How Maison Mehany Will Make Egyptian Fashion Contemporary!
If you are tired of hearing “fashion people” lament about the state of the Egyptian fashion industry, we might have found your light at the end of the tunnel.
Three years ago, at only 20 and 23, Anne and Andrew Mehany co-founded Maison Mehany. It is a fashion house that provides all the services a brand might need for high-end image making. They help them visually communicate with their clients.
We spoke to Anne Mehany who is also a creative director, fashion stylist, photographer and producer for the house and found out that not only those two cousins produce most of the cool stuff in town, but they also speak the right jargon and are determined to push the Egyptian fashion industry towards global standards.
“Fashion is not about fashion. It sounds cliché but it isn’t”, Anne Mehany states. She is convinced the work they do is as important as the designers’. Even very talented creators aren’t always able to tell “the story behind” their collections and that’s where a house like Maison Mehany comes in handy. “Especially for brands that are still seeking a defined identity”, Mehany tells us.
Many local brands seeking fashion consultancy are now turning to Maison Mehany, especially since they restyled Egyptian brand Sherwal’s collections that got sold out. People are realizing the power of building a strong brand identity.
“How do we make an identity? By styling. How do we style? Using education, history, art […] building and customizing taste as if you’re cooking. Adding and tasting…it’s a process”, she says.
Mehany knows and capitalizes on the fact that if you like the image and the story behind their creative direction, you will go buy the product even if it doesn’t suit you.
However, she insists, they are not interested in advertising as much as they are about transmitting the message to the wide audience. “We’re not looking for commercial as much as we’re looking to change the market into contemporary”. And for that, especially in Egypt, she informs us, you need to deliver the message in a very simple way before daring to develop and change it.
“Our key is simplicity”, says Anne Mehany, She argues this is partly because introducing concepts like minimalism, for instance, has to be done step by step and in Egypt, we are still at phase one, in other words, introduction. Shirts are still expected to be worn as shirts on a shoot in Egypt when it’s in no way a given when working with international designers.
“What’s contemporary fashion? That’s what we try to answer in our projects […] it is what’s going around now”, says Mehany.
“The fashion industry might not be as important as pharmaceuticals for example that save lives, but it’s like art, people would even spend in it as an investment”, the co-founder explains. With a family business in pharmaceuticals, her cousin Andrew juggles between the two fields and through their work, one can definitely see some raw and perhaps medical influence.
They confess wanting to explore using biotechnology instead of Photoshop by, for example, leaving a picture under the ground, but that takes more time so “designers would have to be patient”, Mehany clarifies.
Maison Mehany made a name for themselves when releasing their first video ever that was seen as very alternative and interesting. Although a project that changed the game was, of course, working with Okhtein last summer. “I had two bags from them and started styling them”. Okhtein liked it so they worked together. Doing a cover story for Voo Store, one of the only and major concept stores in Berlin was also one of the impressive international jobs Maison Mehany executed.