The only way to inspire is to never follow the rules.
In our part of the world, they say 'Koll eli ye3gebak w elbes eli ye3geb el nas!' which literally means 'Eat what you like, but dress in what people like.' Let's face it: Egypt sometimes requires a certain level of conformity so that people let you be. Some people, however, have the courage and fearlessness to break out of that shell, particularly in the Egyptian fashion scene, where designers often abide by society's idea of 'proper' dress in an industry that often preaches individuality, sometimes ironically burying it. The likes of fashion designer Mohanad Kojak, photographer Shahira El Sayed, model Rachel Simpson, graphic designer, and model Mohamed 'Mariachi' Medhat, and many more who are not afraid to break any of the rules and have been named as Cairo Trendsetters.
The Cairo Trendsetters video project by photographer and filmmaker Karim Alwi is "dedicated to individuality and freedom of expression, featuring the fresh faces of some of the bravest creative souls in Egypt's fashion scene - though the idea is not limited to fashion." Featured in what look an awful lot like mug shots, they each look fabulous just being themselves and sticking it to the 'Cairo Fashion Police'. Alwi, told us that this is the most fun he's had working on any project, and that he's worked with each of the trendsetters featured in his project in their professional elements. "It was a lot of fun working with them outside of that zone, and having them be themselves. Each of them had their preferred name displayed on the board, as well as their favourite music playing in the background." Alwi also mentions that a lot of them, while individualistic in their own work, found it hard to break out on yet another level and just be themselves – work and all aside. "It was something they all had in common, which is just being themselves. Some of them are actually camera shy! And it was just an interesting process all together to have them condition themselves to being themselves."
So, while the word 'trendsetter' may seem like it invites people to follow trends, we totally think it's to get people to set their own. The beautiful people you're about to see are so eloquently fearless – they slay, and they stay fierce – all while inspiring us to do the same!
Check out the still images: