In January, I picked up my camera, put on my go-to black dress (which was probably made in China, although it bears a recognizable designer name) and ran to a luncheon, which promised to be monumental in the long history of conflict between Israeli and Arab record. The group of business men and women would come together in the name of fashion and textiles in an attempt to do business together.
As I scurried into the room feeling like the odd woman out, for obvious and not so obvious reasons, all heads turned and watched as I set up camera to record this magnificent moment.
Although the topic is one of serious concern and it affects the people of my ancestors from Egypt, the room soon filled with laughter as the speaker made a comment. I immediately noticed a woman with a jhabea covering her head, makeup impeccably done and how the men circling her at the table almost protectively.
I continued to scan the room looking for my contact to acknowledge my presence, but no one approached me. So I quickly started to document the moments and hoped that I would not be stopped and questioned.
The goal of this very meeting far exceeds the immediate need of those in the very room. But it crosses oceans with the hope of saving lives. The lives of men, women, children and elders whose whole families and society are being disrupted by a war that they may not fully understand, but many have become victims of.
Egypt's unrest effects their people directly, but the world indirectly.
The Square and it's current state of condition have captured the attention of the world because of the killing, destruction of property and the imprisonment of journalists and locals. We hear of the trials of NGOs, Americans and others.
Although I will not speak of politics, policies and how any government works, I will say that lack of order and the lack of laws being enforced to protect, serve and provide for its citizens is definitely something that should be a concern of all people, whether you're Egyptian or not.
So I will speak on what I know best: fashion and beauty.
The invitation was extended to me because of my wonderfully blessed career in the industry for the past 22 years. It is partly due to the wonderful opportunity I have had to have a platform with the Huffington Post.
Fashion Week is my playground that opens doors to those elite in the industry. It is now that I am reminded of the seriousness of this event I attended several weeks past. The apparel industry controls trillions of dollars globally, and effects the lives of so many, that governments are appealing to heads to provide support.
As I recall that day, two movies came to mind. For one, Shaft. Entertain me as I describe the scene. Samuel L. Jackson and Jeffrey Wright, two brilliant actors, have a full discussion about power and value of clothing. Jeffrey Wright says, "This is 100 percent Egyptian Cotton." Samuel l Jackson responds, "You wouldn't know what Egyptian cotton was even if the Pharaoh gave it to you himself."
The second classic movie for me is The Devil Wears Prada, when Meryl Streep breaks it down to Ann Hathaway about that famous blue/turquoise belt that not only effects the economy of American Society, but that of the world.
So, when 28 Egyptian ready-made apparel companies come to America to present their case to ask support from businesses and investors to come back to Egypt to do business, we do well to listen.
If you want facts and details I suggest you click unto the great article describing in full details, Apparel. The breakdown of how important financially it will be for businesses to support Egypt, and do profitable business with Egypt's manufacturing companies is pretty fantastic.
My comments will be that from a human standpoint, an emotional point, if I may. As a woman of African-Haitian descent, I have always been taught of Egypt's great history in beauty routines and in the fashion.
Also, as a former business owner of a bridal business, the made-to-order component played a major part of my business and sourcing fabric at an affordable price was one of my greatest challenges.
Textiles by the yard can get pretty pricey when you're talking about custom-made dresses and ready-to-wear bridesmaids dresses. So finding an affordable manufacturer for my small business inevitably became my downfall and caused me to shut down my business. The cost to operate, produce while creating revenue proved too difficult.
But for my friends in fashion, Prajjee and Chantell Walters, whom just completed Fashion Week, these agreements may just be the remedy you may be seeking. On the table is the opportunity to manufacturer your garments in the land where beauty and fashion began. Think of Cleopatra and the chance to visit the land of the greats. To rebuild a society of people that is in need of economic partnership and to make history is a priceless opportunity.
Small business may fair better, where quantity of production may not be a demand. It's worth investigating.
Egyptian Export council chair, Mohamed Kassem, is optimistic about the state of affairs of his country and appeals to the room of people to do his part, while reminding us it will help create jobs and stability for the citizens of Egypt. To support the council and find out more about their efforts, visit http://rmg.xposeegypt.net/aboutus.aspx.