Contrary to popular belief, you can find inspiration in Arab history, without making cheapening it.
While Arab heritage has long been an inspiration for designers and creative the world over, what that inspiration often translates to is gaudy, over-the-top and just plain silly aesthetics. Egyptian bag brand, Manoya, however, has found a sweet-spot and has been doing so since launching 2014.
Founded by school friends and bonafide BFFs, Yasmine Abu-Yusef, Noha Ali and Maha Ali, name is a combination of letters from all their names, a symbol of their shared passion. Whenever any of them are inspired to create a new design, they all convene for a brainstorm session to fully develop an idea and manifest it into a bold, vivacious new handbag.
After on-going obstacles and struggles to set the pillars for the brand, the first of which is to only use 100% Egyptian leather, they released their very first collection in 2017, one that embodied a sophisticated aesthetic that draws from the Middle Eastern heritage by incorporating intricate Arab geometrical patterns with versatile, current international designs.
Recently, Manoya was selected as one of the finalists competing in the 13th annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards for the COTERIE Best Handbag in Overall Style and Design prize. Setting a precedent as the first Egyptian brand to be chosen for this award, Manoya is building a bigger and bigger reputation, emerging as a standout name on a scene that’s becoming more and more saturated.
But the founders are looking beyond Egypt and hope that one day they will be brand that carrying a Manoya original.