Egyptian fashion designers and beauty gurus are rapidly growing in number. Cairo is filled with exciting events such as pop-ups and exhibits which showcase the talents of creative Egyptian women. However, it’s not often that events like these occur in cities outside of Cairo. A few of us at Cairo 360 were lucky enough to attend the City Centre Fashion Bazaar in Alexandria and we were inspired by the hard work and innovation of so many Egyptian women. Not only was this event the first of its kind in Alexandria, but it was also a huge success!
Upon entry to the bazaar, we were welcomed with a fun high-fashion-themed photo booth, a Nola cupcake, a hot chocolate stand, and dozens of stalls featuring a wide range of Egyptian designers including Nahla El Alfy, George Sara and Co., Vivian Moawad, By N Designs, Nada Akram, Nile Eyewear, and many more!
We were lucky enough to speak to Nada Akram, a fashion designer known mostly for her creative prints and her “Egyptian authentic identity” which is captured exquisitely in her pieces. “Everything Egyptian and middle eastern inspires me, from the pharaonic, ancient Egyptians until now,” she explained. She started eight years ago with only a Facebook page where she would post her designs, and since then the brand has grown monumentally. She learned to sew at a very young age, and would even visit tailors with her mother and grandmother, and began making her own clothes in college. When asked about her feelings regarding the fashion bazaar, she stated “it’s my first time to join an event like this in Alexandria…and being at City Centre is a big plus for me, so I’m very excited.” Her advice to young Egyptian women who hope to work in the same field is to find your own unique identity and to let it show in your work.
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Makeup artistry was also showcased at this event, and after having our makeup beautifully done by her, we spoke to Logina Salah, an Egyptian MUA with an empowering message to women. Salah studied in New York, and although she majored in finance, she found her calling elsewhere; “I have a message for women, and I encourage them to be themselves, and to take makeup as a source of change and not a source of security…I didn’t feel like working in finance would deliver this message.” When starting out as a makeup artist, Salah explained that many people were unfairly doubtful of her skills due to her vilitigo- but with talent and hard work, she was able to establish herself in the Egyptian makeup community. “I think young women, especially in Egypt and Arab countries, have to accept themselves more…the best gift you can give yourself is self-acceptance.”
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On the Fashion Bazaar, she stated that she was not only excited to be at an event such as this one, but especially one in Alexandria, since they are not common in this region. Her advice to young Egyptian women who want to excel in makeup artistry is to really learn to understand client satisfaction and how to communicate effectively and compromise with your clients, and to keep on learning; “you are never too old, no. Keep on learning and keep on doing the hard work.”
Besides getting a satisfying dose of fashion and beauty, we were incredibly inspired by the creative, powerful, and original Egyptian women whose talents were on full display at this event. Here’s to hoping more fashion bazaars come to Alexandria and the rest of Egypt!