STAND Up!: Meet the 34 projects in the fashion and clothing industry selected in Egypt
A selection of 34 young green entrepreneurs with their sustainable fashion and textile ideas and projects are the result of the call coordinated by SEKEM Development Foundation in Egypt to participate in the STAND Up! Growing Innovation Program. This selection will give them access to the training for the development of a validated green business model to seize business opportunities and strengthen their expertise.
Being balanced in the presence of female and male entrepreneurs (58% are women), the group is characterised by the high percentage of young people under 35 years of age, which represents about 75% of selected participants.But even better, many of them are -20 years old.
One of the most interesting elements is how fashion designers, start-uppers, young entrepreneurs and eco-friendly initiatives are engaging to make the Egyptian industry more beneficial for the environment and for the economy. In this same line, the ideas are committed in boosting social inclusion and
the new job opportunities for women and young people.
In the same way, a distinctive feature from many of the experiences
identified is the promotion and support of Egypt's cultural, social and productive heritage through the valorisation of knowledge and textile manufacturing traditions updated to new and sustainable needs. At this stage, these ideas and start-ups will follow SwitchMed methodology developed by SCP/RAC as the STAND Up! project Lead Partner.
Meet passionate stories of fashion entrepreneurs in Egypt
Reviewing the selection, we have the example of Whyte Gold, an online brand and fashion platform that bridges the gap between sustainable, creative minds and the Egyptian cotton building a business culture made of co-creation and collaboration. Thus, the brand features different emerging fashion designers, empowering new creative talent every new collection.
Aiming to revive Egyptian cultural heritage and crafts by offering sustainably and ethically produced ready-to-wear garments is the distinctive feature of Saqhoute an affordable luxury ready-to-wear brand for professional women established in 2018 on lean consumption, slow fashion and a zero-waste approach.
The same approach is driving the sustainable fashion brand Dija Mo, that draws inspiration from the Egyptian culture translating it in
a trendy and eco-friendly designs by adopting slow fashion concept. They use all the leftovers from the manufacturing to make new textiles and recycle them in new designs.
Inclusion and low income families support is the basis of the Recycloths, project that aims to produce sustainable but skin friendly school clothes by using organic cotton and, at the same time, to promote the reuse and the recycle system allowing customers to return the clothes once the children have outgrown them. If the clothes are in a good condition, the costumer will receive a discount for the next purchase and Recycloths sells the returned clothes as second-hand pieces.
Recycling and social awareness are also the guidelines for Green Fashion, taking leftover fabric from factories and upcycling them into fashionable products like bags, jackets and jeans. They use post-consumer waste to produce products with higher value and also create biodegradable clothes tints that are sold to factories. It empowers single mothers and breadwinner women in Bel Misht Village when it comes to manufacturing to empower them and give them a decent lifestyle.
”In Egypt, the problem is that clothes that are not used and clothing waste from factories get incinerated 70 percent of the time or recycled 30 percent of the time,” explain a member of Fashion Up-Cycling at the Fashion and Design Center. In the core of their operations, they are helping small clothing manufacturers to reuse garments leftovers redesigning wearable products from leftovers, turning them to more valuable and desirable pieces and giving them a new life with a longevity that results in a sustainable product life.
Connecting with the country current culture, which supports fast consumption and quantity more than quality in the fashion industry, The Eco-fashion Project aims to create an artistic and sustainable space by fusing together eco and ethical models with artistic elements. A place where producing sustainable fashion by designing clothes that depend on the environment and the arts and simultaneously promote meetings, open talks and thematic workshops.
STAND Up! is an EU-funded project under the ENI CBC Med Programme, intended to promote eco-innovative business projects in the textile, clothing and fashion sectors that positively contribute to an environmentally and socially responsible circular model in which entrepreneurs from five Mediterranean countries participate: Spain, Italy, Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia. The Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC) in Spain is the project’s Lead Partner.