Monday July 22nd, 2024

Cairo-based Espace Meld Upcycles Vintage Pieces with Nostalgic Reverie

Egyptian founders Rashda Faizy and Nour Zaher have clasped their proverbial hands together to change how you view fashion, through a more sustainable, personalised lens.

Mai El Mokadem

Espace Meld's narrative unfolds within the embrace of an Egyptian grandmother's treasured wardrobe, its heritage intertwined with fabrics borrowed (or perhaps pilfered) from mothers and sisters. This Cairo-based haven for reinvention and appreciation offers services including ‘Ready-to-Wear’, ‘Bespoke Services’, ‘Drop-off Services’, and ‘Vintage Drops’. What began as casual experimentation among friends has blossomed into a fully-established brand, nestled in the heart of Downtown Cairo and amidst Instagram pages.

“Growing up in a household with four girls, each with different styles and sizes, provided me with a lot of material to work and play around with,” Faizy starts to explain. “I would always take my mother's, sisters', and most importantly my grandmothers' old vintage pieces, utilising the fabrics as the starting point—and then completely transforming them. There's a beauty in taking something outdated or previously owned and giving it a new lease on life,” Zaher adds.

The process begins with the mission of providing truly individualised fashion experiences. “Through techniques like deconstruction, reconstruction, and embellishment, we breathe new life into these items while preserving their unique character,” Faizy reveals. In addition to their ready-to-wear collections and the process of upcycling old clothes, Faizy also emphasises a favourite concept of theirs: their collaborative ‘Bespoke Services’. “Our Bespoke Services are where the magic truly happens. We guide clients through the entire process, from sketching designs to selecting the finest fabrics, ensuring each piece is special and personalised.”

For Zaher, a standout service offered by Espace Meld is their carefully curated selection of ‘Vintage Drops’, featuring timeless garments, accessories, and statement pieces. However, this isn't a task accomplished overnight - it's a collaborative effort involving the entire team. “Our team searches far and wide to find garments that resonate with our brand ethos and cater to the diverse tastes of our customers.” Through their ‘Drop Off Service’ for resale, customers can part ways with pre-loved items, providing them with a new home while receiving a percentage of the proceeds.

For Faizy and Zaher, it’s all about meaning and storytelling. “It's incredibly satisfying to personalise and reimagine something that was once part of someone else's style or no longer in fashion,” Zaher tells Scene Styled. “Each upcycled piece carries its own story, blending elements of nostalgia with modern innovation. We want our customers to feel connected to the garments they wear, knowing that they've contributed to a sustainable and meaningful fashion movement.”

While Espace Meld is known for its love of occasion wear, couture, and vintage dresses, their repertoire extends beyond that. In addition to reconstructed fashion and deadstock fabrics, they also specialise in repurposed homeware. Furthermore, they have ambitious plans for the future, aiming to repurpose furniture and create one-of-a-kind furnishings that complement their unique fashion aesthetic.

The fast fashion cycle is not just a concern for the world, but for the founders especially. “It perpetuates a cycle of overconsumption and disposal, leading to environmental degradation and social inequality,” Zaher explains. “We believe in promoting a longer fashion cycle by offering timeless, sustainable alternatives to fast fashion, with pieces that defy trends and withstand the test of time.” In Faizy’s eyes, their ideology is that by encouraging consumers to invest in quality craftsmanship and individual expression, they can “shift the narrative away from disposable fashion,” Faizy continues.

Whilst the founders’ ethos is slow-fashion centric, Zaher unveils another aim of theirs, “We hope to educate and raise awareness within our community. We’re focused on taking part in various initiatives, including workshops, educational events, and social media campaigns that highlight the environmental impact of fast fashion and promote sustainable alternatives.”

In addition to the forthcoming project of repurposing furniture, Espace Meld is also unveiling a new ready-to-wear (RTW) line with a focus on a hipper, more casual aesthetic, while also being more budget-friendly. “What sets this line apart is that it's crafted from scraps and leftover fabrics from our previous collections,” Faizy teases about the upcoming collection. To provide customers with the complete brand experience, they have opened their Downtown Cairo showroom for an immersive sartorial experience.