Egyptian design duo siblings Aya and Mounaz Abdelraouf launched their brand Okhtein – meaning, appropriately, “sisters” in Arabic – because of their vision to bring true luxury back to their home country as well as drawing international attention to the inherent refinement of Egyptian artisanship,sensing a gap in the market for true luxury accessories produced in Egypt. Launched in 2013, Okhtein seeks to set new trends, promoting Egyptian artistry as well as presenting new designs to the world.
Born and raised in Cairo, Aya and Mounaz’s fascination with fashion began at a young age with Aya studying communication and media arts along with digital arts and design at the American University of Cairo. Her sister Mounaz, studied marketing and art at the same institution. As well as this, Mounaz is a highly skilled painter and has exhibited her work in galleries in Egypt and Paris.
As a brand, Okhtein is remarkable due to its hyperlocal manufacturing process. Each Okhtein product has a unique provenance with deep cultural associations. To manufacture their products, Aya and Mounaz felt compelled to take a philanthropic approach to their work out of a desire to incorporate more handmade embroidery and straw into their leatherwork. This led to a highly mutually rewarding collaboration with several local NGOs that work to provide assistance to skilled female workers who have faced considerable financial hardship.
Okhtein stands apart as a luxury brand that is truly committed to supporting the cultural value of Egyptian craftsmanship and to giving back to those in need while promoting innovative, cutting-edge design on an international scale.