Will this be the new ‘it’ bag?

Here at Emirates Woman, we are always on the look out for new up-and-coming designers and labels from the region. Through our search, we have stumbled upon emerging handbag brand S.A.D.A.F.A, founded by designer Dina El Sheikh three years ago.

The Egyptian label has broken into the market with its unique style. The clutches are made of mother-of-pearl, and resembling styles and traditions that reflect different tribes, countries, and cultures – the perfect accessory to bling up your outfit.

The bag has been on several stars from Amina Khalil to the legendary Yousra. So, we decided to interviewed Dina to know the inspiration behind the brand and its collections.



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When did you launch Sadafa? What was the idea behind starting it?

SADAFA was launched in May 2016, however, we have been working on it since October 2015. The whole idea behind S.A.D.A.F.A was to revive longstanding Egyptian craftsmanship and technique by adding a contemporary twist. It is about taking great pride in our handmade skills, and honouring the fact that Egyptian hands delicately craft every single piece; for this is S.A.D.A.F.A’s philosophy.

S.A.D.A.F.A pays homage to the grandness of the city of Cairo. Our collections are a reflection of how majestic this city is. Just like Cairo, S.A.D.A.F.A has a firm skeleton, but if you focus on the details, you will notice how intricate and delicate they are. Although it may seem very eclectic, every detail synchronises in perfect harmony.

Why did you choose to design handbags, what is unique about your brand?

We always had a passion for design and fashion as well. It was never really a conscious decision to design handbags. We are very fascinated by Islamic architecture, and especially the technique of mother of pearl inlay. We felt that with handbags, it combines both our passions for fashion and architecture. Our handbags are very constructed in terms of form and skeleton, yet very soft and feminine in terms of the use of mother of pearl.


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What is the creative process like? How is the idea for a new collection born?

Our heritage deeply affects our designs. It is all around us. Egypt is truly a walking museum, everything that you see around you is like a diamond in the rough. The obvious answer would be that they are very visual in our designs. Yet we like to also focus on the details to give our clients a glimpse of what our heritage is like. Initially we have concept for the collection, then the inspiration happens, then we let it flow organically, to a great extent there is a lot of trial and error. We constantly like to experiment with design and form. We like to keep our designs very dynamic, yet we constantly look around us for further inspirations; be it from nature, the city, the people …etc

As an up-and-coming brand, what are some of the struggles that you have faced?

We have faced far too many, to even keep count of them. But truly, that’s the beauty of it. We can never really look at them as challenges. With every challenge we have faced, we have always been blessed with a great lesson after it.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

The one off the top of our head now, is participating last March in Fashion Trust Arabia (FTA). We were on top of the moon with that opportunity. FTA did create a chance for regional designers to showcase  their work to the international world and to see the craftsmanship of our region.

Not only that, but we have also met the key players of the fashion world. And we exchanged knowledge. And it was a great opportunity to hear feedback regarding our designs, especially from renowned designers  including Olivier Rousteing, Diane Von Furstenberg, Alexander Wang, Zuhair Murad and many more


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What is one thing that you want people to know about SADAFA?

It is entirely made by hand. In our fast paced world, people are constantly seeking change. And to be able to follow up on that, everything has been created in bulk and mass production. We enjoy the process of putting in your heart and soul while creating a piece. It is almost as if the artisan in transferring all his energy while creating each piece.

While looking at a SADAFA bag, you can really see that each tiny piece of mother of pearl has been perfectly placed next to the other by hand. And those artisans that have created that unique piece, have only inherited that knowhow from their ancestors since hundreds of years ago.

How can people get their hands on one of your bags?

At the moment SADAFA is showcased at some of Cairo’s selected boutiques or available through online purchasing. We are really looking forward to reaching regional and international markets.

What is next for the brand?

The sky is the limit. SADAFA is truly organic like mother of pearl, we really want to see where the tides will take us.

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