In a time when women are encouraged to be themselves, speak up their minds and embrace their own beauty – fashion have become an instrumental tool of expression, which allows women to showcase their true selves without limitations. Like all best friends, they are the yin to each other’s yang. Choosing to do everything together, it has always been baffling why shopping remained to be something that divided them. In search for an inclusive brand that catered to all women and addressed all ends of the spectrum, the two friends spent many days to no avail.
“We could identify a gap in the Egyptian market, which we as average users had to deal with without any available alternatives. We could not find a brand that offered modest and bold choices for all women. Accordingly, we were inspired by our determination to create a brand that integrated both categories and offered women, more,” says Salma Fikry, Un&Veiled’s co-founder. Fikry and her business partner Mariam Salem met at University in London, where they studied media production and computer science. As friends they soon found themselves hanging out together around the clock and even liaising their schedules. According to the girls, even though one of them is veiled and the other is not, they still have very similar styles and agree with each other’s fashion choices. Nevertheless, finding one brand that can answer the fashion preferences of both was still quite difficult. “It all happened during our second year of university. It was natural for us to integrate our personal preferences and create something that worked for the two of us,” says Salem.
According to Fikry, their brand and subsequently their experience were shaped by the process itself. The number of shopping trips they took to the mall together, coupled with the amount of time they both spent researching trends as well as their discussions about their fashion disappointments and what they both needed separately and collectively – gave them a fresh perspective and helped them define their niche. “It was a long process that required true hard work for over a year and a half. The basic understanding of fabrics and their different types required effort and thorough research. We were true outsiders who leaped into this industry based on pure faith and admiration for fashion,” says Fikry. In parallel, the two partners also utilized the experience of Fikry’s mother. “Salma’s mother used to design clothes and that was both a source of inspiration and support! Even though she has stopped producing her own clothes, she still had the passion and knowhow. She helped us grasp the technicalities and the intricacies of starting into this industry,” shares Salem.
Producing collections that are 100% Egyptian, the founders are keen on sourcing materials that are solely Egyptian. “All of our items are made at a workshop that runs on the beauty of handmade artisanal skills. We currently have 10 people who produce our collections,” shares Fikry. Working towards establishing their design aesthetic and cementing their positioning, the challenge of building a unique brand from scratch was complicated to say the least. With a brand that promises to be present for every women, those who are veiled and those who are not. Un&Veiled aims to be modest, modern and chic. Nonetheless, highlighting that the brand’s designs are set to suit all women was no easy feat. Using expressive imagery and vibrant video footage, the founders are constantly keen on curating expressive digital feeds to reach their target audience and raise awareness regarding their philosophy.
As for their future plans, they are currently trying to expand into the Dubai market as they have their eyes set on having true international presence, with London naturally being their short term plan.