It’s been a long time in the making, but finally Egypt has an official fashion council. We met up with the people behind the project to find out about the mission and why they are confident they can make it happen!
The five founding members are Abdelmalek Shamsi - Commercial Director STA- Shamsi for Trading & Agencies, Fatma Ghaly - Managing Director at Azza Fahmy Jewellery, Marie-Louis Bishara - Designer, Vice Chairwoman and Partner at Bishara for Fashion, Paul Antaki- CEO Premium International For Credit Services and Susan Sabet - Publisher and Editor in Chief of Pashion magazine.
They bring together their collective knowledge and experience in design, production, retail, export, marketing, media and public relations. Their aim and program: to develop and grow Egypt’s fashion, textile, cotton and design industry and place Egypt on the international fashion map as presented in the board’s recent string of meetings with H.E the Minister of Trade & Industry, H.E. The Minister of Investment and H.E. the Minister of Tourism.
A big task that has lots of challenges we are sure.
“We are developing the EFDC taking the structure of such international fashion councils as the British Fashion Council, the French Chambre Syndicale de la Mode or the Dubai Design & Fashion Council as a guideline” says Susan Sabet, who as the only Egyptian and one of only ten Arabs has made it on the annual BOF 500 list for the past four years. Being recognized as one of the 500 most influential people in the global fashion industry is partly due to her international network and connections in the industry that allows her to source international support and collaborations for the EFDC mission, projects, and members. Extensive international coverage of the EFDC launch has even included a feature in Vogue Brazil! Her contacts also opens up opportunities for scholarships for potential candidates, internship placement and showcase opportunities for Egyptian design students and designers internationally. A regular for over 15 years at international fashion weeks, a member of the MENA Couture Council, a newly appointed member of the advisory board of Fashion Forward Dubai, organizing a local fashion week, planned by 2020, is her game. In her pioneering role in supporting local designers she also recognizes talent and most importantly the professionalism it reuqires to build and sustain a brand.
Overcoming the challenges of production in the ready-to-wear and textile industry, are where Marie Bishara and Paul Antaki are the experts. Leaders in both the production and retail sector, they lived and coped with the challenges for many years, and both are firmly committed to training programs for factory workers and artisans to raise and maintain the quality of the local manufacturing from small workshops to large factories. “Our objective is to reinstate Egypt in its proper value on the world’s fashion and design map” adds Paul Antaki.
The managing director for the past 12 years at Azza Fahmy, Fatma Ghaly grew up watching her mother build an empire that is Egypt’s only international success story in the fashion, jewelry and luxury industry. The business development specialist played a vital role of transforming the business from a home- grown brand to an international luxury designer name. The graduate from the faculty of Fine Arts is also a mentor to local designers and upstarts. Vocational training, workshops and mentor-ship are her forte. "The Egyptian fashion industry has become creative and enhanced over the years in lightning speed, especially luxury brands. Fashion is basically what reflects who you are, and is a form of art and statement for all. It’s worth educating, developing and moving it on to others, which is what we aim to do through this council", she points out.
When it comes to finance 28-year old Abdelmalek Shamsi is your man. Gaining expertise at Morgan Stanley London he not only knows his numbers but also knows how to make them work in production and retail. Taking his family’s business Dalydress and Shatex into the 21st century he has recently launched Dare, targeting the growing young and trendy Egyptian customer segment. As a founding member of the EFDC he brings a young perspective and vision to the board identifying with the challenges faced by emerging designers and industry upstarts and how to spend the money wisely!
In it’s first year the EFDC will kick off a series of workshops by leading Egyptian and International Industry members, organize vocational training for students, emerging designers as well as more established businesses. The EFDC will also provide opportunities for local and international events and pave the way for a local fashion week. Funding, initially through its founders will be generated through sponsorships, membership fees, events and services offered to the Industry. Individual patrons are welcome to share their passion for fashion. An advisory board is in the making that will boast the finest local and international industry experts.
So if your business or studies are in fashion and design, sign up quickly on www.the-efdc.com to stay alert on all initiatives to kick off in September including a mega launch, with details still kept a secret!
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