For thousands of years, ancient Egypt has inspired inventors around the world. Carrying the responsibility of presenting the ancient Egyptian heritage to the world, many young Egyptian fashion designers have played an important role in transforming history into innovation.
“In addition to natural environments, buildings and people, each of which has its own spirit and personality, I draw inspiration from ancient Egypt in my work,” says young Egyptian fashion designer Amira Kuzamil.
“I am fascinated by ancient Egypt and its rich designs, so I created a collection that celebrates Egypt and its history. It was difficult to take on the responsibility of creating clothes that would be fashionable at the same time as authentic to ancient Egypt, including its images and colors.
Although she studied pharmacy at university, Kuzamil’s first interest was always fashion design, which she pursued from an early age. She has improved her design skills over time, she has learned to choose the best in each person, this skill is only acquired through practice and working with different people.
Kuzamil’s family encouraged her to continue developing her fashion sense after she graduated from university. In the year She started her career in fashion in 2016 and eventually opened her own design studio. She combines imported colors and patterns with her own imagination in creating her designs.
“My mission is to create each design with authentic drawings from ancient Egypt. Before using them in my designs, I study the names and forms of the ancient Egyptian gods, so that the symbols remain intact,” she said.
Sahar Zaglul is another young designer who, in this season of jewelry, always has a passion for fashion. She started her career in fashion design but quickly moved into jewelry. Wearing her own special clothes fills her with satisfaction. Every object you see can be a source of inspiration, even if it’s just a table or a lamp. Ever since she was a child, she imagines that everything around her has been turned into an ornament.
As you travel, Zaglul recognizes the pride of each city you visit in its heritage. “Why don’t we resurrect our ancient Egyptian heritage and apply it to the core issues of our daily lives? We have something that no one else has. We have amazing structures like pyramids, sphinxes and temples that are unlike anything else in the world,” Zaglol said.
When she designs, she follows her intuition. She lets ideas flow through her mind and onto paper. “When I feel joy or happiness, I draw a lotus. When I draw scars, it gives me positivity and good luck. “Initially, I created blank molds as a basis for creating ancient Egyptian symbols such as lotuses, scarabs and others when creating my designs,” she says.
“When I design, I rearrange the symbols and shape them. I then try out the designs by hand and figure out the next steps before sending them to the workshop for the final product. That’s why I choose the design level, because I can communicate directly with the jewelry. Then comes the final step, when I hold the finished design in my hands. I am always happy with the results of our collaborative efforts.
At first she worked with silver, then with gold and enamel. Later, she began to cast her designs in gold and insert diamonds to give the ancient Egyptian-inspired look a modern touch.
At first she had a hard time drawing designs, but she overcame that by training and experimenting, and finally she was able to create the shapes she wanted.
“In addition to studying psychology at university, I also faced challenges in the field of design. Then I found it difficult to juggle my work and my children. However, I believe we all have dreams to pursue. For me, there is a way where there is a will,” said Zaglul.
Bag by Abdel Shahid
Accessories: To celebrate her Egyptian identity, Marina Abdel Shahid remembers looking for accessories that spoke to her Egyptian heritage.
After a long search, she did not find what she was looking for, so she decided to create her own brand that reflects the ancient Egyptian identity in a modern way.
Abdel-Shahid initially faced various challenges and said she knew little about ancient Egyptian civilization except for a general knowledge of temples, museums and some famous stories.
But she chose each of her design ideas based on an ancient Egyptian myth and sent the designs along with papyrus and the story behind them. “For example, when I made a bag, I chose the hand fan shape invented by the ancient Egyptians. On the papyrus that comes with the product, I explained that the hand fan was one of the treasures found in Tutankhamun’s tomb.
Driven by an undying desire, Abdel-Shahid went through all the stages of her career. She started by researching the background of each design and then in the design process – away from her own field of study – and applying some of her ideas.
Drawing inspiration from the ancient Egyptian civilization has its own rules. “In every ancient Egyptian sign there is an innovation that I want to pass on to the current generation. So, I develop the signs in every detail and in the right shapes. Then I finish the designs on modern lines,” she said.
“For example, I use the image of the Egyptian key to life. Ank Mark in me Ank Bag design. It represents the union of male and female and the continuity of life.
“Embellishing ancient details, I made the design of the bag depict the love story of the ancient Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris, and the symbol of Horus is depicted as a bird at the top. Inspired by the ears of Anubis, the ancient Egyptian god of death, I trimmed the bag with pieces of leather.”
With Zaghol earrings
After choosing the main theme of her designs, Abdel-Shahid consults Egyptologists and does background research on each symbol she uses. “This stage is the longest and most difficult of the entire design process. It took me seven months to get the information and symbols I needed. Ank Mark before I start designing a piece using them. There are many sources, and there are no standardized references,” she says.
When the design is finished, she combines two or three different models and works to test the materials. Abdel-Shahid is fascinated by other Egyptian artifacts with their Coptic and Islamic roots, so her work does not stop at ancient Egypt.
Abdel Shahid has launched three collections including handbags, wallets and wallets inspired by ancient Egyptian civilization. She chooses natural materials such as leather and copper to create her designs, and uses ancient Egyptian colors such as red and green, which she gives a metallic finish.
Abdel Shahid won the top business award in 2020, the same year she started her journey as a designer. She has been invited to participate in the World Youth Forum, which she claims is a recognition of the revival of ancient Egyptian symbols.
Connecting with Egyptian history has always been an important ambition for Abdel-Shahid, and she exhibits her designs in shops associated with Egyptian museums. She is currently working on a new Tutankhamun-inspired bag collection based on ancient treasures found in Tutankhamen’s tomb.
She will soon launch a collection of Tutankhamun to commemorate the centenary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and the Great Egyptian Museum on the Pyramid Plateau.
* A version of this article was published on January 5, 2023 in the weekly edition of Al-Ahram.
Leave a Reply