It is strange that an engineering student would have one of the leading fashion websites in the Middle East, but that’s the case with Amira Azzouz, a fresh graduate from communication engineering at the German University in Cairo (GUC).
Azzouz, who has always dreamed of owning her own brand or boutique, now promotes up and coming designers as well as established and famous ones like Christian Louboutin on her website ‘Fustany’.“It’s not only a website as many might think,” said Azzouz “it’s a company”.
Azzouz started her project during her last year of university. “I don’t know how I managed to do it,” she said “but I feel that studying engineering made me a hard worker and taught me to organize my thoughts”. However, she doesn’t see herself working in engineering. “I like what I do,” she said “I hope I continue in this field.”
Amid the stress of university studies, Azzouz did almost everything by herself, from writing to contacting the designers and arranging the website. “My writing was a bit technical at first because I wasn’t used to this type of writing, but I got the hang of it after a while.” Now, she has a team of six writers, two freelancers and one editor.
Her first experience in the fashion field was working for an online magazine based in London. Her job was mainly getting contacts. “When I managed to get them the contacts of George Chakra, I knew I wanted to start my own thing,” she said. It took her three months to prepare the website and was very worried about the outcome. Now, Fustany.com is ranked within the top 1.5% visited websites worldwide.
Fustany also managed to reach an international domain. Amira got invited to several fashion weeks around the world but only attended the Dubai Fashion Week last April. “Attending the Dubai Fashion Week was my push. It made me feel that I’m going somewhere with this.”
Since online media is fairly new, Azzouz was afraid that it wouldn’t be trusted as much, but now having gained several clients on an international scale, she feels secure. One month, she had her first photo shoot for Fustany and managed to get sponsored by Fairmont to shoot there. She was also sponsored by L’azurde for the jewelery, Max Factor for the make-up and Sonia Rykiel and 10th Muse sent in some clothes for the models to wear.
“I wanted the photo shoot team to consist of young people, so I hired friends and friends of friends to model and take photos,” she said “all the people involved were people below the age of 25, who are just starting out.”
Azzouz believes there are many good designers in the Middle East that need good PR. Her aim is to advertise for designers, who are starting out and have good potential. When it comes to Egyptian designers, her favourite is Amina K. “I like Amina because she is dedicated to her job and a hard worker,” she said.
Now that Azzouz graduated, Fustany has become her central focus instead of being a side job. Now, she is contemplating new ways to expand. The website is being re-launched with seven new sections such as ‘yours daily’, which will be a daily blog related to fashion. There will be also competitions that give out free giveaways, as well as a section that she wants to keep as a surprise for now.