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Rawi Magazine 2021 : 7000 Years of Egyptian Fashion

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This year’s cover. Image source:

       The bilingual (English and Arabic) magazine on Egyptian history and heritage based in Cairo was launched offering a wide variety of articles covering various aspects of Egyptian history and heritage. Nowadays, it follows a more thematic approach, and every year an encyclopedic volume is produced for the selected topic. The wonderful and elegantly photographed articles of the publication are a contribution by experts in every field and aim to ignite the readers’ passion for history, archeology, architecture and art in Egypt and worldwide. Rawi is the Arabic word for the Egyptian storyteller, the craftsman who earns a living from the country’s oral history. As the Rawi began to tell a story, people gathered to listen. Were it not for the role of Rawi the narrator, many legends and myths would have been long forgotten.

       The eleventh issue of Rawi: Egypt’s Heritage Review is dedicated to Egypt’s vast fashion heritage. Thousands of years of tradition regarding clothing and its trends are unfolding in the pages of the publication, covering a significant gap in the recording of the history of fashion in Egypt. The complete reference to the Egyptian wardrobe through the centuries is a volume of 200 pages and contains the costumes of the Egyptians from the Old Kingdom, the New Kingdom, the Ptolemaic period, the Greco-Roman period, the Byzantine period, the Caliphate of the Fatimids, the Ottoman rule to modern-day Egypt.

       Every transition from one period to another in the history of Egypt brings about a change of faith, identity and visual culture, a fact that completely changes the understanding of the Egyptian character. Rawi’s editor-in-chief wanted to record this exciting journey. In order to create the volume, he has collaborated with numerous institutions and museums around the world, including the George Washington Textile Museum and the Cairo Museum of Islamic Art. As part of the magazine’s research, realistic 3D renderings of historical costumes were also developed.

       This edition is only the first phase of the “Egyptian Costume History Project”, carried out in collaboration with the Creative Economies Program of the DROSOS Foundation, which will include exhibits, workshops, lectures and various interactive activities. This is an excellent and original initiative to record and perform the huge history of Egyptian fashion. The costumes give the opportunity to observe the fascinating course of Egyptian culture and to discover aspects of it that were left in the dark. At the same time, it is an ideal means of promoting Egyptian culture, not only to the people living within the country, but also internationally. Rawi magazine skillfully utilizes the love of the general public for fashion and, through it, unravels the thread of Egypt’s history, thus offering an alternative look at the country’s vast contribution to the course of humanity.

Basiliki Tsalkidou


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