EVOLVING FASHION TRENDS IN EGYPT
Attention Rachelle Gavello, Arizona University
Arizona University Q1: What types of inspirations influence your
Creativity is an on-going process, a way of living. We are all subject to the Influence of
the environment where we live. It’s what my eyes see, my ears hear , my nose smells,
my soul feels… It’s all together melted through a certain mood that leads to creativity
and which is, by the end of day, a gift from God. Nature and Music maybe are the
most important resources that influence me to influence my designs. Wherever I’m, [Nature]
Green and Colorful flowers and Music must embrace me, even my office is surrounded with
a small garden that mainly comprises aged trees like Olive-100-year-old. I take good care of
it while my favorite Music of Mozart… Yanni, Voices like Shirley Bassey, Barbara Streisand,
Alessandro Safina… just put me in a mood for Creativity. I feel how Life is beautiful despite
what is happening round me i.e. The drastic insane political, social and Human situation that
my country is going through.
Arizona University Q2: Do you have a specific audience that you are
trying to sell your products to?
Jean Fares Couture targets the woman in what she really represents. We see her just a
distinguishably elegant, powerful Lady empowered with an extreme refined taste. We
do purchase her everywhere. Despite its location-base in Lebanon, Jean Fares Couture,
live a Business Fashion in a world with no boundaries.
Established in the heart of the ME, our direct audience for the High Couture Line and for
our forthcoming Haute-a-porter (ready to wear high end) are mainly the Arabian Gulf (KSA,
Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE…) and the rest of the Arab World (Egypt, Jordan… including
Lebanon). Actually, we aim a specific audience that is the Woman worldwide, the International
Market. Like Music or Painting, Fashion is an international language ,with an accent of beauty,
that could can touch [Human Being’s] woman’s soul!
Our international appearance started in Paris, within Hydra prêt-à-porter… then in USA i.e.
Miami, Houston, Washington DC, Palm Beach and with an outstanding success in New York
Couture Fashion week last February 2008:
For further details, please visit Jean Fares Bio (PDF GFX format, Attached)
Arizona University Q3: How do you feel fashion is evolving in Egypt
Comparing to the great achievements of the People of Ancient Egypt in History i.e.
[The unrevealed secret of] Pyramids, Luxor, Alexandria… looking at the trends fashion
in Egypt of Today, they do not unfortunately match with what the People of Egypt of
Ancient Time have given, created and achieved for Egypt. The difference is widely
projected starting from walking in streets that could only be few km far from the Great Pyramids!
Sometimes, I just wonder where those People of Egypt are? What happened to this [Ancient]
City i.e. Cairo, Alexandria…? It saddens me when I witness a drastic decrease in Arts being
the reflection of the People’s soul and spirit. With a population that is more than 75 millions,
the existence of very few fashion designers in Egypt (Fashion i.e. Hani El-Bheiry or jewelry
i.e. Azza Fahmi) is neither right nor balanced. Fashion, like any Art, cannot be considered as
evolved in Egypt of Today whose population sink in to an unconceivable poverty, illiteracy and
unemployment. It’s a chain. It’s all in one. It’s about a general mood where Government’s and
people’s aspiration must meet. Lebanon is not the perfect place to be. However, the general
atmosphere of Freedom of the multicultural city of Beirut --that is unique amidst its conservative
Arab World-- Beirut could provide a convenient umbrella for Creative to explore their insights.
And that’s what explains, in fact, the reason why in Lebanon are many renowned Fashion
Designers whose names spread over the region as well as the World i.e. Elie Saab, Georges
Chacra… and this is why the few High Class of Egypt target Europe or Lebanon to shop for their
weddings and special occasions.
Arizona University Q4: As far as everyday wear, do you feel that Egypt
should establish a traditional dress?
I would encourage this kind of Egyptian vests with embroidery
http://www.pyramidimports.com/artsandcrafts/gal201.htm or http://www.
pyramidimports.com/artsandcrafts/gal200.htm over a tight-sexy-Jeans or a long-
stylish-skirt of Viscose or Linen. It will look nice for Youth!
Bringing traditional to modern could give a wonderful combination. In my recent collections
(Living… Eco and Living… Energy) for e.g. the spirit of some of my designs and looks i.e.
the short gold/silver and the Green Gowns (below) were originally inspired from the Spirit of
Egypt’s Ancient time which I consider it unbeatable:
Many of Cleopatra’s gowns were similar to a silk
sleeveless sari with a deep v-neck sleeveless
gown of pleated silk, with a gold trimmed pleated
“Egyptian clothing styles did not change much throughout ancient times. Clothes were usually
made of linens ranging from coarse to fine texture. During the Old and Middle kingdoms, men
usually wore a short skirt called a kilt. Women wore a straight fitting dress held up by straps.
