Founded as part of a social development programme, local jewelry brand MISHKA has given the women of the City of the Dead a means to tell their stories.
Allowing local women to tell their stories through craftsmanship, MISHKA has been created under the umbrella of a bigger project carried out by ARCHiNOS in the Sultan Qaitbay area of the 'City of the Dead’. The EU-funded project combines preservation of historic monuments with a social development programme and the promotion of arts and culture, all while providing local women with a means of income.
The brand was founded back in 2018 in coordination with its sister organization, Sultan Foundation, and since then has built a fan base of buyers - most of whom reside outside of Egypt. “I got help from a renowned leather designer from London, Bill Amberg, who came to Cairo and trained the initial group of women in leather craft, all handmade," founder and designer Agnieszka Dobrowolska said. "This was a very successful encounter and we named it MISHKA, a lantern or light in Arabic, as it brings light and new life into the lives of women from the Qaitbey area.”
Their latest collection, Four Elements, is inspired by the patterns of four different mausoleums from the City of the Dead including Qaitbey, representing air, water, fire and earth.
MISHKA uses all the natural and authentic materials present in Mamluk architecture, as well as the materials used by craftsmen who live and work in the City of the Dead. “We use brass and copper, sterling silver, and gold-plate in some pieces," Dobrowolska said. "We also use leather and wood, and recently we started to play with mosaics and hand-blown glass from the neighbourhood, as well as stone.”
To shop their products, check them out here.