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Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.
Burberry Children: Pricey Kids' Wear at Citystars, Heliopolis
Following in the footsteps of even the most cosmopolitan cities, the Cairo shopping scene is fast evolving and welcomes more and more designer names to our colossal shopping malls. Aspiring to cater for shoppers of all ages, Citystars have recently seen the opening of Burberry Children.
Founded in 1856, Burberry has expanded from their staple trench-coats and outerwear to full clothing lines, including entire collections dedicated to children. Quintessentially British, the brand is well-known for its high quality and even higher prices. Both the exterior and interior is much like any other of their branches; shiny, immaculate and well organised, but with mini manikins sporting the latest looks.
The shop is spacious and split into two sections, with the front half offering clothes for children aged one to five years, and the back for between five and fourteen years. Although intending to offer flawless customer service, as soon as we entered the shop, we were followed closely by one of the many members of smartly dressed staff, which actually made for an uncomfortable and claustrophobic browsing session.
With an air of seriousness, a child-size table in the middle of the shop boasts several iPads, in order to occupy children so parents can pick out their outfits in peace. Alongside this, many of the rails are hung at adult height, and whilst many of the clothes are more demure than fun, it is obvious that the intended audience is in fact the adults, not the children.
Their autumn collection has been designed using warm colours such as deep purple, burnt orange and browns, as well as slightly brighter, but modest, pinks and greens. Many of the items feature the signature Burberry print, including full chequered shirts, button up cardigans (995LE), the turn-ups on boys' jeans (1100LE) and girls' leggings, whilst other garments sport clear but subtler logos. We also spotted striped rugby shirts (915LE) for boys, chequered day dresses for girls (1755LE) and soft novelty tops for little ones (535LE). Gift boxes for newborns are also available (1350LE) and include an all in one jumpsuit, a hat and a Burberry chequered bib. A large range of smart coats and jackets are also available for both boys and girls; wax jackets, down-filled puffers, woollen pea coats and duffles. In the way of shoes, bags and other accessories, little to none were available.
Modelled by the likes of Romeo Beckham, the clothes are admittedly both incredibly chic and smart. Despite this, considering how fast children grow, the prices at Burberry Children may seem utterly ridiculous to the average Egyptian, let alone thoroughly impractical for everyday use. However, if you're searching for something for a very important occasion, or a gift for someone special, Burberry is unlikely to disappoint.
Shopping in Cairo continues to flourish, as more and more international brands come to Egypt. Influenced by Parisienne style, Okaïdi is a French clothing brand dedicated to children between the ages of 3 and 14. The brand carries a wide variety of contemporary items and encourages fashion-conscious kids to mix and match, to create their own unique look.
Located on the third floor inside Sun City Mall, Okaïdi is the most brightly lit store on the level; the shop's quirky logo is easily distinguishable from the countless other shops surrounding it. The shop floor was a mess due to restocking and the sections - whilst clearly visible - took some tactical manoeuvring to get to. Since Okaidi has a unified pricing method, shopping is made simple and ensures fairness between genders.
Taking up the entire right side of the store, as well as a few islands, the girls' section is slightly more extensive than that of the boys'. Delicate sun dresses, cute polka-dot skirts (225LE) and funky jean skirts (259LE) stood out, while t-shirts start at 79LE and fair-weather jumpers at 169LE. As with all clothes in Okaidi, jeans are separated and priced according to style and age. Skinny jeans retailed at 259LE, slim jeans at 225LE, and comfortable treggings were priced at 169LE.
Pertaining to the general fashion present throughout the girls section, adorable cat-shaped backpacks went for 169LE. A wide selection of ballet flats, buckle shoes and studded high-tops (225-315LE) were neatly exhibited underneath hanging scarves (25-99LE).
The boys' department is rather monochromatic and doesn’t evoke the same fashion-conscious approach as the girls' section. We saw a plethora of jeans and sneakers, plaid shirts in a variety of colours, khaki jackets (259LE), baseball caps (115LE) and trendy fisherman hats (89LE). Despite the general lack of exciting patterns and styles, a few select pieces did spark our interest, such as an incredibly soft burgundy house robe (225LE) and a trendy blue messenger bag (199LE).
Okaïdi’s philosophy on allowing a child to create their own unique look is inherent throughout the shop and mis-matching is made more difficult by colour themes and staple wardrobe pieces. While the store doesn’t carry a particularly large selection of styles, it offers reasonably priced clothing that appeals to both children and adults; a balance that not all children shops achieve.