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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.
With over 1000 shops worldwide - two of which are faithful members of the Cairo shopping scene, Lacoste’s little flagship store shines like a beacon with bright lights and immaculate window displays.
The Lacoste uniform reigns throughout the store, with an abundance of plain polo shirts stocked in a plethora of different colours. Of course, their iconic crocodile logo sits proudly on the chest of most - if not all - the garments. As many of the styles overlap in each orderly section, it took a moment to distinguish between the men’s and women’s collections. At the time of our visit, many of the items were on sale; however, this was only discreetly advertised inside the shop.
Women’s polo shirts were priced at a rather steep 995LE, whilst one’s with attractive, beaded versions of the crocodile insignia were retailing at 1160LE. The Lacoste Live line - 100% cotton polos - were 790LE and noticeably softer to the touch, as were the small collection of plain and yellow striped, boyfriend-fit t-shirts (440LE+), tank tops (428LE) and sleeveless polos (665LE). Long sleeved polo shirts were on sale at 590LE, and one woollen jumper would set you back 1720LE. Nautical, blue and white striped day dresses were reduced from 1895LE to 1370LE and pinstriped shirts were 1116LE, whilst casual jeans cost upwards of 1000LE.
Mirroring the women’s section, men’s polo shirts crept closer to the 1000LE mark, as did the range of smarter dress shirts. An eye-catching bright orange and black polo shirt was priced at 1250LE and a slick, black tailored-fit button-down was 1292LE. A summery collection of short-sleeved casual shirts were 770LE, pale blue trousers were marked down from 1220LE to 976LE and navy shorts from 1390LE to 875LE. In preparation for the winter season, we spotted a navy windbreaker for 1895LE. There was also a small section dedicated to the bigger man, with a selection of larger polo shirts and several pairs of jeans, which were reduced from 1495LE to 965LE.
The children’s section is much smaller, but offers a range of fun t-shirts (400LE+), mini-me chequered shirts (600LE+), girls' sun dresses (810LE) and tank tops (435LE). Again, the standard polo shirts were priced high at 845LE, whilst special edition t-shirts with Swarovski crystal emblems were presented in a gift box and were priced at 990LE.
Shoes came in numerous different styles; flats (760LE), canvas shoes (515LE) and plimsolls (515LE) for women, whilst unisex rubber flip-flops start at 230LE. The men’s range included smart and casual loafers (1140LE+), sneakers (900LE+) and espadrilles (590LE). The kid’s shoes were undeniably cute, with preppy sneakers (390LE) and baby shoes with Velcro fastening (530LE) on offer. The shop also stocks a range of leather accessories including wallets, belts, laptop (3395LE) and messenger bags (1180LE).
Lacoste largely stays true to its reputation by stocking a large number of uniform items. But although few in number, we were glad to see some other styles, too. Prices are almost excruciatingly high, so one can only hope that this is reflected in the quality of the garments.