The Habibi Edit showcases small local brands #HABIBICOMMUNITYGEMS: There is a treasure trove of small, ready-to-wear local MENA labels scattered across the region headed by young Arab designers, producing handmade and unique items of clothing that are often overlooked and buried heaps fast fashion garments. Fighting the unforgiving fast fashion wave that washed over the world in the past decade, young local designers are taking matters into their own hands, launching their small businesses with clothing that carries their unique thumbprint, often anchored in a desire to break free of cultural stigmas or share part of their heritage with the rest of the world.
We will be spotlighting small but mighty, emerging brands in a new weekly series ‘Habibi Community Gems’ that underscores our mission to provide a platform and outlet for the massive untapped potential of our community’s talents and visionaries
This week, we’re placing a spotlight on female-led, contemporary, ready-to-wear label ‘Satz’. The fashion industry has a history of exploiting women, from garment workers in sweatshops to the commodification of women in high fashion. ‘Satz’, however, sees fashion as a tool for women to be empowered and in the era of sustainable fashion, female empowerment thrives.
Made by Egyptian women for Egyptian women, with the mantra at its heart majorly feminine energy to lift up others along the way, ‘Satz’ is not only a celebration of women but also a personal emancipation project for 23-year-old, full-time student and founder Sara Darwesh. The first in a long line of women in her family to launch her own business, Darwesh is breaking social stigmas and challenging the entrenched notion that women don’t belong in the workforce, much less leadership positions—dogmas she battled with all her life growing up in a traditional community that belittled women.
Fighting for financial independence and standing up for her right to self-expression, Darwesh began conjuring up a plan for ‘Satz’ two years ago before launching just a few weeks ago. Darwesh hopes her own personal journey will “inspire women around me to do the same thing even if they’re living in a community like mine that does not give them the space to express themselves and their passions.”
Although she has no professional background in fashion, Darwesh began tailoring her own wardrobe after years of being disappointed and disillusioned by the cookie-cutter, ‘cheaply mimicking the West’ fashion in Egypt. The debut collections feature pieces that focus on silhouettes that support feminine elegance as well as retro, pop art articles that glamorize Egyptian female icons. “Satz is essentially a brand that is made entirely by women. The whole line of production passes only through female hands from the designing to the tailoring. Even the people that supported me and would go the extra mile to scout for fabrics with me were all my girlfriends,” shares with #TheHabibiEdit. “I want to also highlight the female powerhouses from Egyptian histories and I do this by glamorizing icons. For example, the brand’s logo is Cleopatra—one of the greatest woman rulers that changed the way society treats women in positions of power. Or for instance, my graphic Le Femmes tee that features Egyptian actresses that are considered icons in Egypt’s culture.”