//Skip to content
Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

5 Brands that Are Keeping Egypt’s Artisanal Crafts Alive

March 29, 2023
Women in Akhmim. Source: Daily News Egypt

Craftsmanship in Egypt is a long-held legacy passed on from generation to generation. The country’s time-honoured artisanal practices, which include embroidery and pottery among their staples, weave a rich narrative of Egypt’s heritage. Each region in the country boasts a technique unique to it.

Over the past years, however, the industry has been under threat. With products being manufactured in higher numbers, at higher speeds, in response to higher demands, craftsmanship has, increasingly and over the years, fallen by the wayside. The race for churning out goods at unprecedented speed is resulting in the serious endangerment of traditional techniques that are part and parcel of a country’s heritage and history.

These changes bred the birth of a new movement of social enterprises and brands that have been trying to keep artisanal trades from dying out. Here are a few brands that are actively keeping some of these crafts alive through a concerted effort of granting access and visibility to local artisans, and celebrating their craft.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Baddara (@baddara_eg)

Textile practices have long been a staple in the country, finding their roots in ancient Egypt. Egypt’s heritage of craftsmanship is a cultural tapestry of designs inspired by nature, and life that are recreated through embroidery and weaving, among other techniques.

Baddara works with women in rural Egypt to design artisanal goods made of waste that stems from wicker, half plants, palm residue and banana leaves. Founded in 2017, the brand provides marginalised women with a sustainable income and an opportunity to continue mastering their craft. It was started with the intention of revitalising the craft of rural embroidery.

Working with over 380 women from across different areas in the country, the brand has partnered with several entities including the National Council for Women and Industrial Modernisation Centre, throughout its journey.

Baddara’s products range from bags to home decor, and it offers worldwide shipping.

Thaat & PAZ


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by PAZ.CAIRO (@paz.cairo)

Thaat is a social enterprise that provides training for artisans to modernise their craft, while PAZ Cairo, its sister company, is a brand that celebrates craftsmanship and cording embroidery by designing intricate kaftans inspired by mamluk era techniques. A portion of the kaftans produced by PAZ are made by artisans, and women working with Thaat.

Thaat, which also works with artisans, looks to promote the work of local craftsmen and craftswomen while ensuring the payment of fair wages.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Kiliim (@kiliim_)

While the crafting of kilim rugs can first be traced back to Turkey, it does have roots in the tradition of Egyptian tapestry. In Egypt, the technique for weaving kilim found popularity in a little village dubbed Fowwa on the Nile Delta’s western bank. Fowwa is a village that once saw bustling workshops producing handmade kilim rugs. As tourism waned, and mass production continued to take over, the village saw a decrease in the number of its workshops, going from 2,000 to 200 in 2016.

Kiliim is the social enterprise that is reviving the trade by bridging the gap between the conventional and the modern. It does so by working with artisans — supplying them a fair wage — to keep a staple of Egyptian craftsmanship alive by bringing it into the 21st century and infusing it with a modern twist. Kiliim also aims to spotlight the village that has long practised the technique.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by FUFA (@shopfufa)

FUFA is an Egyptian clothing brand, designing a range of items from swimwear to dresses, that embodies the bohemian spirit. It has a holistic approach in that its pieces, which are inspired by different destinations around the country, are made from sustainable sources. The manufacturing is also done by craftswomen that are skilled in dying techniques like looming and weaving. Part of the team they work with is women and girls that use machine sewing, and traditional practices to make hand-embroidered pieces.

Fair Trade Egypt

A member of the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO), Fair Trade Egypt is a social enterprise that was founded in 1998. Carrying a range of ethically handmade home accessories and decor, it provides sustainable income to artisans by granting them exposure and development services. 90 percent of the artisans they work with are women that are skilled in a number of artisanal crafts that are cornerstones of Egypt’s heritage. These include weaving, embroidery, cross-stitching, and looming, among others.

Comments (2)