Already causing a stir across the Middle East, Anne Marie K's latest venture is doing things a little differently.
For those of us who consider ourselves fashionistas, it's no secret that statement pieces are everything. But what about statement pieces with a cause? TIYI, which comes as collaboration between Egyptian designer Anne Marie K and Baraka Group, is all about having you look fierce AF, while giving back to the community.
Anne Marie K, who is following in her mother Marie Louis' fashionable steps, wanted to bring Cairenes elegance and flair with TIYI. The fast-fashion brand, which just opened its first shop at Mall of Egypt, is all about affordable luxury. Having had her graduation project-turned-collection featured in several international magazines including Elle, Vogue Brazil and Vogue Arabia, the young designer finds her inspiration in her culture.
“TIYI is Tutankhamun’s grandmother," she explains. "She was the first woman to be represented in statues, which were the same height as her husband's. She even helped her husband lead. Her personality is the inspiration behind the whole brand. It’s all about being powerful, strong and independent.”
Beyond that, however, Anne Marie K, a graduate of the prestigious Central Saint Martin's University in London (where Alexander McQueen graduated from, BTW), believes in fashion with a purpose.
"Fashion to me isn’t just about giving people something trendy and stylish to wear," she explains. "It’s more than that. It has to have a purpose. For example, we’re one of the first people to have a water recycling system. And we do everything from A-to-Z, so we weave our own fabrics and so we’re able to give a lot of Egyptian jobs and give back to the community in that respect.”
The brand goes all the way where giving back to the community is concerned as their employees are trained and educated with the both the standard Egyptian curriculum, as well as a technical one, out of which they receive a certificate. Aiming to equip her employees with more than just a job, Anne Marie K arms them with an education and affords them the opportunity to further themselves in the field in general.
“The employees who work with us usually bring their children and the children end up working with us too later on,” she explains. “We teach them both curriculum for free and when they graduate they get to hold a higher position than they otherwise would’ve had.”
Anne Marie K used a traditional method, Telli, that was adopted in Egypt during the French colonisation and is fast becoming a dying art. Merging both the modern with hints of traditional embroidery, TIYI exudes a sense of femininity and elegance.
“Telli is a technique that's been used for years in Egypt. It’s a very luxurious type of technique,” says Anne Marie K. “It’s one of my favourite techniques, because it’s basically traditional Egyptian art. You can’t replace it with machine embroidery and we have women in Assiyut, the few who are actually acquainted with the technique, that embroider it onto our items. So, rather than these women only having one or two galabeyas to work on per day, they're empowered to support themselves and work on like 100 pieces and get financial compensation.”
Find out more about TIYI on Instagram.