The wealthy men wore pleated kilts, and the older men wore a longer kilt. When doing hard
work, men wore a loin cloth, and women wore a short skirt. Children usually ran around nude
during the summer months, while in the winter, wraps and cloaks were worn. Noblewomen
sometimes wore beaded dresses.” http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:LaElowJvGj0J:www
Traditional dress for Everyday wear in Egypt today? With Islamism, the Islamic look becomes
the traditional ready to wear in Egypt: very conservative long dresses or skirts (pens not
recommended) with a pro-white-simple Hijab or veil. For Egypt to start re-innovating a
traditional dress Today, means that the Egyptian society is ready to go back to its fascinating
roots and accept its own [Ancient] Style. This from one hand, from the other hand, features, look
and body-svelte-shapes of the Ancient Egypt cannot be neglected as they are an inseparable part
of the costume and accessories as well.
“The Fayum Portraits: Greek and Roman painting style, encaustic (εγκαυστική) (from enkaio
“to burn-in”) on wood, part of the Egyptian culture (funeral portraits). They show the faces
of the inhabitants of ancient Egypt at a period influenced by Greeks and Romans. The Fayum
portraits are the best preserved paintings of Antiquity. Some of these produced by Greeks
who worked in Egypt, part of the Greek population that settled in cities like Alexandria, when
Egypt was ruled by Greek kings after the peaceful conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great.
The portraits, many from Fayum, are from a period when Romans followed the Greeks as
rulers and their influence is shown (for example Roman fashion). Examples were found in
various Necropolises: in Memphis (Saqqara), Philadelphia (Er-Rubayat and ‘Kerke’), Arsinoe
(Hawara), Antinoopolis, Panopolis (Akhmim), Marina el-Alamein, Thebes and el-Hiba
(Ankyronpolis) and other places.”
For the left image: (Diogenes the flute
player, a Jew?) from Portrait-Painting in
Ancient Egypt.” by Amelia Ann Blanford
Diogenes, he was apparently a professional
musician. The hair is very thick and curly,
and the features are distinctly Jewish in
type. That he should be a Jew would be
quite in accordance with his profession.
So yes, in my point view, evolving trends and fashion better in Egypt of Today, requires that
the fascinating Style of Ancient Egypt revives at the Egyptians’ memory first so they could ask
for it… with Passion. It is a must-do with Pride! More over, the Ancient Egypt style, trends
and fashion should at the core-programs of the Designs colleges and Universities of/in the
Arab World in particular. Ignoring or not educating it does not delete it. It’s there… it should
be recognized to the People of Egypt. Education, Media and Marketing can undoubtedly help
reviving and evolving better trends and fashion in Egypt. Offering the right environment,
talented-youth could create and innovate. Today, before Egypt some opportunities that Egypt
and the world could grab:
1 – The cotton of Egypt which is relatively cheaper than the European.
2 – The still unbeatable impact of TV on viewers/consumers’ mind. With 75 millions illiterate in
the Arab World (as per ESCWA 2007 report), TV remains the number one-only tool that affects
its viewers means consumers.
3 – In the Telecommunication-Revolution-era, Internet and online shopping that are, in fact,
making of the Globe a small village, could, more or less, help evolving trends and fashion in
the Arab World including Egypt in a better way.
Arizona University Q5: Are there any restrictions to what you can and
As Jean Fares Couture’s slogan well says about me: I’m “Freed to love… Committed
to Passion”! My flowing gowns say much about it i.e.:
My creation lives with no borders. What I create is what I have Passion for it; it’s our “natural”
spirit that we were born and raised with, shaped with knowledge, continuous studies and
research. Some adjustments (for conservative society) could and must be done if the changes
are good on my client and that they do not ruin the core idea of my gown. If would so, we
suggest our clients some other alternatives that could suit their needs. Since we do business that
is simultaneously related to Creativity and Market, we are committed to please our clients and
to preserve our style equally. That’s what makes us.
Conservative Designers from conservative societies put their restrictions on their designs.. For
such conservative (with restrictions) designs, there is a clientele that is different than ours.
Although our clientele is mainly located in the Arabian Gulf. I can say that our clientele from
KSA, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar appreciate our refined quasi “non” conservative style. Again
with some very few adjustments that could be done.
Arizona University Q6: What is the message you are trying to portray
with your designs?
Distinguish elegance ,at all times, is our direct message that is reflected on our gowns.
