Egyptian designer Sara Hegazy on catwalk at upcoming Cairo Fashion Festival

Ingy Deif, Wednesday 16 Apr 2014

Ahead of the second annual Cairo Fashion Festival, Ahram Online talks with Sara Hegazy, a young Egyptian engineer-turned-designer inspired by Om Kulthoum, beautiful flowers, and famous paintings

Photo : Sara Hegazy

An engineering graduate stepping into the world of fashion. How did this turn of events take place?

Actually, I was making all my outfits since 1999 and that's how I started getting experience, turning an idea into a design and executing my designs into garments. That was during my engineering study.The second spark came years ago when I took the decision of designing my first wedding gown — which was actually for my own wedding.
After my marriage, I travelled to Kuwait where I tried to find work in my communication engineering field. While jobhunting I saw a famous couturier boutique searching for a designer and I submitted my application. I was interviewed and showed some of my designs. Once we had finished I got an offer of being the assistant to the master designer. That specific moment still gives me the push when I remember it.
I decided then to pursue that way and started to submit my drawings in competitions in Dubai. The success and media propaganda I received let me think about pursuing fashion as a permanent career and starting to study whatever I needed in the field to acquire more expertise.

Why did you choose London as a place to start your studies of fashion and get certified?

When I thought of being certified and learning a new field I tried to focus on the global industry. Let's say that the Parisian industry is the fashion icon globally, but it was not convenient as it would require a full academic programme and I was in need of starting as soon as possible to maintain the media exposure. Also I took that decision when I first attended a special short course in Dubai by Toby Meadows, teaching how to build our own fashion label. That definitely gave me the way to London. Lately I was honoured to have my first international fashion show in the prestigious London Fashion Week autumn winter season, with the amazing emerging talents agency Fashion Finest.

Photo : Sara Hegazy


That must have been quite an experience. How do you describe also emerging as an Arab designer back in 2010 and reaching the top five in the Maybelline Fashion Competition?

That was a true spur to where I am in now. It was the first jury, and the first actual challenge [I faced]. It wasn't only getting more likes on Facebook! It was a perfectly organised competition where they were to judge your ideas based on their theme and strictly to the point. It was a great experience for me. I had to make the designs and the garments by myself, from A to Z, without any help, including all the execution steps. And am proud to tell that one of the jury members tried it on and she loved it very much.
What were your main inspirations in your collections?

My main inspiration is Chanel. My couture and fabric inspiration always comes from Lesage, the masters of couture fabrics. For my first ever collection I was taking the best 15 flowers from all over the world as a source of inspiration. My second collection was based on the icon Um Kulthoum, while the third collection was inspired by "The Girl with the White Pearl Earring," which is a famous painting by Vermeer. I extract all the pastel colours to form my palette.

Photo : Sara Hegazy

What fabrics do you use most, and how do you describe your style?

I usually use lace, silk and tulle. The fabric must be regenerated at Sara Hegazy. I always add my piece of handmade couture. The intricate work that makes every masterpiece is based on the lady who will wear it: her personality and interests and sometimes horoscope! At the end, I try that every piece is one of a kind, working by myself on every client's garment, thus giving the couture originality and uniqueness. 

Why did you restrict your creations to evening wear and bridal gowns?

I like fancy, and my first passion was evening and bridal wear as they give me such a wide area of imagination and intricate details. But we are pleased to announce here for the first time that we are about to launch "Ready to Wear" couture.

You will be showing your latest creations in the upcoming Cairo Fashion Festival at the end of the month. What can you tell us about the latest collection?

It's a massive addition for our international brand. Totally futuristic and a trend setter, hopefully.

Photo : Sara Hegazy

How do you see the fashion environment in Egypt?

It's getting more professional, and people are starting to know how to be trend setters not trend followers. Still, more has to be done to create a good set up in the designer market in Egypt. 

What are the main staples a woman should have in her wardrobe this season?

This year, you have to have a unique design of jumpsuit — a comfy, chic one. And, of course, a diversity of blazers with new futuristic cuts and trendy colours. I, for the second year running, advise pastels for an elegant 60s chic look.

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