When Egyptian and bohemian designs get fused together, the outcomes are bound to be extraordinary, and that was just what The Sahara Collection did. The Sahara Clothing Company, established in 1990 and rebranded in 2011 to The Sahara Collection, known for the softest of cottons, has established a name for itself that narrate the story of hard work, dedication and designs cut to perfection.
Karmah Sabry, designer and partner of The Sahara Collection, doesn’t aspire to be just a designer. She wants to be a designer with an impact; she aims for her designs to stand for a cause. In her latest collection “Save a Paw”, an animal friendly collection, Sabry is trying to raise funds for animal shelters around Egypt. Identity spoke to the talented designer to know all about her charity campaign.
What first triggered your sense of fashion?
As I grew up, a love toward art and fashion grew within me. Since I could hold a pencil I started to sketch, and that was when it all began. I discovered my sartorial eye and I knew this was the path for me. Furthermore, I was brought up in a family that was tremendously involved in fashion and the textile industry in Egypt. I was meant to be a fashion designer. I studied Mass Communication and Art in college, and when I graduated I enrolled in fashion courses. Later, I joined my uncle and my mother at our family’s factory, The Sahara Clothing Company, and together we launched the Sahara Collection.
Tell us more about The Sahara Collection
The Sahara Collection is a contemporary brand that presents a clothing line for men, women and kids with an ethnic twist using the rich and rooted heritage, crafts and prints of the many tribal cultures of Egypt and Africa. All our items are designed and produced locally, of course using only the finest Egyptian cotton. We collaborate with women from Nagada, Siwa and Sinai to convert their traditional crafts into modernized collections that intrigue and suit their target market. We now have three Sahara Collection stores in Cairo, Alexandria, and the North Coast, and we are hoping to expand.
What was the inspiration behind your collection “Save a Paw”, and tell us more about the campaign.
I’ve always been a huge animal lover; I can’t bear to see what they have to endure on the streets on a daily basis. I kept wondering how I can help. How can I lend a hand? I wanted to come up with an idea that provides these poor creatures with an ongoing fund so that we can protect them from falling victim to the cruelty of street life. I decided to use the resources that I have, which is the factory, to help out. I designed an animal friendly collection called “Save a Paw”, where the profits of every product sold will go to the animal shelters of Egypt. Most of the charitable campaigns design standard clothes or T-shirts to fund the campaign. People do buy in order to support the campaign, but they won’t necessarily wear them on a daily life basis. So while designing the collection, I kept in mind that I wanted to produce something wearable and practical, because I believed that’s how the campaign could go viral. I wanted to design something that you can wear with a leather jacket, with jeans or at the gym. It’s a very simple print, yet it states a very clear message. I hope people will like the design as I hope by selling these t-shirts we could raise enough funds to help as many animals as we can and also support the shelters to provide better living circumstances, medical treatment, and to put an end to having stray animals.
Is fund-raising for a cause something you intend to repeat?
Of course, “Save a Paw” is just a test to see how people will react to this type of campaign. If all goes well, we’re willing to launch a new collection, same theme, but different look, so that the people who bought the first collection get excited about joining the new campaign, and we can spread more and more awareness about the issue. We love to be able to help, so let’s hope for the best.
Some people don’t believe that fashion can actually stand for something bigger, what do you have to say to them?
Anything can stand for something bigger if you want it to; you just have to figure out the best way to use your specialization to do that. An influencer on social media can help any cause they believe in by just posting a picture, or simply showing support. For instance, Sheirf Nour El Din, an up and coming media personality has joined my campaign, and he was so much help. It’s only a matter of knowing how to use your resources to spread your message. As for fashion, many brands and fashion designers around the world have done so much work in the market of conscious fashion by spreading awareness, making people feel like they are not alone, and inspiring people everywhere. I believe that fashion is not just about looking good; it is also about doing good