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Talalya: Crochet Beachwear Empowering Egyptian Craftswomen

The homegrown brand isn't just about the end result, but places just as much importance of where its pieces come from.

Having a wide range of shopping options in Egypt and a growing consumer culture means we rarely, if ever, give the talented craftsmen or women behind our choice pieces much thought. How many times have we bought a pair of jeans and wondered about the effort it took to make that piece, or about the person who made it and the story behind their lives? Who is the person behind those fashionable boyfriend jeans we rock to work everyday? Are they happy? Are they sad? Are they pessimists? Or hedonists. Founder of Talalya, Manar Hilal, gives us an insight on the brand meant to empower women by shedding light on the women bringing to life the brand's classy beachwear. 

Talalya, which launched in 2011, grants those of us obsessed with the beach a collection of sexy and stylish attires to sport when in Sahel. The brand - which aims to provide women in Egypt with work opportunities - manufactures hand-crafted products. The online brand hosts a variety beautifully-crafted crochet pieces that add color and sass to any day at the beach. Talalya brings us a range of styles (not limited to the beach) and they do it, while empowering women.  

Targeting skilled women who may not have the means to market their talents, Talayla opens a door for them to turn their talent into a money-maker.

"A lot of these gifted women come from homes where they're abused or simply not able to make a living," says Manar of the essence of Talayla. "We want to give these women a chance to use their skill and better themselves and, subsequently, their lives. We hope for them to achieve some form of financial independence. We want to help the women who are put down within their own families and society."

Hilal explains that Talalya saw some the aforementioned women blossom into strong, financially-sufficient women with a renewed faith in themselves. That confidence and success translated into society changing its outlook towards them and for some of the women who can't hold a day job - in the traditional sense of the word - due to personal setbacks or disabilities, Talalya goes the extra mile in providing them with the materials and workshops needed. 

“We have several meeting points set up, where we schedule a workshop. And we bring these women together for a few hours a day, to teach them the pattern and design we want. Once they've gotten the gist of it, they can continue working from home, ” Manar tells us of how they make it work for these women. “We even have workshops set up in provinces outside of Cairo, in places like Minya and Upper Egypt.”

While Talalya is mainly an online store at the moment, they do set up shop in areas like Hacienda, Tilal and occasionally Gouna, when it's high-season. 

Inspired by Manar’s flair for fashion and her upbringing by a strong woman (her mother) the clothing line celebrates all things hand-made, even flying in their shells from the Philippines to ensure an authentic feel through and through.

“I love all things hand-made because they symbolize something special and that they’re one of a kind. They're not mass-produced but rather they're a result of someone pouring their soul into the task at hand,” says Manar.

Talalya is working towards expanding internationally and is well on its way having already sold products in Dubai, Spain and Italy among other countries.

So next time you’re wearing Talalya, you know you’ve taken part in one of these women’s journey to independence. 

Check them out, Instagram and Facebook.