British Ambassador Gareth Bayley launches The Red Dress and Egypt Fashion Week awards exhibition. Courtesy of the British embassy.
The exhibition featured the ‘Red Dress,’ a 13-year-old award-winning, global embroidery project conceived by British artist Kirstie Macleod.
It also featured the finalists of the Egypt Fashion Awards and their designs, including clothes, jewellery and accessories. The winners recently travelled to London Fashion Week with Susanne Sabet, founding member of the Egyptian Fashion and Design Council.
During the event, people were able to see the magnificent embroidery on the Red Dress, which provides an artistic platform for vulnerable women around the world to tell their personal stories through such embroidery.
The garment has been worked on by more than 300 embroiderers from more than 40 countries, including female refugees from Palestine, Syria and Ukraine as well as victims of war in Rwanda. It also includes 50 Egyptian women supported by FanSina in St Catherine in Sinai, an initiative aimed at preserving Bedouin traditions and culture through high-quality handicraft production and embroidery.
The Red Dress has been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide, including Maeght Gallery in Paris, Fashion and Textile Museum in London, the Royal Academy in London, and the Premio Valcellina Textiles award in Maniago, Italy, where it won first prize in 2015.
After 13 years of traveling the globe, the last stitches of embroidery were added recently and the Red Dress made its debut as a complete garment in the British Embassy in Egypt, paying tribute to the 50 Bedouin women who worked on the largest pieces of the dress – some of whom were present at the reception.
On the other hand, the Egypt Fashion Awards were launched earlier in the year by the Egyptian Fashion and Design Council in cooperation with Mall of Arabia and the British Council in Egypt.
In February, the finalists’ show and award gala took place with four designers declared winners: Marina Azer in the Young Designer Category, Moaaz El-Behairy in the Emerging Designer Category, Jarii in the Accessory Category and Reem Jano in the Jewellery Category.
Commenting on the event, British Ambassador to Egypt Gareth Bayley said, “For years, Egypt has been synonymous with the finest cotton in the world, and with traditions of skill and elegance in clothing going back centuries.”
“It is brilliant to see growing British-Egyptian collaboration in the fashion and textile industry, and the Egypt Fashion Awards, and the winners’ designs, are a truly exciting expression of the talent here in Egypt,” he said.
“We and the British Council are proud to support and showcase all their hard work. I am proud also that the Embassy is hosting British artist Kirstie Macleod’s magnificent ‘Red Dress’, a masterpiece of design and embroidery, made with the help of 50 remarkable women from St. Catherine in Sinai. The dress has been around the world, but it feels very fitting that it should come back to Egypt, and that we should celebrate the skill and industry of the women who helped create it.”