CAIRO — For Egyptian fashion designer Farida Temraz, the lockdown period has dealt a heavy blow. She said, “The challenge was great. How can I afford to close my business, without letting this affect my workers?”
Temraz, 29, said she was afraid for her family and her daughter because of the coronavirus pandemic. “This is why I came up with the idea of doing an online fashion show on social media. It was difficult to simply give up on my dream for any reason whatsoever, even a global pandemic. So I figured I would design a practical, appropriate and safe overall that I can wear on top of my outfit to go to work and to dump in the washer when I get back home,” she told Al-Monitor.
“The overall was a major hit among companies and shops who wanted it for their workers. It became the masterpiece in my collection for the summer of 2020,” she continued, adding that she used Egyptian raw materials to make it practical with a modern design.
“It was no longer possible to hold any fashion shows or participate in any international ones. I knew the pandemic would go on for quite a while so I had to figure out how to cope with it and come up with suitable practical ideas. The opportunity of an online fashion show presented itself. It was the first online fashion show in Egypt and the Arab world. I am very happy with the turnout. It was an exciting experience for many,” Temraz explained.
Temraz said that the show included 20 original pieces. Yellow, green and fuchsia along with white and black dominated a practical and versatile collection. Sleeves can be removed and dresses can be turned into skirts.
She pointed out that great precautionary measures were taken during the show. It was held outdoors and all staff members except for the models wore masks. The preparations took eight hours.
Temraz launched her fashion line, Temraza, in 2013. It won the Best Female Couture Designer Brand in New York Fashion Week 2017 with her collection “Rise of the Pharaohs.” The pandemic has introduced new challenges with shows canceled and clients mainly ordering pieces online.
Gina Sultan, an Egyptian fashion designer based in Paris, told Al-Monitor, “The coronavirus pandemic halted all fashion shows. The idea of an online fashion show is new and original.”
Sultan went on, “Social media has a mass audience. I personally think of doing this myself and many fashion companies are asking for this. Internet and social media platforms are the future, not only in the fashion industry but also in other fields.”
She explained that online sales may be slow at first but they are sure to rise. “These fashion shows will gain an audience and followers. A large number of women in Egypt are interested in fashion and the latest trends.”
Economist Hoda al-Mallah told Al-Monitor, “The idea of online fashion shows is a marketing process. It will be profitable for both the organizers and producers. If such shows become frequent, they will have followers and sales will definitely pick up.”
Another Egyptian fashion designer, Ramez Abdo, told Al-Monitor that a large audience is waiting for fashion shows to resume. “No fashion show has been allowed since the outbreak of the coronavirus,” he said, adding that online “fashion shows will achieve great success, but this will not be felt this season amid the cancellation of all social events. All it takes is some advertising campaigns and all fashion shows will be held online from now on.”
Ahmed Arafa, director of the digital marketing firm Di Median Company, told Al-Monitor, “Social media platforms are now a major venue of enterprises and projects in all industries, not only in fashion. In Egypt, Facebook and Instagram are the most popular social media platforms. In light of the ongoing pandemic, marketing on these platforms has thrived. [Fashion] shows on these platforms have become more useful in terms of marketing than real shows. Online fashion shows are a good experience and need only support and publicity.”
Arafa said that social media platforms are increasingly controlling the market. “Many fashion designers use social media for promoting their work. They have pages and followers. E-marketing is the future.”