Week 11-Artist OFT-Student Choice
Media: Fashion designers (handbags)
Mounaz and Aya Abdelraouf are two Egyptian sisters born and raised in Cairo. They launched Okhtein (which means two sisters in Arabic) in 2014, a time where the market was in dire need of creativity. Neither of them had studied fashion, but they both grew up as artists. Mounaz was a skilled painter exhibiting internationally, while Aya was into digital art. Their work explores The Middle Eastern culture and projects it into unique handbag pieces.
The art on the handbags consists of unique looking shapes like the palmer flower, for example. Their choice of color in handbags is usually muted colors. Yes, they have a small selection of bright colors, but for the most part they’re neutrals. The details on the bags are meticulous, so one has to come closer to truly appreciate the bag and the fine precision to detail.
The sisters are inspired by history, especially Egyptian. Their work is inspired by Ancient Egyptian civilization as well some Spanish and Roman heritage. The ideas they are trying to explore is to revive Ancient civilization into the modern fashion industry by using an eclectic technique. The patterns and designs are derived from the past, but modern or “in” materials are used to execute the final product. Making the product unique and trendy.
I think Okhtein’s brand is one that is really set to grow. I bought my first handbag from them back in 2016, when they were still a local brand. And today, they have gone global. Their products have become more expensive and on great demand. I’m really proud that a female led Egyptian brand is receiving such recognition and being worn by celebrities.