In honor of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we had an interesting talk with a young aspiring Egyptian designer. Lamia Khattab talked to us about her sportswear brand, empowering women, eliminating violence against women and how her brand can empower women.
Tells us about your collaboration with Egyptian Organization 'Shoft Ta7arosh' to stop street harassment.
A good friend of mine is a member of this organization and he mentioned that they need an expressive outfit for the organization’s members, as they do many events raising awareness of this issue. I was very glad that Sprint activewear came to his mind as a relevant brand that will support the cause. Immediately I started thinking about the design, and worked on providing them with samples that fit both, my brand and their cause, it was approved and I successfully provided them with the outfit.
Why did you consider collaborating with them?
- First of all I’m a firm believer of social responsibility on a personal level, and wanted it to be reflected in my brand. We are still emerging, and it's still a small business, so this was a great way to have a positive impact on society.
- Second, the cause is really critical and it's time to take serious actions, whether socially or legally.
You design sportswear for women. Why did you decide to do that instead of haute couture?
This company exists to make a significant change in 'Egyptian products' concerning quality and positioning among international brands. I have always dreamed of a project that serves several segments, the economy and the society. And so, I managed to operate many factories and employ a substantial number of people, from labor to retailers, to artists. I did not go for haute couture because my goal was too far away from serving a specific segment or encouraging consumption more than production.
The most important reason is that after some market research my partner (Safaa Salem) and I found out that there is a shortage in some sports items in the Egyptian market. So, we decided to provide the market with a competitive Egyptian brand.
How do you think you can help women through your business?
Sprint activewear can help them economically and morally. They can afford sports wear with no compromise in looking great and wearing something really valuable. Our continuous message is to make women physically and emotionally healthy and strong.
As a young female entrepreneur, tell us how women can empower other women?
Women can empower other women in many forms, even if it is through affection, as long as there is positive means and goals. I believe that the best thing a woman can do to empower herself and others is to be her own support system educationally, financially, and emotionally. This should be their main advice to each other, but not in a feminist aggression, I mean men and women together complete the society, but every gender of them should be complete within themselves.
If ever faced with harassment (physical or verbal) how would you react?
I would go for a legal action.
What would you advise women to do if ever faced with harassment?
Go for legal actions and NEVER be ashamed of this.
Briefly give us your thoughts on the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women.
I am against violence on any human being, more importantly I’m against perceiving women as sexual creatures, less valuable or any disrespectful view. Unfortunately, violence does not only come in a physical form, sometimes it is much worse morally. As for my country, I truly wish to see change in the personal status laws in which I honestly believe are unreasonable and unfair.