Fashion design is a very competitive field. It takes a special type of personality to challenge the established order and make a tangible impact on the industry at large, especially so if it came from a less than developed fashion country. Luckily for Egypt, though, Farida Temraz is just that and more. Her combination of talent, innovation, and perseverance has allowed her to become one of the world’s biggest up and coming fashion talents in record time. Temraza’s founder spoke to eniGma’s Mahmoud Al Badry about her fashion journey, her brand, and what it means to represent Egypt on a global stage.
Farida Temraz is poised, focused, and well-adjusted to the spotlight. As a designer, she’s outspoken and has a fun-prioritizing personality that undeniably sets her apart from her peers. Her presence in any room is immediately noticeable. She has an aura around her that eerily signifies her specialness, so to speak. Farida’s undying love for fashion design is so deep, to the point that it is instantly transferred to anyone in her vicinity, no matter their agency.
It takes some people their entire lives to find their passion in life; it only took Farida seven years. Before her lifespan had hit double digits, she would hold a pencil and a paper and draw dresses endlessly. Her love for fashion was always embedded in her. Nevertheless, she wasn’t immune to reality. Despite growing up in an upper-class Egyptian family, Farida wasn’t granted with the tools that she needed to succeed; she had to craft them.
Indeed, fashion as a business is incessantly looked down upon in Egyptian society. The country’s culture still prioritizes safe and stable jobs, such as the ones provided in medicine and engineering, over any creative career options. As such, Farida’s pleas of wanting to travel abroad, where practicing fashion design would be a lot more realistic, were constantly rejected by her admittedly supportive family. She found little choice but to join the American University in Cairo and study integrated marketing and communication; the realistic side of life had seemingly gotten to her. “When I was in AUC, I never really imagined that I would ever succeed in making a career out of fashion,” she remembered.
Upon graduation, though, in spite of her love for academic life, Farida decided to take a leap of faith and give her true love the chance that it deserved. Her loving parents were predictably shocked: “They thought that I was going to open an atelier,” she looked back. “I wanted to create an international brand; one that’s not just about designing dresses, but is also about going to different fashion festivals regularly and putting Egyptian design on the industry’s global map.”
Thus, with a mere 300 dollars and a logo by her side, Farida launched Temraza in December of 2012. She initially started designing dresses for her inner circle of friends and acquaintances. Soon, the circle kept getting bigger and bigger, giving her the push that she needed to submit her work for London Fashion Week, one of the ‘big four’ fashion weeks in the design stratosphere.
She didn’t follow the criteria provided during her application. Instead, she submitted “a portfolio full of original designs.” To her surprise, she was accepted six months later to display her work in the extravaganza; not only was she the only Egyptian accepted, but she, at the tender age of 22, was also the youngest designer from any nationality to be invited to London. The invitation was just the boon that Farida needed to maintain her hard work.
The successes kept on coming. She soon won first place at Paris Fashion Week, as well as officially registering Temraza worldwide during her participation in the Los Angeles Fashion Week. Through it all, one of her biggest drives has adamantly been to have “Egypt regain its rightful place internationally in terms of fashion, elegance and beauty. Fashion, much like film, helps in altering the global stereotypical outlook of any country.”
There are three keys for success in the fashion industry in Farida’s mind: passion, preparation and presentation. The three P’s have been the crux upon which her entire brand was built and perfected. Staying true to that solid outline for success helped her astonishingly run her brand as a one-woman show for over three years, until she decided to expand and add more members to Temraza earlier this year. Explaining her business model, Farida enthused that “talent alone isn’t enough for success. A well-functioning entity has to rely on a sturdy rock that is supported by expert time management and organization, among other things. Sustainability is also key. Naturally it’s not easy for me to go to a different fashion week every season. I do it, however, because I always want to show people from a different city my new designs.”
Farida refuses to put a ceiling to her ambition to this day. She still wants to elevate her Temraza line further up the industry ladder. She’s already noticed and is extremely appreciative, though, that people across the country have begun to recognize her talent as much as the fashion world already has. “My parents have remained extremely supportive and are now very proud of the brand. Friends, distant acquaintances, and recently, even a doorman in my neighborhood are now telling me to keep up the good work,” stated Farida. In a country and world that constantly force people to go against their agency; she used her ambitious passion as her constant, thereby becoming the best representation of her country on a global scale.
Currently, Farida and her team are working on an Egyptian-themed collection to be unveiled during the New York Fashion Week. Inspired by ancient Egypt, the new collection will aptly be titled ‘Rise of the Pharaohs.’ Through it, Farida hopes to evoke a sense of Egyptian pride whilst simultaneously showing the world the country’s burgeoning fashion ingenuity. The colours that she chose to incorporate in it are “gold, which represents luxury and elegance that never go away; white that signifies a brighter future; green, which represents prosperity; and a hint of red that warns people to be cautious from Egyptians,” Farida jokingly explained. “The showcase will be the first ever look at Egyptian history by an Egyptian brand in the history of fashion. I’m Egyptian, and I want to support my country through showcasing its successful elements.”
She already has.