In nearly each Egyptian household, there is most definitely a jewelry box that holds personal and sentimental value. From grandmothers, to mothers, and to daughters, each jewelry piece carries the soul and heart of its wearer.
Adhering to social distancing measures, Egyptian jewelry designer, Farah Abdel Hamid, is looking to delve into this personal and intimate experience with jewelry and encourage creativity from home.
The #StayHomeJewelry challenge, which starts today and lasts until Wednesday, invites anyone to share one image around the topic of jewelry and share their own jewelry piece with a personal story. In return, three winners with the best photography get the chance to win a handmade and hand-selected piece of jewelry from Abdel Hamid’s collection.
View this post on Instagram
THE RULES HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED! You have one week to submit only 1 image around the topic of jewelry and tag @fforfarah and #stayhomejewelry for the chance to win a handmade and handselected piece of jewelry from my collection. There will be 3 winners. Head to the highlights for more info. – No internet photos accepted – Any medium: photography, illustration, GD, painting, video etc. – Share the jewelry you love or what it means to you. – Starts today (Sunday) till Wednesday. All images will be reposted and the 3 with the most likes will win! Get creative, stay safe and stay home with your precious families and jewels. Happy making !! – #jewelrychallenge #ilovejewelry #artjewelry #personal #creativechallenge #stayhomechallenge #staystrong #artiststudio #fforfarah #cairo #egypt
“I am looking for different ways to engage with customers, since consumption radically dropped ever since the lockdown,” Abdel Hamid tells Egyptian Streets, “this initiative aims to create a more personal experience with jewelry, and also encourage creativity through photography.”
Abdel Hamid also plans to share five minute educational videos on the history of jewelry, touching on modern and ancient ways of wearing jewelry as well as highlighting the different works of artists over time.
Ever since the outbreak of the coronavirus, all businesses were hit hard as a result of the drop in consumption. “Sales are now extremely slow, and all my exhibitions and interviews have been cancelled. It is becoming really challenging to plan ahead financially and pay for rent,” she notes.
One market that has been finding it particularly difficult to survive is the luxury sector. According to a Vogue Business report, many trade shows, such as Milan Design Week that gave an opportunity for designers to sell, have been postponed for months ahead.
As consumption drops, there is no better time for luxury brands to think of news ways to move the industry forward. In an insightful article by Tim Blanks, he writes that “there’s the challenge in a nutshell for an industry that still elevates “the billion-dollar business” as an ambition,” he notes, “how are they going to feel when “want not” is their target customer’s mood under the enduring influence of Covid-19?”.
“It is no longer a one-man’s show, we are all relying on each other”
For Abdel Hamid, the coronavirus is encouraging more collaboration and multi-brand projects, as well as new ways of experiencing jewelry. “It is no longer a one-man’s show, we are all struggling and we must now rely on each other more than ever. It is encouraging collaboration among brands and multi-brand projects,” she says.
“For example, local FUFA fashion brand is trying to support other local brands by encouraging its audience to share the top ten brands they follow and know, making it a more genuine than just an advertorial experience because it is more about the personal views and tastes of these brands,” Abdel Hamid adds.
According to Daniel Langer, who is a professor of luxury strategy, the expression of luxury will “look very different in the future,” as “closeness to consumers will become much more critical.”
The significance of building a more intimate consumer connection was also revealed in the MBLM’s Brand Intimacy Study 2019, which showed that ‘intimate’ brands in the U.S. have led and outperformed the top brands over the past 10 years.
“I want to challenge the societal and cultural norms of how we understand jewelry”
For Abdel Hamid, jewelry is essentially an artistic experience rather than just a luxury product. “What I am trying to do is really elevate looking at the jewelry and wearing it as an experience and as an art form, rather than as an accessory. So, I want to challenge the societal and cultural norms of how we understand jewelry and our expectations of it,” she told Egyptian Streets.
Earlier in March, she held her unique jewelry exhibition ‘Yes, No, Maybe So’ at the Nook Zamalek, which explored the raw and conceptual side of jewelry and how the body interacts with different wearable objects. “It is about making raw pieces of jewelry that can be felt whenever the hand or body moves, and exploring the connection between jewelry and body.”
It is unclear when the world will come out of the pandemic, but it will be wrong to assume that it would not have major impacts on the fashion and jewelry market. Even for luxury brands, it is a time to stop, reflect and develop more personal connections as humanity prioritizes survival over consumption.