It is an undeniable fact that Egyptians have been setting trends for thousands of years. One only has to look at their advancements in art and construction, when most of the rest of the world lived in the dark ages, to realize how far ahead of the times their civilization was.
Now, Egypt is slated to begin setting trends in the fashion world, with the announcement of their own Fashion Week, to kick off this May. At a press conference held on last month at the Semiramis InterContinental, The Egyptian Fashion & Design Council (EFDC) announced the launch of the first and official Egypt Fashion Week (EFW) titled: “Past, Present & Future” to be held from May 12 to 15, 2023.
This new wonder is the brainchild of entrepreneur and Egyptian Fashion & Design Council co-founder Susan Sabet. Sabet is one of The Business of Fashion's BoF500, and the the editor-in-chief of Egypt-based magazine Pashion. Born and raised in Vienna, Sabet holds both Austrian and Egyptian nationalities and speaks German, English, Arabic and French. In November 2017, she was one of five founders of the Egyptian Fashion & Design Council (EFDC), which operates under the auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of Trade & Industry, the Egyptian Ministry of Investment, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and the Egyptian Ministry of Planning.
Egypt Fashion Week, is set to celebrate Egypt's rich heritage and civilization, inspired by its culture, and to show the world Egypt's present: a pool of creatives, craftsmen, and industry leaders that have forged a contemporary Egyptian DNA; and most importantly to look at the future, projecting a vision and direction that combines 5000 years of inspiration, craftsmanship, and resources with today’s know-how and fast-paced technology driven trends, that allows Egypt to be a reckoned industry player in the future.
But the advent of Egypt Fashion Week wasn't pulled off without issues. Due to the worldwide pandemic, Sabet explained recently in a Vogue Arabia interview, the event had to be postponed three times. Now, finally, it will see a grand opening night inside the old Egyptian Museum, featuring a "Best of Egyptian Designers" fashion show curated by American stylist Julie Matos followed by a gala dinner, and will then continue on the following two days inside what Sabet called "an architectural gem" in the same interview, which is "the Museum of Agriculture, the second most important agricultural museum in the world after Budapest."
Also on the museum grounds, EFW will be holding runway shows and exhibitions of Egyptian fashion, accessory and jewelry designers as well as showcases of local and international fashion schools including The Azza Fahmy Design Studio, Fashion & Design Center, Cairo Design District, FAD Dubai, and Creative Space Beirut. In addition, guests will discover designer exhibitions curated by the recently launched Saudi Fashion Commission, Lagos Fashion Week, Jordan Fashion Week, and GTEX-ITC.
Activities will also extend to include panel talks by local, regional and international fashion industry leaders in the fields of design, education, craftsmanship, production, retail, sustainability, women empowerment, and finance. Among the distinguished guests and speakers already confirmed are other members of the BoF500 list, like Diane Pernet, Omoyemi Akerele, Jamila Halfichi and Burak Cakmak.
EFW will then end on May 15th with “Shop the Runway” and more fashion experiences at Mall of Arabia, a gold sponsor.
Sabet said: “Inspired by the rising number of emerging designers and growth of the local fashion industry, we knew the time had come to show the world our pool of creative talents and local cotton and textile industry. Egypt Fashion Week has been almost four years in the making, but this is what it took to be 100% sure that we will deliver an event that will hold its par with established and recognized fashion weeks around the globe and impress our Egyptian and our international guest that includes distinguished fashion industry leaders and media. The EFW program goes far beyond fashion shows and exhibitions and aims to connect the local, African, and Middle Eastern markets through design, craftsmanship, education, sustainability, production, and retail. We are very proud and grateful to have won over so many distinguished speakers and major worldwide media partners and attendance to ensure that all eyes will be on Egyptian fashion!”
Paul Antaki, co-founder & President of the Egyptian Fashion & Design Council, added: “The Fashion industry in Egypt goes as far back as its civilization, so it is about time to revive it and present it to the world in its modern image nurtured by the many existing talents and emerging ones. The forthcoming Egypt Fashion Week in its first edition faced many challenges but we are confident of the outcome’s excellence. The EFDC (Egyptian Fashion and Design Council) worked hard for the past four years to make a great success out of this event. We aim to make all Egyptians proud of their locally manufactured products inspired by the past the present and the future.”
Aside from having produced some great collaborations lately, including this one between accessories brand Okhtein and Balmain, under the French maison's creative director Olivier Rousteing, Egypt has also been the location for some international designers, like Dior Men's Kim Jones, to showcase their latest collection.
The lineup of the shows has yet to be announced, but during the press conference, their partners were announced.
EFW will be held under the auspices of the Ministry of Planning & Economic Development and the Ministry of Agriculture & Land Reformation, and is co-produced by Creative Headz, a world-class Austrian company with 15 years of experience organizing fashion shows, including MQ Vienna Fashion Week and Thai Silk Fashion Week.
Furthermore, Launchmetrics, a partner of NY and Paris fashion weeks, is EFW’s logistics partner, while F2F Agency is handling the fashion shows’ organization; Julie Matos is the event’s head stylist; and renowned Egyptian artist Hossam Dirar is designing the EFW’s invitations and official poster.
EFW is supported by BMW Egypt, as a platinum sponsor. Other sponsors include African ExportImport Bank, Premiumcard and The Cotton Egypt Association. The EFDC is also excited to partner with The U.S Embassy in Egypt, the French Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Egypt, L’Oreal, Al Sagheer Salons and Al Ahram Beverages. The creative consultant is Don Tanani, and service providers include Tanis, F2F Agency, Semiramis InterContinental Hotel, POD, and Snap14 Productions.
Official media partners include Eurovision, Pashion, Enigma, Cairo West, and WIDN.
For more information, check out The Egyptian Fashion and Design Council website.