In a bid to dissect navigating womanhood in the Arab world, local brand UNTY has launched their female-focused campaign.
“On a personal level, it’s hard not to notice how normalized societal restrictions are for women,” says Omar Mobarek as we chat on the phone just hours after the release of his brand’s powerful new female-fueled campaign. Mobarek is the founder of popular streetwear brand UNTY known for its striking graphic-aesthetic and acerbic slogans smartly addressing current issues. He’s no stranger to crafting stories born of the cultural and societal issues facing Egypt’s youth and these days the issue of female freedom, agency and shame are top of the agenda “from dudes obsessing about what their girlfriend can and can’t wear, to guys not dating girls who lost their virginity due to deep rooted insecurities. I once heard a guy once compare it to ‘buying a used car’ and none of them see any problem with it.”
In the last couple of months Egyptian women have used social media to spark a reckoning-come-revolution against the forces stymieing female agency over their own bodies and behaviors while shrouding systemic sexual assault in silence and shame. In allyship, designer Mobarek has lent his platform to a slew of female Cairo-based creatives to support the messaging through a series of videos and visuals featuring the brand’s signature ‘Virtue & Vice’ bowling shirt with the word ‘براحتها’ emblazoned across it.
The first collaborator is Najla Said, a filmmaker who also lends her voice to the video (shown here). “Her documentation of youth culture in Egypt is real, raw and fearless in challenging societal expectations,” says Mobarek. Dina El-Zeneiny, a filmmaker, who is featured in the video, negotiates the streets of Cairo wearing the ‘براحتها’ shirt, amassing a collection of stares and comments along the way. The video was edited by Nensi Ragab.
The shirt featured in the video was first introduced two years ago inspired by a moment in traffic. “I spotted a براحتها sticker on the back of a microbus,” explains Mobarek. “In the context of the streets of Cairo it was too ironic to ignore.”
The Virtue & Vice Bowling shirt can be purchased from www.untydesigns.com