We’re thrilled to be part of El Gouna Film Festival yet again this year. Last year, actress Sarah Abdelrahman rocked a top made out of upcycled plastic made by Up-fuse in collaboration with designer Esmeralda Radwan. This year, for the third edition of GFF, we collaborated with designer Mohanad Kojak to create a very special statement dress that was worn by GFF’s host, the gorgeous Rosaline Elbay.
El Gouna and the Red Sea setting made GFF the perfect opportunity for the launch of the joint project. The significance of the sea to the Egyptian ecosystem alongside the recent decree made by the Red Sea governorate to ban single-use plastic bags made it such an ideal opportunity for the environmental statement this dress makes.
The process of working with Kojak on the dress has been a very exciting one for us. Getting to experiment with our upcycled plastic material and think of innovative ways to incorporate it into a clothing item was a very creative process. It gave us a lot of insight into the many ways upcycled material can be used. The fusion between our identity at Up-fuse and Kojak’s bold, theatrical designs was another element that got us hyped for the collaboration. It’s also one that, we believe, resulted in a very interesting hybrid that makes a clear statement about the wide range of possibilities for upcycling.
Birds were our inspiration for the all-white dress; bird feathers, to be specific. We wanted to create a design that’s inspired by nature; we imagined the wearer of the dress being given a sense of freedom that’s so empowering yet so graceful like that of a bird gliding through the sky. That’s when we settled on the feather motif that defines the dress’s aesthetic. We used 800 upcycled plastic bags to create this dress and all the feather motifs attached to its silhouette were hand cut by the inspiring female refugee artisans at our partner NGO NilFurat. It’s an honor to have had it worn by the beautiful actress Rosaline Elbay, GFF’s host.
We’re very proud to be part of GFF for the second year in a row. We’re very proud we got to work with a local designer with the experience of Mohanad Kojak. And we’re very proud for getting the opportunity to make the statement: “reuse, repurpose, inspire” ring true in front of millions on the red carpet this year.