Forget jackets; these embroidered kaftans will give any outfit character.
Egypt’s growing move into globalization means that we’ve adopted westernized looks and trends along with our western ideals. That mini skirt we’re rocking to Marassi’s Endiamo or that crop top we can’t get enough of, is not the natural evolution of our forefathers’ wardrobe. Who knew? YMZ does it differently and is taking it back to basics. The recently opened store at the Ritz Carlton is paying tribute to our Arab heritage by locally manufacturing and showcasing Kaftans with a modern twist.
Initially setting shop in Polo - which is a store in First Mall that imports products from Italy - in 2014, YMZ is the product of Yasmin Zaki, along with her mother Catia Smeraldi and Karim Zaki. Showcasing a range of kaftans inspired by elements of the Arab culture such as the Hand of Fatma, the Eye of Horus and the evil eye, YMZ finds its inpiration within the roots of the Orient. However, the inspiration for Zaki to create the collection started on a trip to her mother's home country, Italy."Polo - which is my mum's store - imports brands from Italy mostly. So from a young age I used to travel with her to fashion shows to pick the items. I used to love helping her pick what would sell better in the Middle East,” says Zaki of how of YMZ came about. “ Then when I got older, I’d go buy fabrics for my own projects. That’s when I realized that we should do something locally with products that we have within the country. So we manufactured a few items and placed them in Polo for a bit and they did well.”
YMZ, which are Zaki's initials, started off with basic items, like t-shirts and pants, that were handcrafted and embroidered. Having originally launched the Kaftan collection as part of a summer line, the founders decided to keep it after the positive feedback they got; with a high demand for the style in the Gulf region.“You can wear it anywhere. Kaftans are so practical. For a night out, you dress it up in heels. On the beach, you throw it over your swimsuit. And you can fit it to your body, whether you want it loose or tight. Anything works," says Zaki of the Kaftan's appeal.
Focusing on the unique aspect of having it all handmade, YMZ caters to kids as well, with mummy and daughter kaftans. The Kaftans spruce up any outfit as they're made with beads, coins, fringes and abundance of colors.