Etoile Mardini: Enduring Textiles Outlet in Dokki
One of the oldest textile shops in Egypt, Etoile Mardini is in fact one
of many sister shops. While the Mardini family has been in the textile business
since the 1970s, the business is now divided between a number of shops: Etoile
Mardini, Texmar, Radwan Mardini and Tayseer Mardini.
The different shops are independently owned and managed and only a few
have kept up with the changing market – the most notable being Texmar. In spite
of the proliferation of textile shops in Egypt, Mardini remains a household
That being said, Etoile Mardini has certainly seen better days; a
two-story shop tucked away on Amman Street in Mohandiseen, Mardini gives the
impression of being a washed out shop that could stand to benefit from a
A discussion with the salesman revealed that in their heyday Mardini
used to export to Cyprus, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. While they used to
commission designers to develop original patterns and keep up with the latest
trends, they seem to have lost their touch in more recent years. The selections
on display at the time of this review were either stuck in the 90s or imported.
Their textiles can be used for curtains, cushions and upholstery; the
range includes hand-woven silk designs with taffeta (280LE /m), solid and print
velvet (120LE /m), taffeta (100LE-140LE /m) and ready-printed synthetic cloth
(42LE / m). And while all of these prices are more or less average compared to
other shops in the market, the outdated styles may not make them worth the
The range of
silks and taffeta was quite large, though most were limited to the floral or
hand woven tradition. While the occasional piece may appeal to a very
traditional homeowner, most were simply relics of the past.
selection of velvet and taffeta may make this place worth a visit if you’re
willing to experiment and perhaps push your imagination to its limits. The more
interesting and diverse collection of fabrics were part of the print
collection. Located on the second floor of shop, these include a wide variety
of floral, pastels, stripes and solid colours – there was even a collection for
children’s rooms. Since these were also the cheapest, this is one section that
may be worth visiting – though the quality of fabric may limit your uses for
have a window display that includes sofas and armchairs, it’s probably a better
idea to buy the fabrics and have the upholstery done elsewhere, since they do
not have a warehouse/factory for furniture.
All in all,
Mardini is an interesting visit, to say the least. They do not claim to be
trendsetters, but have been in the business long enough to know the ins and
outs of it.