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Meet the Rising Designer Behind Egypt's Funkiest Shirts

The innovative fashion startup is Egyptian entrepreneur Mohamed Kishk's brainchild, who wants to bring a unique flair to Egyptian fashion.

Patterns are the new black. Everywhere you go, there are patterns, and we're not talking criminal ones - although those can be found in abundance, but more like patterned shirts. We now know who is behind all these patterned shirts you've been seeing and envying on dance floors all across the city.    

Egyptian fashion brand Wallflower has ambitious plans to shake up Egyptian wardrobes, aiming to “give a glimpse of not only their style, but their personality,” according to founder Mohamed Kishk.

The new style maker has an exhilarating line of shirts, splashed with an array of geometrical patterns, prints, and styles to suit everyone. “A lot of people seem to think they’re only for men for some reason. They’re not,” Kishk clarifies.

According to the fashion maven, the brand is 100% Egyptian and utilises only locally-sourced fabrics - viscose, cotton, and silk. “[I] bought a garage in Tagamoa, and all the machines, and I have my own employees. It's my own small factory, which I hope, one day, will be a big one.”

“The overall concept and mission of my brand is to enable Egyptians to wear local brands that epitomise style, quality, and materials, that are also affordable,” he says. “All major stores in Egypt have a limited number of styles that we see worn over and over again, causing them to become burnt out.”

Kishk was sick of the lack of accessibility to unique, new styles. “I would sometimes find good designs abroad, but the quality of the materials never matched the quality of premium Egyptian cotton,” he recounts. “Instead of settling for what the market had to offer, I decided, eight months ago, to take matters into my own hands.” 

The story of Wallflower is really a part of Kishk’s life story. “I failed so many times in different endeavours, but I never gave up,” the licensed pilot says. “But I never quit and now my passion found me.” 

“I was always encouraged by my father, who always told me that I would excel, that I would do something big, different, and that I would succeed at it,” he reminiscences. “He wanted me to dream big and to never settle for something ordinary.”

Kishk’s father passed away in 2003 when he was just 15 years old.

The designer’s family clearly played a big role in his drive to meet his dreams. “My mother is my number one supporter. She’s always on board with me, and without her, I wouldn’t have achieved anything,” he says with a smile.

The name Wallflower inspired by the plant’s nature. Wallflowers generally grow in isolation, away from other wallflowers. This, of course, is an analogy to the nature of Kishk’s designs, which are meant to stand out, to be unique in every way.

The enthusiastic designer has plenty of stories about people falling in fascination with his work. “When I was on the beach in Greece, I was wearing one of my shirts and it made a buzz. Someone came up to me and suggested I should bring the style to the market there,” Kishk recalls with a proud chuckle.

“When I was in Dubai and had a couple of samples that were my own personal shirts. I met a couple of old friends and they loved the design so I gave them a couple and they made their own photo shoot there, he recounts. The feedback he received from that shoot was a motivating factor for him, helping him realise his start-up is heading in the right direction.

Wallflower has a bunch of exciting collaborations with some of the hottest celebrities, including the likes of RamyTheDJunkie, Salma Abu Deif, Yehia Saada, Norshek, Marwan Younes, Ahmed El Fishawy, and Sherine Hamdy.

“When I walk in the street, I just meet people like that, who are interested in the brand, and it’s a huge plus, I’m very happy about that,” Kishk says. The ambitious, young brand has a range of exciting collaborations, coming up with some of the biggest names in Egyptian fashion. But we can only leave you with your itching curiosity at what’s coming next.

Wallflower is already working on their winter collection and promises it will be as rousing as fans should expect. He didn’t want to give away too many details, but the style will be a never-done-before incorporation of a 'rope' style with slight variation between the male and female versions. The collection will also feature denim jackets, a kids line, and kimonos. The collection, of course, will still be blazoned with Wallflower’s signature style.

Kishk’s first attempt at breaking into Egypt’s fashion world was in 2012. Since then, he’s grown, improved, stopped relying on third party production - whose faults, he says, caused his initial fashion plan’s demise, and he’s established a distinct style which is quickly becoming associated with his brand.

“I’ve always liked fashion and it was always a part of me. It makes me happy, so I thought, ‘why not create something that will make others happy too?’” He remarks. “I want my designs to be worn by people who crave showing their character through them and who appreciate the art behind them.”

Check out Wallflower on Instagram.

Photos by @MO4Network's #MO4Productions.

Photographer: Ahmed Najeeb.