Sami Amin is a talented, self-taught designer who founded Sami Amin Designs, one of the most impressive brands in the Egyptian leather design market ever since its launch in 1997. Sami’s wide range of products all embrace his Egyptian heritage, including bags, wallets, accessories, belts, shoes, and even furniture. We love how he blends elegant with ethnic and trendy, masterfully incorporating brass and other everyday elements to create his art. We chatted with Sami to learn more about how he creates his designs.
1. Your path with design began with being self-taught, can you tell us more about that experience? How do you teach yourself to reach the level of expertise that you have?
I graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Cairo, with a bachelor degree in architecture in 1988, but I started long before graduation because I have always loved handcrafts and drawing. During my undergraduate years, I started designing a few accessories and sold them to friends. People loved my work and asked me for more items till one day I thought of starting my own brand. Designing and sketching is my passion; the more I worked on it, the more I was assured that this is what I wanted to do for life. I didn’t take any courses; I learnt by vision, observations, researching, and then from my own mistakes as I went along.
2. We know that you focus on Egyptian design, is it something you will always continue or will you try other styles?
I am totally saturated by our culture and in love with our rich pharaonic heritage. Reflecting the Egyptian spirit is the most important thing in my work. Our heritage is significant to the world so we need to be the first ones to care about it and showcase its beauty in our work. My philosophy is to go back to our roots, revive our culture, and showcase its beauty in each and every piece. Yes, I think that showcasing the beauty of the Egyptian culture will always be my passion.
3. Where specifically do you find inspiration?
Starting every collection is a journey rather than a process where the inspiration for a new theme can arise from a thought, an exulted moment, or any surrounding Egyptian detail that captures my soul. I believe that utilizing Egyptian culture elements in all my designs is the real catalyst for the brand’s success. Looking at “The Word Collection,” one of my recent collections, it had all sorts of positive words like happiness, joy, peace, blessings, and so on. This was stirred by the fact being negative is becoming the trend; everyone around is complaining. Looking at “The Sky Collection” my newest collection, it was inspired by the pharaonic sky goddess Nut and the sun’s journey inside her body.
4. How is a new piece “born”? In other words, how does an item get from your brain to us?
I start with the inspiration, as I explained above. For the materials, I love raw materials so much, that’s why I love using genuine leather, brass, woods, and cottons. All the materials are real because the real beauty lies in the texture of things. This is even more beautiful when handmade.
5. What are your favorite collections and pieces?
Every piece I design has a story behind it and has a memory so all the things I design are a part of me.
6. What are your plans for the future?
I dream to go international and see westerners wearing accessories that reflect our rich culture and heritage. Our culture is beautiful and the stories behind every collection are very interesting for foreigners so I am planning to start being physically present in other markets very soon.