, and a large section for men that is well-stocked with dozens of button shirts in every colour and style, and tons of khaki trousers to match.
Prices are surprisingly affordable if you stick to the basics, though the quality is only okay when compared to international polo shirt brands like Lacoste and Ralph Lauren. However, Mobaco’s prices being one eighth of what one would pay at either of the other stores make this store a cheap and interesting local alternative. And the relaxed service is much appreciated.
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.