Acknowledging the threats that encounter every body’s life on Earth-planet i.e. Climate
Change, poverty, illiteracy, water’s reticence, fighting the destruction-genocide of our
historical sites in the Arab World… put our firm before its social responsibilities. Jean
Fares Couture is being involved into several non-profit events i.e. RMF: http://www.youtube.
The theme of our fashion seasons, we choose it with high care. We try to spread the word…
to make people think about what is threatening our very existence and encourage a friendly
living with the Beauty of the Planet i.e. the themes of my last 2 fashion shows: living… Eco
and Living… Energy. For further details please visit our Media room www.jeanfarescouture.
com. The theme of our next season/fashion show is already set. Finding the accurate theme is
not something easy at our firm. It’s the result of great readings and research. We choose hard
threats that-- if not taken seriously-- the Human very existence will have to facing dangerous
future. Hopefully not. This is why, we, at Jean Fares Couture, through pure creativity with no
boundaries, try to help raising awareness through addressing serious causes. Who said that
Creativity has no Responsibility? We have created it, with pride, in the Heart of Fashion and
Beauty, from the heart of the Arab to the Globe. We promote Hope, Peace, Love, Human’s
Development and Creativity. We promote the values of God. And that increases our power to
make our creativity to continue... “And the Creation continues”!
Arizona University Q7: Do you think that the Ancient Egyptian
civilizations have had a large impact on style? If so how?
Starts with photos just below:
Superb photos of the pyramids.
Attack Machine. Photo is from
Ancient Egypt Under Rome and Byzantium The Legendary lighthouse that was one of the seven
Alexandria founded in 331 BCE. wonders of the World.
“With the establishment of Roman rule by Emperor Augustus in 30 BCE., more than six
centuries of Roman and Byzantine control began. Ancient Egypt again became the province
of an empire, as it had been under the Persians and briefly under Alexander.
Ancient Egypt under Rome and Byzantium brought about many changes for the entire region.”
Egypt%26start%3D18%26ndsp%3D18%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN. “In ancient
Egypt, the great city of Alexandria represented a golden era of education, understanding and
knowledge. The ancient city, in its most fundamental form, represented new and profound ideas,
a harmonizing of many diverse cultures, and a synthesis of ancient wisdom and modern ways.
All of these attributes were manifested during a time of great transition in the ancient world.
As our modern world encounters its own time of great transition, the spirit of the greatest city
of the ancient world is once again needed”.
So as style in fashion, accessories, makeup and hair…, Egypt had had certainly an inevitable
influence. Located on the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt
must had an influence on 21 modern states that have a
coastline on the Mediterranean Sea from Europe, Asia
to Africa. As a simple example, Linen that is my favorite
material for casual wear, we re-saw it, if I remember
well, round late 80’s whereas [white] Linen was one
of main materials of Ancient Egypt clothing. And this
amazing! Anyway, the photos that reflects the Style of
Ancient Egypt and which we tried to collect for you
may answer better your question:
Arizona University Q8: What do you think establishes cultural
Many factors amazingly fuse to create a cultural identity. It starts from Home
where the result of our parents’ education [to us] is nothing but a natural transition
of their education in their childhood and so on. Roots could never disappear. It’s
always there. I remember in my childhood, my father ,who is an ambitious self-
made-man, was an employee with limited salary. At one of the occasions, he could not buy
new clothing for the 3 of us (my 2 sisters and I). My mother who used to play the role of
explaining to us, she had to answer our queries:
“Mama, why aren’t we getting new cloth like others. Are we poor?” My youngest sister
asked. “The poor is whose mind is poor”, my mother literally said. However, my mother’s
answer at that moment was not fulfilling our dream of getting new cloth!
As far as creativity is concerned, my parents were involved in to fashion and trends as well.
In her adulthood, my mother used to run the artistic arrangement dept. at the renowned
“Bafga”, a fancy Chocolate factory, that used to exist in Beirut. [from his side] My father
started his profession with fashion material. He used to be an employee at the biggest
woman-material-shops at that time in Beirut i.e. Chirinian, Sax, La Sirene… before he
established his own-Merveille-shops by 1974. Actually, the creativity [germ] that I have or
got influenced/transmitted by my parents, I think, did not influence only me as a fashion
designer, but my 2 sisters as well. My eldest sister is a painter, graduated from ALBA
university. She is handling the Accessories dept. at the firm. My other youngest sister
is a Media person with 19 years of experience. She is handling the Public Relations &
Communication dept. at the firm.
So this is all to say that over years, the 3 of us equally realized how the set-of-values
and the education of my Art-Loving-parents have shaped the core of our identity from
childhood. Obviously, everyone’s life experience produces certain differences but that
whose resources remain, in my opinion, from the same core of identity.