The name Heba Elawadi has become rather familiar to the younger generation of high Egyptian society. The 21-year-old brushes shoulders with the likes of Paris Hilton and Naomi Campbell and flies around the world in her good friend Quincy Jones’ private jet. No wonder she’s always smiling!It’s hard not to notice the petite curvy party girl, whether she is going through a fun blonde phase or decides to go for the more serious brunette look.The young fashion designer got even more attention earlier this summer when she launched her first high-end collection with her label Hebz, featuring sultry Morocco- influenced garments. Daily News Egypt caught up with the lively designer who is currently preparing for the launch of her Fall/Winter 2008 collection.
Daily News Egypt: How did your interest in fashion start?Elawadi: My relationship with fashion is very strong. It started a long time ago, and when I was 10 years old I knew fashion was what I would do career-wise. I held on to that dream till I pursued my career after graduating from university to become a fashion designer and started my own label ‘Hebz’. In between I started to design and style for music videos, actresses and was even the stylist for a movie.
Where and what did you study?I studied Fashion Design and Marketing in London at the American InterContinental University.
Rumor has it you sell your collection at Harrods. Is that true? If yes, how did you manage that?My designs are not at Harrods at the moment but possibly in the near future. I did get offered by Mohamed Al Fayed himself to display my collections at Harrods though. It’s not a race for me, it’s a marathon. When I feel I’m ready to make such a move to take my collection to one of the largest department stores in the world and compete with the fashion world, I will.
How many collections have you had so far?My first collection was Spring/Summer 2008 for the higher end line. Then I introduced my beachwear collection which was also for Spring/Summer 2008.
How do you describe your style?Very hip, fresh, flowy, contemporary and comfortable.
What kind of fabrics do you use?I use different types of fabrics for the different lines. For my main line I use luxurious, lavish fabrics like silk and chiffon, and my beachwear is a mix of fabrics from cotton to chiffon.
Where are your designs manufactured and finished?I have my own factory so I manufacture my line in-house, but my swimwear collection for Spring/Summer 2009 is manufactured and finished in Brazil.
We interviewed your sister Hana for her jewelry designs a few months back, do both your designs complement each other?We do actually. Her designs are quite hip and fresh as well. Her pieces on my pieces do look great! We are also working on a project together at the moment.
What kind of international exposure have you had?I had my first fashion show in London at Wimbledon Fashion Week which was a success and had Quincy Jones and Beverley Knight attending. I had a photo shoot with Maryam D’Abo. I had another fashion show right after with Nokia in Morocco, so my brand is being internationally exposed.
How do you think your line competes in the global fashion world?Fashion is very, very competitive. My brand’s positioning is competing with international brands and that’s what I am building up and aiming for.
What is your personal opinion on the local fashion scene?People have become very fashion conscious in Egypt. I think this influence was heavily introduced and initiated by the Lebanese through music videos. It was quite a mess at the beginning, though. Suddenly people wanted to dress a different way and show a lot of skin. Then it was all about the brands and logos. Now people have become aware of the brands and have become aware of the trends. I see that Egypt has and is becoming very fashionable.
Is your fashion career your main aspiration?Yes it is, but I see fashion more than just clothes. I see fashion as a lifestyle so that is where I would like to take my brand to – a lifestyle.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 10 years?My goal is to have established my brand worldwide and to have had my fashion line expanded into more than clothes, that is, to get into swimwear, lingerie, perfumes, accessories and perhaps even home accessories and furniture. As I said I see fashion as a lifestyle not just clothing, so that is what I am aiming for.
Hebz is available in Cairo at Loolies Boutique and Hip at Elements. The collection is also available during the summer in Hip at Dunes Mall across from Hacienda resort on the North Coast. You can also purchase Hebz in several online boutiques: www.hebz.com, http://www.labhboutique.t83.net and http://www.fashionspace.com/shops/labhboutique