“For the first time in a while time stood still and we were able to dig deep into ourselves,” Mounaz and Aya Abdel Raoul, the founders of Egyptian label Okhtein tell us. The designer sisters are referring to the lockdowns, of course.
The duo found solace in reflection and reconnecting with their inner selves. Naturally, their latest collection ‘Re-connect’ is a testament to that.
This season, the Raouls held back from introducing any new styles. Instead, they have revisited Okhtein classics, reinterpreting pieces from previous collections. This isn’t due to a lack of inspiration, though.
In fact, inspiration might have nothing to do with it. Lockdowns forced the world to reconnect with nature, and they were no exception. They’ve decidedly given their signature pieces a touch of what kept them grounded through it all: nature.
“We would look back at old designs, rework them, and reminisce over their inspirations linking them to nature,” they explain.
As a result, the handmade bags ooze organic structure and earthy colors and are made with sustainability in mind. The Terra bag, a semi-circular clutch with a zig-zag-shaped handle and drawstring detailing, is reinterpreted in three customized print designs, inspired by patterns of microscopic images from the human body, for example.
Meticulously crafted by artisans in India, they are all created using sustainable materials like Spanish and Indian raffia.
“Our SS21 collection is a celebration of earth, our heritage, and the vitality of looking after both ourselves and the environment,” the sisters state.
To add yet another layer of naturalism and escapism, the duo teamed up with Moroccan fashion photographer Mous Lamrabat to shoot a dreamy campaign in a beautiful remote mountain location. Model Athiec Chol Malel is seen in brightly colored Byzantine-inspired gowns, in a nod to Egypt’s Byzantine era of art and culture.