the bag

This Ramadan, in meaningful collaboration with Cairo’s premium fashion destination, Villa Baboushka; upscale handbags designer Sara Khalil debuts “Horseshoe,” part of her fashion label “the bag” SS2019 exclusive edition of strikingly elegant, yet visibly playful and versatile ladies’ waist-bags and backpacks, intrinsically handcrafted from an exotic combination of the finest genuine Egyptian leather, sterling silver sourced from Italy, natural ebony, and authentic horn. As with each of her eye-catching collections, proceeds from “Horseshoe” will go, in their entirety, towards the treatment of underprivileged cancer and burn patients.

“Horseshoe”, takes its inspiration, from the symbolism behind the collection’s most striking show-stopping feature; its iconic decorative horseshoe detail. “It’s believed to ward off evil and guard against bad luck from entering into the realm of the ladies who sport it. Good luck is thought to reside inside the curvature of the horseshoe;” explains Khalil.

With each collection the designer strives to achieve more exposure both in domestic and regional markets.

“Of course I’d be elated to attain international recognition one day,” explodes Sara with a smile that lights up her entire face; “but I always keep mindful of the fact that the real benefit of that kind of exposure would be in my ability to seek higher revenues to further help the needy.”

Ignited by her passion and genuine desire to make a difference for those in dire need, Sara spares no effort in trying to raise her own bar with every new collection, with the hope of going global, one day—all for a great cause.

“the bag”, the name Sara has given to her designer label was born out of a journey of passion, fashion, and purpose.

The label name, like the bags that flaunt it, and the designer behind it, have a way of taking the ordinary and turning it extraordinary.

It all began two years ago when Sara was amidst her own transformational battle with cancer; a happening, which she now looks back upon as “sort of a blessing in disguise.”

Upon several visits to the Children’s Cancer Hospital, Khalil noticed that the children didn’t have bandanas to cover their heads after losing their hair to chemotherapy. “My journey started in the winding alleys of El Wekkala, Cairo’s wholesale fabric market, where I’d search for hours, trying to source the right mix of materials from which to make bandanas for the children. My friends would help me out with designs and embroidered accessories to jazz them up a bit. The smiles on the faces of the children in their new bandanas and toys were priceless; the feeling insurmountable. My passion grew both instantaneously and exponentially. Trip after trip, I found myself wanting to do more, to help more, and most of all, to find a way to do it all in a manner that would be financially sustainable, not only to continue to serve the cause, but to serve the cause in a bigger way,” recalls an emotional Khalil.

The idea of designing a line of high-end handbags crafted predominantly out of the finest Egyptian raw materials, and exclusively created by local artisans popped into Sara’s mind when undergoing one of her treatment sessions; and thus became the real Launchpad of her now increasingly in demand label which generates sustainably more resources to fund her charitable endeavors, which today extend far beyond making bandanas, to helping to fund the actual treatment of underprivileged cancer and burn patients, at several of Egypt’s reputable hospitals.

“the bag” launched on the beaches of Egypt’s Northern Mediterranean shores in the summer of 2017. In an endearing gesture of gratitude for the love and support of her family and friends when fighting her own battle with cancer, Sara chose to pay tribute to them by dedicating “the bag” to them. The numbers embossed on her leather label signifies a letter in the alphabet corresponding to the first names of each of them.

Yet, as with all good deeds, this circle of love just seems to expand with every new collection. “Everyone I work with, from the craftsmen and women, fashion bloggers, to the brazenly bold and beautiful jewelry designer Reem Jano, with whom I shared my very first collaboration— everyone, has come forward offering their time, skills and resources in the most exceptionally charitable of ways. Just when I think I can’t be more amazed by all the acts of kindness I’ve been experiencing, destiny puts someone as influential as Nour Aboulela in my way. Having suffered from cancer in her family, the cause is very close to her heart. Nour rose to the occasion, volunteering to support “the bag” in more generous ways than I could have ever thought imaginable not only with her time, effort and ideas but, even to the extent of insisting the photo shoot is executed by none other than the expert eye of famed photographer Abousamra.”

At first, Khalil believed her customers were buying the bags for the sole reason of contributing to the cause. However, with time she started sensing a liking for her designs evidenced by the heightened demand she received. It was then that she noticed that an item branded for charity might also be a stylish brand with an edge.

“I suddenly realized that there was something special to this brand and that I might even try to take it to the international level and incorporate the whole world in this cause! Who knows, maybe one day with the revenues I would be able to build a hospital!” expresses Khalil with much enthusiasm. Her greatest lessons along this journey, thus far? Small endeavors can deliver a big impact; and in helping others, you are ultimately helping yourself. In giving we receive, and where there is passion, nothing is impossible.

On that final note Sara Khalil extends her profound appreciation to Villa Baboushka and Cakes Café for their generous giving, hosting of “the bag” SS2019 Horseshoe Collection pop up event at Villa Baboushka, Capital Promenade, Sheikh Zayed on Wednesday May 15th, at 9pm.