Fashion is a far-flung foreign amenity in the city of East Cairo. “Here and in the Middle East in general, where we face economic and political problems, fashion is strictly defined as clothes to be worn,” says the upstart designer and East Cairo local Dana Frid. “Creating a fashion brand and setting trends without boundaries are two things that are not easily reached.” Frid is an outlier. She discovered the world of fashion at age 17 when she “accidentally” happened upon the wide world of Tumblr. She started following fashion blogs and artists, learned design tricks online, and was, she says, “fascinated by everything since I had never seen anything like this in my entire life.” While her exposure to style came late, she did grow up surrounded by creative energy. Her mother is a painter and sketch artist on the side and a philosophy professor full-time. “She always worried about my future,” Frid notes. “She really wanted me to be in a creative field, but she emphasized that I should have a plan B if it didn’t work out.”
Lately, it seems as if that plan B may never have to come into play. For the last year, Frid has been designing tees, hoodies, and pants decorated with her original flora and fauna artwork and wordplay with luxury labels. Where some tees are simply stitched with “Dior” or “Versace,” others come with hilariously brash slogans like “Keep the Snakes Away Unless They Gucci,” and “Bitches Want Chanel.” In a world where Vetements-esque brand play is king and Instagram sensations like Ava Nirui (AvaNope) are taking over our feeds with logo mash-ups, Frid has hit the nail on the head with her designs. Currently, she’s only selling through orders placed via email, but the soon-to-be-university graduate, majoring in business and political science, aims to be on her way to fashion school soon. She’s moving to Paris after her studies in Egypt are complete.
“My friends and family—besides my mom—always tell me that fashion should be a hobby or something to do with my free time,” Frid explains. “They always say that there’s no future for such an occupation in Egypt and advise me to be more realistic. Having no support was tough, but on the bright side it made me work even harder to prove myself.” Frid has over 17,000 followers on Instagram and says that she’s been selling a steady amount of clothes during the last two months. Once she gets to Paris, she plans on expanding the brand beyond tees and hoodies, specifically with trousers. “I listen to a lot of R & B and rap songs,” Frid says. “Their lyrics always mention luxury brand names and that’s what initially inspired the slogans.” She adds: “However, I am now working on something different, collecting different types of art and creating heavier motifs. I’ve been looking to tarot cards, cherubs, and Ottoman and Persian art.”
Frid loves Rick Owens, Riccardo Tisci, Helmut Lang, and Rihanna. She is by all accounts a woke cool girl obsessed with fashion. For her right now, that world is pretty much contained to the online realm. In the everyday, she struggles to explain that place to her confidants and neighbors. But thanks to her designs and determination, she’s got a bright future. “Fashion requires a high taste level,” Frid says. “It requires bold ideas and the ability to leave everything behind to focus solely on creating, on designing.”
Above, take a look at Dana Frid’s made-in-Egypt collection. Would you “Die for Dior” too?
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