Even when she was at school, Sara Saad was bothered by the fact that fast fashion shoppers all look the same. As a counterpoint to mass consumption (limited drops) and the opportunity to dress sustainably and individually (creative upcycling pieces), Sara, who has a master’s degree in entrepreneurship from Imperial College London, founded her label Zakeia in 2021. She gave up her job as a consultant and moved back to Cairo from London.
Every Saturday at 12 noon (Cairo time) some new (limited) products go live in the Zakeia online shop. A fixed date that is awaited with great anticipation and curiosity by the ever-growing circle of customers. Which pieces do you think will be dropped this time?
Sara Saad, who named her company after her deceased grandmother, attaches great importance to sustainability. To be more precise: Sustainability is the basis of her actions, her company: She calls her production method ethical. For the environment, consumers and workers.
All parts are handmade in Cairo. Designed in her own studio. Produced in her own production facility, which employs four people and is paid fairly. This is rather an exception in the textile industry in Egypt. Because in Egypt, most workers are paid by the number of pieces. The more they produce, the better the pay. This is the result of a fast fashion mentality creating an industry focused on quantity over quality. Here Sara sets a counterpoint with her business. In Egypt. To show that there is another way.
Minimum wage is not synonymous with a living wage. That’s why we make sure our workers are paid a living wage that reflects the value of their craft. By changing their fast fashion mindset, we help them develop new skills and build sustainable careers.
Workshops are therefore held during working hours, where employees can improve their skills and learn how to work with sensitive fabrics.
Producing in-house ensures flexibility in terms of alterations and size, and ensures that Zakeia never has unsellable stock. The limited editions also contribute to this. When a product is sold out, it is sold out. On average there are three pieces per design and a variety of unique pieces. Some parts are re-laid with a different material. Like the Mika dress. This design was repeated in ten different fabric designs and was also available in a long-sleeved version for winter.
Sara´s claim? Available for a limited time. Yours for a lifetime.
Sara’s textile resources are limited because deadstock materials are finite. That’s why the material determines the design at Zakeia. The fabric serves as a source of inspiration. Sara often buys fabrics she likes without having a specific design in mind. That only comes in the second step. The result? Vintage-inspired pieces with a modern, feminine twist. Made to last.
Sara works with luxurious couture fabrics from Paris for her blouses, dresses, tops, trousers and skirts. What’s left over from the big houses goes to Sara via suppliers. “Every now and then the supplier has forgotten to remove a label, and we see a beautiful fabric from Valentino, for example,” reveals the young founder, who has one thing in mind with her limited collections: combining style with sustainability.
Buttons, hems and satin are either vintage or also upcycled. Small leftovers that accumulate in the course of the production process are processed into scrunchies. The tiniest leftovers are donated to local organizations and institutions that, for example, use the scraps of fabric to fill cushions.
Good to know:
Zakeia is among the sustainable fashion brands representing Egypt at COP27 2022. In the same year, Sara was voted one of the Top 50 Women Egypt for her work as a sustainable designer. In 2023, her label will be part of the DEDI Green Gate Initiative, in which 24 selected green fashion entrepreneurs, scientists and innovators from Denmark and Egypt will exchange ideas and inspire each other for a year.
For everyone who wants to try Zakeia pieces for the first time: Selected statement pieces are now available for rental on the WeDress Collective rental platform.
More informations about Zakeia. Click here >>>