First of all, who doesn't love a man in a nice suit? Whose neck doesn't break a little when a fine male creature walks by in fitted sartorial pieces tailored just for him? That can't be just us. Now it's even better when the brand is Egyptian, the designers are from all over the world, the fabric is from Italy, and the manufacturing happens in Istanbul. The man behind it all is Khaled Obeyya, the genius who launched LO – or, Live On Top – with its brilliant designs that, one year later, made it to the Big Apple as part of New York Fashion Week showcasing their Summer Season Collection 2017. We were a-swooning and a-drooling and a-being thirsty the entire time, and we got some of the inside scoop from Obeyya – the mastermind who is still in New York – for you to check out.
We learned that you're not designers, and that there is a team of designers, but how did you start and what ignited the passion for this specific form of fashion?
Finding just the right suit is not always an easy task in Egypt. The recent spread of international brands has made the search easier; however, none of the available labels were made for our market. I have always wanted a brand that can truly cater for all men – a label created to give men around the world elegance and comfort. Accordingly, I started studying all the related business aspects, then I began my search for a global team that would get me to my target. I started planning years ago; but, it only felt like the right time to start in early 2015 when I found my dream team of designers and trusted manufacturers.
International cooperation – whether it be through designers and their designs, manufacturing, tailoring, or choice of fabrics – do you feel that it adds to your brand, and how so?
It certainly does! What separates LO from any other similar label is our internal take on menswear. Each member in my team adds an important factor that makes the label truly global. While the designers are always keen on the latest global trends, the suppliers only seek the materials that any detail-loving man would seek to ensure comfort; meanwhile, the manufacturers work towards creating items that last for a lifetime. This mix secures modern designs and international standards of quality.
How would it have been different if everything was done in Egypt – would you have still made it internationally?
The main idea of the label lies in the fact that it is an Egyptian brand created for the world. Unfortunately, we still don't have a strong base of manufacturers and suppliers in Egypt – especially in the menswear arena. Nonetheless, it is definitely something that I hope to achieve in the future.
It hasn't been long since your brand launched; how did you manage to plan out everything so precisely that it ended all the way at New York Fashion Week in such a short amount of time?
I have started planning the smallest details years before the actual launch. LO is my brainchild that has finally come to life less than a year ago!In terms of the brand being a fashion statement, what sets it apart
Global quality standards and absolute keenness to stay ahead of international trends. Meanwhile, LO is designed by men for men. It is made to become a fashion companion for those who dress to impress as well as those who appreciate practicality.
What was your favourite moment as an Egyptian during the NYFW?
Nothing will ever come close to the moment when a few members from the crowd came to personally meet me after the show to express their absolute astonishment that this brand actually came from Egypt!
The brand is sold online – but the plan is to open up stores in different part of the world, and in Egypt, of course, all at once. While that sounds hard to do, remember that Obeyya made it to the biggest fashion week ever in about a year – so yes, he's definitely going implement his plan.