Shahira Fawzy, Egypt

A life in the desert

‘I have a wonderful life,’ she says and starts to tell her story. It is difficult to put into words what is on this fascinating woman’s mind, what she has experienced and what products she is currently presenting at Heimtextil. There is no term that really pinpoints Shahira Fawzy. This woman who lived in the Egyptian desert for over 15 years and discovered a long-forgotten tribe is many things: anthropologist, entrepreneur, philanthropist, aid worker, artist – all these words are true words, but they are not quite enough.

A handful of films have been made about her, but we stick to the present moment and examine the fabric collection that she has brought with her to Frankfurt. Shahira Fawzy has been creating jewellery, fashion and fabrics for many years. She developed a dress that even took the catwalks of Europe by storm, more by accident than through intent. It features Shahira Fawzy’s characteristic motifs from the desert. The designer, who holds a doctorate and previously spent many years working for various NGOs, tells stories from bygone times and far-off worlds with her work – using handwoven Egyptian cotton or silk.

She learned from the nomads how to make printable dyes from walnut wood, onion skins, turmeric or beetroot. Today, she uses these very methods, which she has adapted slightly here and there. Her studio is no longer a tent in the desert, but instead a building of 1,500 square metres in Cairo, where she produces and prints her fabrics. ‘Tradition will never go out of fashion,’ says Shahira Fawzy and one wants to talk to her more about the desert, about decisions that change a life, and simply mull over this and that!

Would you like to meet Shahira Fawzy? You can find her at stand A 70 in hall 4.0.

 

Kerstin Böhning

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