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Azza Fahmy: Art, History and Fashion Collide in New Collection

Entitled Third Eye on the Universe, the new collection by the iconic Egyptian jewellery brand calls on ancient inspiration and universal energy for an intricately elegant foray into summer. Rahma Zein El Din heads to their workshop for a first look and speaks with head designer Amina Ghali...

As summer creeps in we hit the road on a bright Tuesday morning to visit Azza Fahmy’s workshop located in the Industrial Area in 6th October. Picture Willy Wonka's factory when walking into the workshop, only with silver treats instead of chocolate treats. The ground floor has craftsman implementing the designs, and a traditional working structure that revive the heyday of Egyptian arts -  the master craftsman (osta) is on the top of the food chain, will the teacher (mo3alem) provides the crucial link between him and the apprentice (saby). With all of this talent and passion working together to create gorgeous handmade pieces, it quickly becomes clear why Azza Fahmy Designs cut above the rest.

We welcome the AC as we walk into a room with the collection set up inside, surrounded by traits of the thought process with mood boards and sketches of the preliminary designs for the new Third Eye on the Universe collection. In the middle of the room stands designer Amina Ghali, who also happens to be Azza Fahmy’s daughter, as she prepares to talk to us about the collection that was in the making since January 2014 ready to be launched this June.

Using a team of researchers, stylists and designers the brainstorming for each new collection strives to see where the world is heading in the next two to three years. “We looked at movies, music, fashion, trends, documentaries because there’s always a common thread,” Ghali explains about the stunning array of pieces before us. “Third Eye on the Universe embodies energy, space, elements, life, meditation and we got those key words following serious research. We started going to see concerts, museums, art galleries. One of the main things we noticed was that with life getting more hectic, people are looking for meaning; attempting to further themselves from the materialistic world. You can spot that with the rise of yoga, meditation and spiritual activities.”

Looking at the collection itself, it is heavily influenced by Ancient Egypt with the Goddess of Truth and Order Maat’s wings as a collar and the Key of Life taking centre stage. Ghali explains that Ancient Egyptians had located the third eye and they were essential inspiration when it came to the collection. The precious stones reflected on the idea of energy and they’re beautiful to boot.

Ghali explains the difficulty of implementing a trend whilst still being true to the identity of the brand and also differentiating themselves from others. “Of course our eye is always on the runway because clothing and jewelry do go hand in hand. There’s a misconception that fashion changes annually but that’s not the case. The designer evolves. Nothing is new; it’s an innovation of the past. Take the Key of Life for example; it’s the essence of Egyptian heritage with a modern twist.” She also emphasises the idea of symbolism in the pieces making it a point that each collection has a cultural narrative, not necessarily from Egypt: “We don’t just stick to Egyptian inspiration. We look at all cultures to produce pieces that are both trendy and timeless,” she says looking at a ring she’s wearing and smiles. “I believe that for the past 15 years we’ve been selling art, making these pieces come to life through the effort we’ve put in before.” She holds up one of the bracelets explaining how intricate it is to get the right size, making it easy to wear; “We had to throw away so many prototypes before we got it just right. People sometimes don’t know the amount of effort put in, how many departments and individuals each piece has had to go through.”

As we circulate the workshop and look at the process behind each piece, one must confess that it was quite impressive to see the excruciating level of detail being put into each piece by each craftsman. It was almost like walking into a beehive as each artisan hunched over their work using gadgets galore and interesting looking magnifying specs. The precious pieces pass from one station to the other before the final result. With the queen bee at the helm, Azza Fahmy has already become an iconic Egyptian brand and with the new collection, shows no signs of slowing down.

 Find out more about Azza Fahmy here.