‘Decolonising Beauty Standards’ is the slogan of the Egyptian Modeling Agency.
Iman Eldeeb’s agency is progressively creating new ground for Egypt’s fashion sector by hiring a varied line-up of models, in between the frantic rush of wardrobe changes and photographers preparing for shoots.
Eldeeb established an international career in Milan, where photographers proclaimed her to be “the first Egyptian model they had ever seen.”
She returned to Egypt in 2018 after a seven-year absence and set about shaking up a fashion scene dominated by outmoded clichés.
Modeling has long been dominated in the Arab world’s most populated country by “girls from Eastern Europe, with pale complexions,” according to Eldeeb.
Such “obsolete” standards, according to the 28-year-old, have made it impossible for Egyptian and Arab models to get into the market.
“The appearance and shape of a face, for example, are not limiting factors in beauty. This, I believe, is a beauty misunderstanding “AFP spoke with Eldeeb.
“Hair color, eye color, all of these characteristics were part of a very old idea of beauty, and we’re trying to get away from it as much as possible.”
According to The Fashion Spot, an industry website, “models of color” made up more than 43 percent of those on worldwide catwalks in autumn 2021, making it “the most ethnically diverse season on record.”
Eldeeb said she noticed a new trend of more different features and bodies appearing while traveling the world as a model.
She and her sister Yousra returned to Egypt and formed UNN Model Management, which means “rebirth” in the black Nubian language.
The agency provides a platform for Egypt’s rising stars who lack backing in a cutthroat market.
“The Arab world’s fashion sector is still evolving,” Eldeeb stated.
UNN now manages over 35 contracts with top brands like as Louis Vuitton, Adidas, and Levi’s, making it a market leader in Egypt’s embryonic fashion industry.
Mohsen Othman, popularly known as Lemosen, a freelance photographer who frequently collaborates with UNN, lauded the agency for its “brave” approach.
“We have creative people in Egypt, but we lack the resources, and training is outdated,” he said of the business.
UNN is a force for “decolonising beauty standards” and “deconstructing internalized racism,” according to Sabah Khodir, an Egyptian campaigner against gender-based violence.
“Being more visible in the media, on film, and elsewhere can help save lives. It makes you more human in the eyes of the rest of the world “According to Khodir, the situation for under-represented women is dire.
Adhar Makuac Abiem, a South Sudanese model, has experienced racial slurs for a long time. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.