Just like in other countries, Egypt suffers greatly from pollution and garbage. Also, since the country has two major seas located on its boundaries, the issue of plastic garbage in the sea, in particular, is of the highest relevance.
So, of what relevance is this to the fashion industry in particular?
There are certain fashion brands, known as sustainable or ethical fashion brands, which make use of waste products such as used tyres, raffia, and many more to create fashion products. In Egypt, Reform Studio is one brand that is leading the change by using these plastic waste to create fashion and home accessories, as well as furniture. So, how do they achieve this?
About Reform Studio
Reform Studio is a brand that was born out of a desire to remedy Egypt’s mounting problem of discarded plastic and provide employment opportunities to local female artisans. The brand creates fashion products such as tote bags, as well as home accessories, and they are all offered in a vibrant array of colours and handcrafted from Plastex.
The brand was founded in 2012 by Hend Riad and Mariam Hazem to harness the power of design to affect social change.
”We believe that design can solve stubborn problems and so we started with a major issue in Egypt – waste. We want to design products for a better life.” – Reform Studio.
By researching, designing and prototyping, their goal is to produce simple and innovative products with added value that reflects people’s needs and desires.
Intending to reduce waste plastic bags in Egypt, the founders of Reform Studio, after much experimentation, came up with a fabric woven from used plastic bags on traditional Egyptian handlooms known as Plastex. This invented material, Plastex, is a 100% eco-friendly, handmade fabric that indeed translates the need for environmental sustainability.
Plastex also comes in four pattern options – plain, striped, zebra and plaid, and they can then be used to create a range of products.
“The production of Plastex happens in our workshop and it involves collecting, sorting and turning plastic bags into threads and then weaving it on handlooms. There are unlimited possibilities and potential for this beautiful material, we keep on developing it and we came up with hundreds of patterns that applied on different applications.” – Hend Riad.
AAKS is a Ghanaian fashion brand that deals in the production of accessories that are specially handcrafted through traditional, intricate methods of weaving using bright, exuberant colours. Founded by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi, the brand specialises in designing handbags, tote bags and shoulder bags which are made from raffia, leather and their derivatives.
FUFA is an Egyptian fashion brand founded by Farah El Ashiry that aims to use locally sourced and produced materials with unique prints to design a range of products. With dresses, tops, skirts and many more, the brand ensures their target customers get culture-rich pieces which are made with absolute passion.
INCA And Co
INCA and Co is a fabric and lifestyle home furnishings brand that offers a variety of furniture textiles and fabrics, which are designed by Egyptian artists and mostly manufactured in Egypt.
They offer products such as cushions, pouffes, mattresses and many more that are of good design and durability.
Target Audience And Pricing
Due to the range of products they offer, there’s a wide range in the prices, as some products may go for as low as 50 USD, while others may go for as high as 400USD.
Also, if you have a high affinity for sustainable products, then this brand is most likely for you, as they design for customers with a strong bond towards design and sustainability.
How Reform Studios Is Helping African Communities
Apart from providing employment opportunities to local female artisans, the Reform Studio brand is also, to a large extent, reducing the amount of plastic waste in Egypt. By raising awareness about how they define waste and the possibilities behind using what was once destined to be trash, the Reform Studio brand is breaking boundaries.
Reform Studio is really bringing change to lots of Egyptian communities while creating beautiful and unique fashion and home accessories as well as furniture for their customers.