From the launch of BAGAWEET local brand. Photo by Amira Noshokaty
Bagaweet Red Sea Craft is a local Egyptian brand that aims to transform heritage into wearable and decorative products made in traditional Egyptian handmade techniques of sewing, embroidery, khayamiya, and printing.
The result was a stunning collection of handmade clothing lines that are inspired by the Red Sea culture and motifs.
The project is a collaboration between AlexBank, Drosos Foundation, Thaat School of Crafts social enterprise, and the Egyptian Ministry of Social Solidarity to empower disadvantaged women in the Red Sea remote area, enabling them to manifest their traditional handmade techniques of embroidery into modern high-end clothing and home furnishing products.
Our language, our heritage
"Bagaweet translates our language in the Red Sea dialect in Egypt," explained Egyptian Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine El-Qabbaj in the launch of the Bagaweet clothing and home wear line.
The three-phase project kicked off some six years ago when Ebda3 Men Masr initiative by AlexBank was selected by the Canadian embassy and ILO to implement the sustainability plan of the final phase of the Red Sea Crafts project, explained Laila Hosney, head of CSR and Sustainable Development Office at AlexBank.
She added that through the support of the Drosos Foundation, they managed to take it further, and it manifested into the current Bagaweet project.
Talented women of Safaga and Qoseir
“It's my pleasure to hold such a unique place, whose walls tell the history of the story of such great textiles in Egypt and its heritage. Through our partnership with AlexBank, we supported Thaat NGO and created a centre to design and make heritage projects in the Red Sea governorate. This collaboration manifested in creating heritage textiles and jewelry and providing job opportunities to over 80 women in Safaga and Qoseir. The products are of high quality and can be marketed and exported," explained Hannan Dowidar, regional director of Drosos.
"I trust that our efforts will also stand the test of time like all of the historic pieces on display, and it will be an inspiration for future generations," she added.
Bagaweet cultural platform
"Today we are celebrating 3 years of work on a development project with a fashion label that is exceptionally and ethically unique. It manifests the visual identity of the Red Sea and revives handicrafts that were almost demolished through training and creating production workshops in Safaga and Qoseir. As you know, in this day and age identity is a key element for prosperity and sustainability, and Bagaweet’s backbone is 'identity'," explained Perihan Abou Zeid, founder of Thaat School of Crafts.
The first phase of the project targeted 81 women. The second one aims to train 200 women. The project is also a social media platform that would spread the Red Sea culture of Egypt throughout the world.
The items sold already have a QR code that tells the story of the Bagaweet project once scanned.
Soon, such a platform shall host heritage stories, traditions, and documentation of the towns of Safaga and Qoseir as well as the women behind such stories.