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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Ethereal Egyptian Fashion Label Udjat Draws from Ancient Traditions

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With a zero-waste philosophy and a respect for tradition, local label Udjat regularly collaborates with rural artisan communities and refugees across Egypt.

In an attempt to revitalize threatened handicrafts and promote responsible manufacturing through low impact production methods, local label Udjat regularly collaborates with rural artisan communities and refugees across Egypt to implement their contemporary, minimal designs. They’ve adopted a zero-waste philosophy to create their ready-to-wear garments, accessories and unique lifestyle pieces, which include ceramics and home accessories.

Their latest ready-to-wear collection adopts Siwi embroidery and  marries it with the traditional weaving style of Upper Egypt. The label describes the collection as “elements of a nonchalant Egyptophile’s wardrobe, seeking a life of poetry, wandering from oasis to oasis.” It borrows inspiration from the traditional Egyptian wardrobe, and the centuries-old traditions embraced by craftspeople in order to hone in on the romanticism of the untouched Egyptian rural life. Comprised of galabeyas, blouses and loose pants, the collection adopts sand hues, cream shades and terracottas that are associated with Egypt’s natural terrains.

The embroideries in this collection were sewn by Siwan women and Palestinian women, while pieces from other collections, like their scarves, were made by tent makers from Bab Zuwaila or silkscreeners who live as refugees in Maadi.

The label works exclusively with Egyptian fabrics that are hand- woven in Upper Egypt or Egyptian cotton of superior quality, which are then cut and sewn in their Zamalek studio.

The brand’s dedication to Egyptian heritage is mirrored in their name, which refers to the ‘Udjat eye’, more commonly known as the Eye of Horus, an Ancient Egyptian symbol of protection, royal power and good health. The symbol is one of the most distinct amulets in Ancient Egypt, an apotropaic symbol protecting its wearer against all imaginable dangers. Their collection also adopts other ancient symbols such the blue lotus, scarabs, funerary masks, and cartouches in their designs, as well as traditional patterns used by the Siwi and Palestinian craftspeople that the label works with.

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