Okhtein's leather bags show two sisters' creative directions.
When it comes to slow fashion and craft production, the first question that arises is: how to stand out in an industry of temporary designs?
Having an open dialogue with consumers about quality, identity, and durability has become a priority, and it’s easier when brands are born with that purpose.
Created by sisters Aya and Mounaz Abdul Raouf in 2014, Okhtein rises with the determination to bring artisan value to the style industry, combining the skills and aesthetics of each of them.
“We would say leather is remarkably important for the authenticity of all our offerings.”
Based in Cairo, the brand reflects the roots, culture, and materials of that place in 1 of 1 leather bags and accessories. That's why one of its customers is the more-than-unique Beyoncé.
For Okhtein, working with leather goes beyond high quality, as all the natural characteristics of each piece are kept. More than guaranteeing an imperfectly unique aesthetic, the brand avoids waste and shows that with the right care, every piece can live forever.
If you want to learn more about a beauty that only improves with time and how these bags full of identity arrived at Forbes under 30, keep reading our exclusive interview with the brand. 👇
Okhtein in one tweet:
Family bonds and love of art.
The founders of OKHTEIN grew up in Cairo, Egypt. Many of the inspirations drawn to curate their pieces are from their home country. One of OKHTEIN’s most iconic motifs is that of the palmette flower, which is inspired by ornaments found in old Cairo. The sisters Aya and Mounaz are also inspired by the busy streets, the colors of the city, and even the warmth of the population.
OKHTEIN designs lean more toward creating statement pieces. Our designs are inspired by nature, icons, social matters, and even our relationships. In each piece we design, we incorporate a narrative. Thus, we believe our designs are differentiated from others by the different narratives each piece tells.
We are slowly working toward being more sustainable. We believe that sustainability may be achieved in a variety of ways, including recycling, using safe chemicals, utilizing resources, and even finding alternative resources.
Sustainability is crucial in the accessory sector since it aids in environmental preservation. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including avoiding the use of rare materials, using eco-friendly materials in products or packaging, and so on.
Also, we aren’t part of fast fashion brands; we create pieces that are dropped twice a year. Many of our pieces are collectibles which allow for them to be kept for long, and other pieces are carried over from previous seasons, our signature pieces that define us.
OKHTEIN has honestly been really blessed over the past years. There are so many turning points, milestones which we value so dearly. Some of which are the moments Beyoncé wore our bags, the Rod Hawk Tally and the Dome Belt bag.
Another turning point was when we started selling internationally. Our brass bags represent these moments since the international market has been growing fond of them. The Vogue Arabia fashion prize is also a turning point worth mentioning, this moment would be represented by our Mahogany and the Palmette Minaudiere bags, which were being showcased at the time.
Philanthropic acts of kindness. We find it very fulfilling to give, help others, and offer opportunities to others. Philanthropy inspires us greatly. It really helps the soul, and that is normally where we dig to draw inspiration from, our souls. We also love visiting museums; we have an appreciation of different cultures and cuisines.
Leather is a material we love to work with. When we first started, we would go to leather factories in person and learn from handymen firsthand. The textures, the colors, the tanning process, and the treatment are parts of the many steps of leather making that we were lucky to learn firsthand.
Studying leather, we learned which type of leather to use for which bag. When we think of a design, we automatically know the type of leather we will be working with. Thus, all in all, we would say leather is remarkably important for the authenticity of all our leather offerings.
Our next move is to expand our market share and product availability.
"One day we will...":
Inspire new generations to be original and dream big.
Design that values its own origins, is made in a sustainable way, and carries a lot of history is the kind of inspiration we are looking for.
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