Combining the richness and riotous colours of traditional Egyptian fabrics with cutting edge design, Amina K’s exceptional ethnic creations have become a firm favourite with Egypt’s cool cognoscenti. Next step? The world!
How did you venture into design?
It was a childhood dream of mine to become a fashion designer but my limited background in art held me back. I went ahead and started a degree in mass communications at AUC but within a year I realised I was wasting my time not following my passion. So I took the plunge, moved to London and enrolled in a fashion design and marketing degree at the American InterContinental University. At first it was a huge challenge as I had little experience in sewing or design and felt I was always one step behind my peers. But that made me work harder and discipline myself. I had a lot of creativity bottled inside that I had to nurture and expose. After completing my degree, I still needed to learn more in order to have enough knowledge to start my own business. So I spent around two more years in London interning with designers such as Matthew Williamson and Diane Von Furstenberg and taking condensed courses in fields such as patternmaking, fashion business, photography and makeup at Central St. Martins College of Art & Design and the London College of Fashion. I wanted to make the best of all the resources available in London before I came back to Cairo.
What did you do for your all-important graduation project?
I was always pushed by my tutors to think outside the box, to take risks instead of just playing safe. I wanted to create a collection inspired by Egyptian silhouettes but with a modern twist. After a lot of playing around and researching, I was able to find my own style and create my own looks instead of just copying what was already out there.
How would you describe the Amina K woman?
She’s a woman who’s not afraid to try new things. She enjoys getting dressed up yet wants to be comfortable. My designs are unusual but they’re not over the top and it’s easy to mix and match my pieces with your wardrobe staples.
Which celebrity do you think would best represent your designs?
Kate Moss, because she makes anything look so effortless and cool. And if Kate Moss is wearing something, the next day everyone’s wearing it!
Tell us about the inspiration behind your new Fall/Winter collection?
I was very much inspired by typical traditional Egyptian cuts and fabrics. The collection is elegant, funky and comfortable, featuring galabiyas, shirts, abayas, vests, kaftans and lots of other great basic pieces with plenty of attention to detail.
Your designs are locally manufactured… you must have faced a lot of challenges!
It is very difficult, especially when you’re still a small company ordering limited quantities. I am constantly searching for workshops that can produce garments at a high quality. I really have to check every single piece myself to ensure it’s up to scratch.
There are a whole slew of young Egyptian designers popping up at the moment. What makes you unique?
I am trying to create a whole concept and develop a lifestyle brand. For the moment I am focused on perfecting my style rather than jumping from one look to the next. Once I have developed a unique, clear, and consistent image for my brand, it will be easy to introduce new lines and styles to Amina K.
Who is your favourite designer?
I really respect Karl Lagerfeld and what he has done with Chanel. He has kept the same image of the brand season after season, while still offering something new and fashion forward.
What does the future hold for Amina K?
I want to become an internationally recognised brand!