DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize 2016 accessories winner, Okhtein, has just cut the ribbon on its debut bricks-and-mortar store in the founder’s hometown of Cairo. The sister act design duo chose the occasion to launch their Spring 2017 collection in Egypt for the first time, at their flagship at 11 Hassan Sabry Street in the Zamalek Island area. “Location was key for us when we started scouting for our shop space. It took us a couple of years to find the right one,” the Okhtein sisters tell Vogue Arabia. “We were ecstatic to have found this location that is not only in a central neighborhood like Zamalek but also houses a lot of fresh and emerging designers.”
Fresh from doing the press rounds last week after signing Egyptian actor Amina Khalil as brand ambassador, designer duo Mounaz and Aya Abdel Raouf are clearly building their label at an impressive pace and need no pause for breathe in-between launches and announcements. Mounaz says, “As cliché as it sounds, I always tell my sister that we should go big or go home. You really never know what life will give you, so we’re always in agreement to just dream big and aim high.”
Since 2014, the brand has been available on its own site, as well as via FarFetch, at Al Ostoura in Kuwait, Curve Boutique in the US, and Browns in London, but this is the first time the sisters have fully taken the reigns. “Having our flagship store in our hometown in Egypt poses a great significance to our brand equity as it further sets our foot in the market,” the Abdel Raouf sisters tell Vogue Arabia. “Our flagship store will also provide us with a platform to further engage with our clients, offering them an up-close and personal experience with the pieces and the brand’s spokespeople, where they can learn more about the material we use and the hours and craftsmanship it takes to create a single piece.”
The store is cleverly designed to amplify the statements of its product. Expect luxury hardware, glass shelves, and contemporary clutter-free surrounds. Okhtein appointed Cairo-based design company Studio Five to echo the brand’s look in brass and white and black marble minimalism.
Since winning the accessories category of the DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize for 2016, Okhtein has seen its designs worn by a host of A-listers, most recently Gigi Hadid and Olivia Culpo. “The DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize has created a benchmark for us that we’re always working towards and aiming to push even further. The title came with responsibility and it’s become a driving force for us,” says the Okhtein founders. “As we continued to receive more exposure worldwide, it was important for us to up our quality standards in everything we do, to be able to compete internationally. The experience also gave us insight into keeping this momentum going and capitalizing on it through our journey.”
Okhtein’s debut store is now open on 11 Hassan Sabry St, Degla Centre, Zamalek, Cairo.