What you wear can really save your life as, resident fashionista Karim Rahman explains. Here's what you should be wearing if you're heading out to protest...
I've been saying this for years (ever since I was 12 and a really bad TV show called Fashion House got me hooked on the whole industry): FASHION SAVES LIVES! Especially here in Egypt, where safety and security has become vital in the times we live in, people have no idea how fabrics can protect us from a lot of things (yes, even tear gas). With the 30th of June coming up and a second (Third? Fourth?) revolution in the wings, it's become absolutely necessary to stay safe during the events that are about to unfold, especially if you're headed down to a protest or whatnot.
How does fashion factor into this, you ask? I’ll tell you: the properties of the materials you’re wearing can literally fend off attacks and protect you should anything happen. Let’s examine a couple of fashion conscience things that you need to be aware of before heading out to save the country.
1. THIS IS NOT A FASHION SHOW. A protest is not a chance for you to show off the new designer wardrobe you just had shipped in from Italy. Wear non-descript, comfortable clothing (sweatpants, jeans, etc.); you might need to run a lot.
2. Natural fabrics are very absorbent materials, but they're also highly insulating as well. When dealing with tear gas, go for a thick scarf that can wrap around your face (preferably wool, because wool can insulate your nose from outside air and slow down the rate at which it permeates the fabric) but only if you're wandering somewhere with tear gas already in the air. If your clothes are soaked in tear gas, TAKE THEM OFF AS SOON AS YOU CAN. No property of any fabric can stop the corrosion that tear gasses cause. Always bring an extra set of clothes with you.
3. I'm expecting fire, so it is of utmost importance that you go for non-flammable materials. Avoid natural fabrics and weaves such as cotton, and instead go for synthetic polymers such as polyester and acrylic. It's not that they won't catch fire, but they take a longer time for the flames to latch on to them which gives you more time to put them out if you catch fire.
4.Comfortable footwear is a must, especially since you don't know how long you'll be on your feet for the day. Switch to flats with flexible materials that aren't too constricting, like Converse All-Stars. Everybody has a pair of Converse. Don't deny it.
5.This one goes out for the ladies in specific. We all know that you can tell what a woman's like by the contents of her purse. Well, this week, Cairo's leading ladies need to be seen as careful and safety conscious. Carry around a pair of gloves, preferably latex (avoid the studs, ladies), a spray bottle with some vinegar in it (to fight off the effects of tear gas), a lot of tissues and towels, spare clothing and some basic first-aid necessities, in case God forbid, you might need them.
That's about it, basically. Remember, however, that before you start thinking about what you're wearing to the protests, take all necessary safety measures discussed here and make sure you stay alert and cautious at all times!