Almost 50 years ago Azza Fahmy initiated her journey towards being one of the most esteemed jewelry designers in the MEA region. With a profound purpose, Azza Fahmy has taken the role of translating the region’s culture and international art and historic references to the world, through contemporary jewelry design that reflects her unique research approach and craftsmanship preservation.
The history of the brand began when Azza Fahmy (a BA graduate in Interior Design) discovered a German art book about the classical jewellery of Medieval Europe at an Egyptian book fair igniting her passion for jewellery design. While continuing her day job, she became an apprentice in Khan El Khalili, Egypt’s ancient jewellery quarter where she spent her evenings learning with one of the craft’s most respected masters – the first woman to achieve this. This was followed in the mid-1970s by a scholarship from the British Council where she completed her jewellery craft education at the City of London Polytechnic.
Celebrated as Egypt’s first luxury multi-national brand, Azza’s craft has captured the attention of cultural and fashion cognoscenti and has seen her collaborate with designers such as Julien Macdonald, Preen by Thornton Bregrazzi, Matthew Williamson, the British Museum – all of whom she has created collections. Five years ago she independently funded and established the successful ‘Design Studio by Azza Fahmy’ (DSAF), the first design education hub of its kind in the region.
Listed as one of Egypt’s most influential women, Azza Fahmy travels internationally as a cultural ambassador for her country, and her dedication to her craft and exquisitely designed jewellery has won her international recognition that boasts a diverse client list attracting jewellery connoisseurs from around the world including royalty and stage and screen. Azza works in partnership with her daughters Fatma Ghaly, Managing Director and Amina Ghali, Head of Design.
WHAT WOULD MAKE YOUR SOUL SING? WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
Lots of things, a good song, a good book, a beautiful view and scenery, a fruitful discussion, nice company, seeing that you changed someone’s life by benefiting them and teaching them something useful.
A CHILDHOOD STORY THAT ANNOUNCED THE CREATIVE PERSON YOU ARE TODAY
As a child, I didn’t have creative inclinations at all, even at the faculty of art I wasn’t the top student, but finding my passion and my calling in life is what made me succeed and achieve what I have today.
BEST CONTEXT EVER FOR INSPIRATION WAS
Honestly, all my surroundings. I find inspiration in travel, museums, poetry, pottery, fabrics, are, architecture, nature…you name it and I get inspired by it.
THE PROJECT YOU LOVED MOST
Anything related to the word jewellery.
Researching jewellery, reading a book about jewellery, designing a new piece or collection and teaching about jewellery making and design.
THE PROJECT OTHERS LOVED MOST
I feel like the Pharaonic resonated most with our clients because we presented it in a very modern yet wearable manner. People had seen pharaonic jewellery in the same way for a long time, and through my extensive research- which took me 8 years- I was able to present this collection in a whole new way.
THE BEST THING ABOUT EGYPTIAN CREATIVITY IS
It’s evolving as a field. A lot of new emerging designers are working with existing crafts but evolving and designing them in a much more modern way.
BEST STATEMENT OF EGYPTIAN HUMOR
Very humorous people, you can’t keep up with them.
ADVICE FOR INTERNATIONAL HEADHUNTERS, RELATED TO EGYPTIAN CREATIVES
Dig deep in Egypt’s creative industry because you will find hidden gems, look in different areas of Egypt that are known for their rich crafts and heirloom traditions.
BEST PLACE IN CAIRO
Old Cairo, I love it there!
BEST PLACE IN EGYPT
Aswan, for sure!
MOST DISTURBING CLICHÉ ABOUT EGYPT, IN THE MEDIA OUTLETS OF THE WORLD IS
People forget that through the difficult circumstances in the past 100 years, we have a lot of pioneers in different fields that people don’t know of.
EGYPT SHOULD BE KNOWN FOR
A lot of things: crafts, food, tourism for the desert, oasis, the Nile, the Red Sea, and the rich culture in general.
YOUR VIEWS ON SPIRITUALITY
It changed my life, changed my perspective on my uneasy life, and I got to realize that everything happens for a reason and you have to look at the good side of bad things
YOUR VIEWS ON MONEY
It’s not my area of expertise, I prefer working on the creative side. Of course, when it was still a one-woman show, I had to learn the financial and business-related side to grow my business, but fortunately today I have a strong team who take care of this part and keep me updated.
AN INSPIRATION SOURCE YOU RECOMMEND FOR A YOUNG CREATIVE
Their soul and look inside themselves, look at what they love and that’s where they will find inspiration.
AN EGYPT BASED FEMALE TALENT THAT DESERVES TO BE PROMOTED AT INTERNATIONAL LEVEL, AS EXPONENT OF LOCAL CREATIVE SPIRIT
A lot of young creatives are important in Egypt in different fields. I love the two young women, Yara and Rania, who established a brand called Up fuse which upcycles plastic and uses it to make other useful objects like chairs and bags.
We have internationally recognized Egyptian Opera singers like Fatma Said and Farah el Dibany who I am very proud of and who I feel like make it globally. I really can’t list them all.
Consisting of rings, earrings and necklaces enhanced with champagne diamonds and semi-precious stones, the Nubia artistic collection is one of Azza’s latest creation and it reveals her personal connection to this historical city in the south of Egypt. It echoes her successful design approach of translating cultural and historic international references to contemporary jewelry.
You can find all these incredible design available online at www.azzafahmy.com and through all Azza Fahmy retail outlets. Her jewelry is sure to capture the appeal of those seeking individual style and lovers of art!