Designing clothes for the opposite sex comes naturally to Engy Mahdy, the female creative force behind menswear brand one andfour. “When I’m working, I find that I am able to create a balance between being objective and subjective,” she tells Vogue Arabia. “Though I’m designing for a man, I am able to take myself and the subconscious feeling of designing something I would wear out of the equation, and just create what I personally find aesthetically appealing on a man.”
The Egyptian designer and pattern-maker, who has worked alongside 2016 DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize winner Reema Al Banna and Palestinian designer Faissal El Malak, recently wrapped up her debut collection, titled What Flavor is the World to You? This nonsensical question is a response to her personal transition from New Zealand, which she called home for 11 years (she obtained a fashion design degree from the Auckland University of Technology), all the way to Dubai where she has been living for the past year, hosting pattern-making workshops at Tashkeel. “The collection explores cultural identity and our views and perceptions of the lives we live,” she muses.
The offering, which has been in the works since Mahdy began designing, features an urban mix of expertly-tailored trousers, dress shirts with exaggerated sleeves, camouflage print bomber jackets, and coordinating pants that can realistically be worn by both genders. The few female-only pieces include a long mesh dress that comes in olive green, acid orange, and plain black colorways. Not a single detail was left out during the design process. The Fall 2017 collection was designed with the goal of creating clothes that are sympathetic to the movements of the human form.
When it comes to the kind of man who would wear her designs, Mahdy has someone specific in mind. “When I’m creating, I envision a man who is mindful of everything he chooses to own. From his watch to his shoes,” she says. “I always design with the underlying belief that I, as a designer, can communicate to the wearer through clothing without even knowing them at all, that I can somehow create a relationship between the item of clothing and the wearer.”
Mahdy’s debut collection will launch at general.3am (formerly known as Corcel) in the Dubai Design District on September 20. The full range will be on display and available to buy. “I’m planning a few things for the night that will hopefully make the whole experience one to remember,” she adds. If her first collection is any indication, Mahdy certainly knows what she’s doing. Men, take note.
Check out the exclusive lookbook above photographed by Chebmoha.