Egyptian fashion design students look to heritage as they face the future

For their graduation project, Israa Eid, Zainab El-Gammal, Zeyad Nabil and Nada Afifi combined contemporary ideas with motifs from Egypt’s film and literary heritage after visiting an exhibition earlier this year of works by the artist and scholar Sally Elzeiny.

The exhibition, titled “The scenefeatured paintings based on literature from the 1950s and 1960s, especially books that were made into well-known films. Elzeiny’s paintings are inspired by works of great writers such as Naguib Mahfouz, Taha Hussein, Abdel Quddous and others.

Graduation projects are the last step for students before obtaining their baccalaureate after five years of study, including a preparatory year, at the faculties of fine and applied arts in Egypt. At the Faculty of Applied Arts, Benha University, Technology and Fashion Design is one of 14 departments.

During the first four academic years, students study different types of clothing, such as children’s, women’s, and men’s clothing, in addition to subjects such as pattern design and mannequin shaping.

They also study the properties of fabrics, care for them, factory machinery, production materials, design software, presentation and packaging methods, environmentally friendly design, as well as various branches such as color science and psychology, fashion and art history. In a course on clothing accessories, they study bag and shoe design, the leather industry and recycling.

The past academic year has been spent studying the design and making of special occasion wear.

Inspired by art that reflects heritage

In their graduation projects, students had to create drawings inspired by works by contemporary artists that reflect Egyptian heritage, much like the paintings in Elzeiny’s exhibition.

Israa Eid told Al-Fanar Media that she and other students who collaborated with her were inspired by paintings that highlighted fashions in mid-20th century Egyptian films.

Joseph E. Golightly