Hamsa Rabie is building her Sherwal empire, one pair of poofy pants at a time. An Egyptian entrepreneur who grew fed up of uncomfortable clothes for women, she took it upon herself to create clothing that she likes to wear, masterfully incorporating comfort and style in her designs. Her signature is boho-chic, with combinations of geometric figures and tribal patterns that are sure to make you look twice.
Prime Team: Hi, Hamsa, tell us about yourself… Why did you decide to pursue a career in fashion?
Hamsa Rabie: I graduated with a degree in marketing and initially pursued a career in brand retail. Fashion has constantly intrigued me, and it was always a dream of mine to create my own brand. I worked with numerous international brands – Dior, Bebe, Lancôme, Jaeger, and Henri Lloyd, to name a few. I then decided to take a step to make my dream come true, and founded my clothing brand, Sherwal.
PT: What inspired you to start Sherwal, and what does it mean to you?
HR: It all started with the ‘sherwal’ style of pants – that’s the Levant word for loose-fitting pants. I wanted to reflect the bohemian lifestyle in all my designs because that’s what represents me. I design the garments for myself before they’re for anybody else.
PT: Did you face any obstacles when you were starting up and later expanding your franchise?
HR: I faced a few obstacles, one of which was meeting the production minimum. It can be quite a hard thing to accomplish when you’re starting a business in the fashion industry. After that, Sherwal expanded rapidly, thanks to its unique styles and statement colours. There wasn’t any fierce competition because our designs weren’t very mainstream.
PT: What makes Sherwal different from its competitors?
HR: I buy my material from places all around the world – India, Thailand, China and Dubai to name a few. Sherwal offers exclusive designs in minimal quantities; this makes anyone wearing a Sherwal item stand out from the crowd.
PT: Where do you draw inspiration for your collections from?
HR: I get inspired by everything I see around me. I travel a lot which allows me to experience the world. Everywhere I go, I meet different people who familiarize me with different ethnic cultures and costumes. Seeing the world through a fixed window can be a bit limiting but thankfully I get to experience the magnificence of the outside world.
PT: Describe Sherwal in one word.
PT: What has been your best selling item and why do you think that is?
HR: The Sherwal pants, no doubt – the colours and patterns speak for themselves.
PT: What does the future hold for Hamsa and Sherwal?
HR: Well, I believe that everybody is in charge of creating their own destiny and I’m determined to take Sherwal to the international market as a brand that is proudly made in Egypt.
PT: Finally… We’re terribly unfashionable; can you give us any style tips?
HR: Well, comfortable is sexy. Always be comfortable in what you wear.