Now more than ever, designers have been looking to the past for inspiration, in hopes of a more sustainable future. Egyptian sisters and designers behind Okhtein, Aya and Mounaz Abdelraouf are of the same mind, as they revisit previous collections for the spring/summer 2021 season.
The all-too-familiar feeling of confinement, and longing to be outdoors experienced in 2020 motivated the Abdelraouf sisters to look to nature and outdoor living for this collection. Titled Re-connect, the SS21 collection sees the designers revisit their classic handbag styles, weaving in natural and sustainable elements with the aim of reconnecting with nature.
“Working on this collection was truly an experience for us,” shared the designers with Vogue Arabia. “We very much enjoyed the curation process of each piece. By connecting with ourselves, we dated back to older collections and reworked them in a manner that was relatable to nature. This collection was created during isolation, the time when the world stood still, and we were able to properly self-reflect.”
Featuring earthy tones, organic structures, and irregular shapes, the handbags are adorned with handmade and sustainable details including Spanish and Indian raffia. However, the collection stays true to the sisters’ design signature with sharp gold accents that are unmistakably Okhtein. A standout piece is the Terra bag. Handcrafted by artisans in India, it will be available in three customized print designs inspired by microscopic images of the human body. The theme of the collection is also reflected in the new Okhtein logo which features metallic rods that although distanced, are still connected to each other.
To drive home the feeling of escapism and focus on nature, the handbags were photographed outdoors in the campaign lensed by Moroccan photographer Mous Lamrabat. Amongst mountains, model Athiec Chol Malel is photographed in Byzantine-inspired gowns as the sisters pay homage to their Egyptian heritage, drawing references from the period of arts and culture.
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