It makes me think about Egypt a lot, and about how every girl looks like the other one. Who doesn't have a Longchamp Bag? Ray Ban aviators? ( or the latest fashion item, just go to AUC or the ultimate place-to be Tamarai to find out) I personally love my Longchamp bag, it is so practical and looks so nice, as for my aviators, I think they're amazing, they look good on everyone, and they make me feel hippie. But sometimes it gets just so annoying and so strange to see how everyone is looking the same. Same style, same clothes, same hair do, even same way of dancing! I don't think it has anything to do with being a fashionista, I can't think of a specific reason for this because I sometimes do follow these trends.
Although all my friends in Cairo call me Rambo when I wear it, I love wearing my hippy-rambo headband but I only wear it on two occasions, on the beach and when I'm out at night(sometimes I end up by removing it because of the weird stares I get). In London, I wore it more than once and I did not get any comment. I wear my super hat ( I know someone who particularly hates it) and no one says anything and I just love it!
When I look at people around me, especially at university I see them wearing items that I would never have thought could be combined together! But still, it looks nice you know why? Because it is their own way of putting it together expressing their uniqueness.
I know that girls all wearing the same clothes and looking all alike is a widespread phenomenon called "fashion" but there is a difference here, in London, you can wear the "in" item any way you like it or you can just not wear it, nobody will look at you and judge or criticize.
I guess this also has a lot to do with the culture. If you think about it, freedom of expression is not only about politics but about everything and in Egypt I don't think there is freedom of expression at all. I don't want to generalize but being part of the mainstream is so easy and I sometimes fall into it , I admit. We are being dictated everything in our life. We are brought up in a way that standards always have to apply. But says who? Who made these standards? I am not playing the role of the Arab woman who comes to be liberated in Europe, but I just ask myself why do we all follow this mainstream? What is wrong with being yourself and accepting others the way they are?
It is part of our judging culture in Egypt , I can't stop thinking about how people stare when someone just enters into a place and no it's not the- normal stare- because- someone- just- walked- in, it's the who-is-she-what is she wearing-is it a Prada bag- isn't she loulou's cousin -stare. Trust me, I know this look, I once caught myself doing it and I got it from other people so many times.
About fashion in Egypt, we must not forget that there isn't a real wide range of places to shop at, this is why you will find every girl wearing the same Zara, Mango name any brand, name any item. Still, I am pretty sure that in London many girls must shop at those stores but we can't see it, and it is because they have their own sense of fashion.
When we look at something like Portobello Market (the picture), it is amazing to see how many items are so unique, you have so many markets, so many stores that cater to everyone, every size, every shape everything! Why don't we have things like this in Egypt? Although we have this new trend of small vintage boutiques, they are so expensive, plus, it is the new trend to be vintage and buy from boutiques. Still, I am sure there are alternatives and ways of being unique in fashion but still, I see this step being very hesitant in Egypt.
Isn't it enough that we have to deal with the issues we have in our complex society, like the poverty, the twisted politics, the corruption, the backwards mentalities and so on. I think it is time to start opening our minds a bit, at least by wearing what ever suits us and what ever we like and by accepting other's style. That's a good start for freedom I think.
(Photo By Randa El Tahawy)