Nada Elhlfawy's unique designs look south, to Nubia and Africa, for their lively and colourful combinations.
It isn't exactly groundbreaking news to say that, over the last few years, Egypt's designers and labels have lookd more and more inwards for their inspiration. While there was once a time where all that's foreign was best, it's Egypt's heritage and culture that's en vogue - something that designer, Nada Elhlfawy, is chanelling with her salute to Nubia.
Representing culture with hearty, hip fashion, Ganubi, serves effervescent colours that pop without diluting the historical and cultural aesthetics, which in turn is framed Nada own contemporary vision. From clothing, to ornate jewellery, to backpacks, Ganubi creates one-of-a-kind pieces that reflect the creator’s roots as a Nubian visual artist and graphic designer.
"The idea of Ganubi came to me a year ago, during my years at the academy", Nada tells CairoScene. "I then worked as a graphic designer, working with several brands which introduced me to printing and production, two skills that really came to help when starting Ganubi."
A Design and Applied Arts graduate from the Academy of Arts, Nada quickly garnered quite the following after unleashing her first pieces on the world. "After seeing people's reaction, I decide to start Ganubi. I do it all; the artworks, printing, photography, art direction and production", said Nada, a truly indomitable one-woman shop.
Inspiration for her works came specifically from the colours readily seen in Nubian, Sudanese and South African cultures, offering a mix of vibrant, lively combinations that incorporate Nubian faces and elements.
"I wanted to put the colours of my cultures out there, and not just as your run-of-the-mill designs, but with my own unique vision and stylistic visual representation of Nubian culture."
After establishing her own brand of wearable art, she aims to build on the visibility she’s accomplished to invite more people in, from all around the world, to learn and soak in her reflection and creation of Nubian art they can don.
While contemporary culturally-specific, clothing isn’t new, Nada’s execution and authenticity certainly is. She states that while there are those who attempt to create wearable artwork that is Nubian-inspired in Egypt, they often use exaggerated elements that only come off as foreign interpretations, due to the creators themselves not being native to Nubia.
"I started Ganubi because I couldn't find similar representation of vibrant African culture, but also because the ones I did were exasperated perceptions of the culture by those who seem not to know much about it, only a surface level understanding", says Nada.
Images courtesy of Ganubi