Egyptian luxury brands are harnessing traditional craftsmanship from jewellery design to carpet weaving to bring the country’s ancient cultural riches to the world.
Experts in the sector say the global appeal of Arab and Islamic designs from other countries shows Egypt could do more to promote its rich, millennia-old artistic heritage.
One pioneer has been master jeweller Azza Fahmy, whose signature Islamic art-inspired pieces have graced the world’s rich and famous including US pop star Rihanna and Jordan’s Queen Rania.
Fahmy, who started off in an Old Cairo workshop about 50 years ago, said her focus has been designs that “resonate with Egyptian identity.”
Artists and artisans in Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country, draw from a history that spans ancient Pharaonic times, the Mamluk, Ottoman and modern eras.
“We are lucky to be able to draw on 6,000 years of history,” said textile designer Goya Gallagher, founder of Cairo-based Malaika Linens, which makes high-end household pieces.
“The main challenge is making sure our pieces are timeless, that they’re very well made and always hand-made,” she said at the company workshop on the western outskirts of Cairo.