Aliaa Elesseily, Egypt’s it-girl, just launched her own fashion label "Loushe by Aliaa." If you don’t know Aliaa Elesseily, it’s about time to know more about her. Aliaa's impeccable style and beautiful looks made her one of the coolest women in Cairo. We sat down with her, so she can tell us the whole story behind her first collection, and how she first embarked onto the Egyptian fashion scene.
Can you give us a brief about yourself? And tell us, how did you first get into the fashion world?
My first encounter with fashion was right after graduation; I started working at Leo Burnett, where I met my husband, and he was the one who suggested that I shift from being in the creative department to styling models in advertisements and video clips. I worked in this field for two years, until I decided that I want to learn more.
My studying background was business administration, so I went to London for five months to take several fashion business and styling courses.Then came the revolution, and I was so depressed. So my husband came up with this idea...to take pictures to create a diary of what I wear every day.
Back then, my Instagram account was private, but some followers asked me several times to re-post my pictures on their accounts, which I found weird at the time. I didn’t understand that re-posting would get me more followers. And then, I decided to make my account public. I started getting jobs for personal styling, inside and outside Egypt, but mostly outside Egypt, because the personal styling idea is not very popular here yet.
What is the difference between a stylist and an image consultant?
The difference is not really big. A stylist puts together a nice outfit for a photo-shoot or an event. An image consultant is about everything, usually being responsible for your whole look, how your hair looks, how you dress in general and the type of makeup you wear to create a certain image to the person.
Congratulations on launching LOUSHE by Aliaa! What made you turn from styling to designing?
wanted to design my whole life, but I never really got the chance to learn it properly, plus, I hate sewing. But people around me kept encouraging me to take this step;
they loved my style and taste in fashion. So I thought, why not, I don’t have to be the
sewer, I just need to come up with the idea, and understand about the fabrics
and the textiles.
Share with us all the details about your debut collection. We’re excited to know…
My first collection consists of ready-made denim garments, I didn’t do it from scratch. I bought a selection of denim jackets and shorts, and changed them completely. I painted them, trimmed them, distressed some of them, changed a little in their original designs, and added my own design. I didn’t want to worry about the fit and the finishing, because I really care about the quality of the garments. So I did what I love, I pimped up regular garments so you can wear them every day but with a twist.
I had a little fashion show, where I didn’t get any professional models, I made my friends wear the collection and walk on the runway. It was really special to me to see my friends wearing the clothes I made. The pieces made are unique, which means, if you buy a jacket or a short you’ll be the only one who owns it. So you can feel special while you wear a piece that no one else has like in the world.
Do you have a favorite piece? What’s the ultimate way to style it?
All the pieces are special to me, because as I previously said, I only made one piece of each design, so every piece is special and every piece has a story. But if I have to mention just one, it’s the first jacket I ever made, I kept it, I didn’t sell it. I felt that I should keep it to myself.
Do you have general styling tips for veiled girls?
For veiled women, I’d have to say keep it simple! Don’t wear your headscarf around your neck, then add another scarf around it, and then add necklaces. It’s just too much, you wouldn’t know what’s really going on. I also think that it’s easier now to find suitable hijabi fashion. If you’re adventurous, and would like to try something new, why not wear a skinny jeans and a skirt on top of it, I think it would look great on veiled women. But you have to be very careful how you style it. Don’t wear baggy pants, it has to be skinny, and the skirt has to be short, not too long so you don’t look short. Vests are also cool for veiled women.
Can you share with us the most common style mistakes you notice among women?
I think the most common mistake among women would be not being aware of your body’s proportions. So let’s say a short girl wears jeans and then she adds a very long top over it, this would make her look shorter. Or a short girl wears a pair of blue jeans and then she adds long beige boots, this way she's cutting her legs into two halves, end result? Short-looking legs. So you need to know how to elongate your body. As for tall girls, wearing jeans and a cropped top is also wrong, as this would put all the attention on your legs. You need to be aware of your proportions, to dress in a flattering way to your body.
What’s the one fashion tip you want all women one to live by?
I don’t think I have a specific fashion tip I want all women to live by. Have fun; fashion was made for women to have fun with. I personally wake up every day feeling different, so feeling different makes me choose a different outfit, it's like having a different personality every day. It’s fun, don’t make it burden.
What is your definition of a fashionable woman?
I don’t have a definition for a fashionable woman. Her wardrobe doesn’t have to be so trendy, she just has to know how to flatter her body with the way she dresses, and to know how to style her wardrobe differently every day. That’s called style, not fashion. That’s to me a fashionable woman. So she can be wearing regular jeans with a white t-shirt, but with a nice belt or cool sneakers.
A fashion trend that you hate is…, and why?
There isn’t really a specific trend that I hate, because trends come and go. Every once in a while, trends come back with a different twist, and you might love what you hated back then. So don’t hate trends, you don’t know what you’ll love later on in your life. If there’s one thing that I don’t like, it's leggings. I don’t like how people abuse them, you can’t wear them instead of pants, they’re like tights. How can you wear a short shirt over tights?
Can you tell us about a clothing item that you love, and would want to wear all the time?
I don’t have an item that I would love to wear all the time, I think I’d get bored. Yes, you get obsessed for a while with a piece but then you just get bored of it. When I buy something, I ask myself "Do I like it or do I really love it?" I like to buy things that I will wear and enjoy wearing. And if the trend goes away, I keep it, so I can wear it again when it comes back. I think 80% of my wardrobe are things I really love.
Who are your favorite designers, Arab and international ones?
Who doesn’t love Chanel and Balmain? Of course they have their highs and lows, but these international brands have beautiful designs. I also love Gucci, they’ve been killing it for the past year.
However, now I go for the more contemporary, upcoming designers. You might know some pieces of their collections, but not the whole range. So when you get a piece or two, people won’t know if it went out of season or not, it would be a timeless and unique piece. Some of my favorite designers are, Stella Jean, Suno, House of Holland, Topshop of course - it's my favorite, Alice Mccall, Sass and Bide, and many more!
Photo Credits: Bilo Hussein