Grandma's Closet is Egypt's newest concept space that carries precious antique, vintage-like clothing from the 60s all the way to the 90s.
When fashionistas hear the word vintage, it's like they suddenly become possessed by a demon wrapped in a pink fur coat, wearing leather pants and platforms from the 90s, insisting that they must feed on all of the classical-but-made-shabby-looking-because-of-time clothing that exists. Because that's what you do when you're a vintage-vulture. For best friends and boutique owners, Alyah Sallah and Amina Geode, the word vintage means so much more than just clothing that looks old. Vintage to them means precious antiquities and classic gems that carry some form of historical and symbolic meaning. And that’s where their latest endavour began; Grandma’s Closest is Egypt’s newest classical and timeless basement boutique that embodies the true aesthetic of vintage.
In the 70s and 80s of last century, Geode’s grandmother owned a boutique herself called Elegance. She would periodically travel to Paris and to Europe to collect clothing items for her boutique. When she passed away a few years ago, she left behind, in her closet, a treasure-like collection of unworn garments that would begin to fray if they remained untouched. “It was like finding a treasure,” Sallah tells us, “Even our logo was inspired by the 70s boutique business card.” Having been influenced by a rich familial history of voguish and elegant styles, Sallah and Goede directed all of their sentiments and inspiration - and Grandma’s antique clothing – to the basement.
“We are not a store actually,” Sallah explains, “So much detail and effort has gone to create this space where we display unique collectables from the 60s all the way to the 90s.” The ladies have spent many months building up their antique clothing collection by carefully selecting the pieces that held significant value in their eyes. Clothing gems were collected from local markets in Egypt, altered and fixed by the duo in order to be displayed in the Closet. Garments that could not be fixed, but are still beautiful and worth displaying, are marked by a little hand written note and are subsequently priced accordingly.
"Just because I'm old doesn't mean you should forget about me."
Grandma’s Closet is located in Maadi and will be officially launching in the coming weeks. Because Grandma’s Closet is more of a conceptual space than a retail store, they will only be opened on select days announced on their Facebook page. Lovers of antique clothing collectables can also visit without necessarily buying anything. “We have a couch, a segada, food and drinks. And they can buy some of the items if they want to as well,” says Sallah, excited. “We’re also accepting appointments outside of the day we're officially open for anyone who wants to come and buy something."
At its core, the space is about remembering and treasuring history. "It’s a new concept; we want to encourage people not to throw away grandma’s precious clothes. The place is beautiful, small and cosy – literally like grandma’s closet,” Sallah laughs.
"Old doesn't necessarily mean black & white."
"I might be gone with the wind, but my stuff isn't."