If you haven’t heard about Amna El Shandaweely yet, you will. Hailing from Egypt, El Shandaweely is a young designer to watch. She describes her clothes as a tribal ethnic brand mixed with a street wear aesthetic.
We recently caught up with the Cairo native at this year’s Design Indaba, where she was one of the speakers.
So what brings you to South Africa?
I came here to do a talk at the Design Indaba, it’s my very first time in South Africa. I have a lot of customers from here through the internet. There’s so much diversity here and it really fits my brand. I’m going to be here for a month.
Have you been able to use this platform to collaborate with other artists?
A lot of people have been texting me – from film directors, to photographers, actors, and stylists – to do collaboration projects. I’m actually looking for a graffiti artist from around Africa to do collaborations and designs with.
How does what you’ve seen in South Africa, differ from the design scene in Egypt?
In South Africa people are so diverse and embrace their identitiy. So you’ll see someone who is very minimal and then you can also see someone who is very exaggerated and over the top. So I feel that it’s an open minded space when it comes to art and fashion; and this is what I love the most about being here.
Where do you get the inspiration for your designs?
There is a social or political issue that motivates each collection that I launch. I try to stand up against the status quo of society – whether that be colour dscrimination, gender inequality, generational differences, or any political issues.
Where do you see yourself in the next 2 to 3 years?
A lot of people are seeking to have fashion that stems from our own culture and our own identity, and I think that I’m one of the brands that are introducing this. So I see myself as a revolutionary fashion designer, and taking the continent to another level.
Where can we buy your clothes?
I have an online store – amnaelshandaweely.com – I also have a store in Cairo, and at the moment I’m working with various fashion buyers from South Africa to make my pieces available in Cape Town and Joburg.
Looking for more fashion news? Take a look at our interview with Nhlanhla Nciza!