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5 Minutes With... OKHTEIN

by Emma Foreman

Sisters Aya and Mounaz Abdelraouf are the creative force behind OKHTEIN, the luxury accessories label that is quite simply, the most exciting brand to emerge out of Egypt that we have encountered.  We spent 5 minutes with the duo to get a glimpse inside their world. 

How would you describe OKHTEIN?

OKHTEIN is a fun yet elegant, quirky yet classic brand. We have two sides; the first is an artsy one where our artworks and collage prints tell stories. The second is more refined and elegant, modernizing our Egyptian culture and history using geometric shapes and story telling.

Did you always know you would end up designing? 

Mounaz has always been a painter and an artist, while Aya has always loved fashion and design; so together we found the perfect balance for starting up our own fashion accessory brand. Art and design has been passed down to us through generations of artistic aunts and great grand parents so we always knew what we were supposed to do with our passion.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

We think our greatest achievement so far is showing our fellow Egyptians that it’s not impossible to dream big, especially when it comes to building your own brand and making it go international. We achieved this specifically when actress Emma Watson was spotted wearing our Palmette backpack.

You’re sisters, how do you find working with another family member? 

Working with a family member is always great, but of course has its drawbacks. The best parts are that we are familiar with each other and our flaws so we know how to work around them. We are best friends and balance each other out somehow, so that has always been amazing for our job as well. Sometimes we want to kill each other, but we’re forced to make up and pretend like it never happened. 

What is the most treasured item in your wardrobe? 

Mounaz- The most treasured item in my wardrobe is my grandmother’s vintage vest she gave me when I turned 18.

Aya- Mine would have to be my first bag I ever designed.

What’s next for OKHTEIN in 2016?

We just released OKHTEIN scarves and with that we’re trying to show our audiences that OKHTEIN is an accessory brand and not just a handbag brand. We have great collaborations coming up- new designs and new risks and we can’t wait to show what we have in store.