Young designers are challenging style norms in Egypt by promoting body positive clothing and catering to plus-size women.
Cairo high street store Mix and Match is an example of this movement, allowing women to pick separates that are tailor-made for their size and shape.
“It’s kind of a cliché that a big woman should just wear whatever fits her, but that’s not right,” says Mix and Match designer Rola Hussein. “We try to focus on the details that will make a woman’s body look better, will make her feel more confident in herself, without really changing what she is.”
Egypt has one of the highest obesity rates in the world, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Whilst the Egyptian retail market has been underserving full-figured women for many years, increasing numbers of designers are realising they can tap into a significant customer base.
Modelling their own plus-size creations is one marketing tool for aspiring designers, they’re also leveraging social media to showcase their pieces and break style stereotypes.
However, tackling the mainstream media’s focus on slender women remains a challenge, especially when many fashion trends aren’t flattering to all body types.
“It’s a good market and a very difficult market,” explains Zeinab Ahmed, who works as a sales manager at Beauty XXL. “Not every model or every product is suitable for a large size.”
The hope shared by many in Cairo’s fashion community is that designers, and forward-thinking consumers, will continue to promote body confidence in Egyptians and place curvaceous ladies at the centre of the region’s fashion scene.
Seen On Social: Mena Bloggers Support Plus-Size Fashion
Aline from Lebanon posted this pic of herself, saying she’s delighted that plus-size fashion taking off in the Middle East.