She is a dancing queen, moving languidly under the silver hues of disco balls while her fringes embark on their own rendition of the same song. Her appreciation of a raw and natural lifestyle is elaborately reflected on the details of her wardrobe and long locks of her hair.
While her mornings are often spent amid tools, leather samples, and shreds of suede, her nights are invested in dreams of music, movement, and art. Ahd El-Saady is a dancer at heart and footwear designer in reality. The young artist is a firm advocate of comfort, who found herself interpreting her thoughts on contemporary aesthetic through footwear design.
“I am extremely natural and practical. I wanted to create an everyday choice for the young, fresh, and those who want raw options,” El-Saady said. “High heels are not like my personality—I am very practical and carefree. I always prefer a fresh and easygoing aesthetic rather than having to put up with painful shoes.”
With a childhood spent observing shoes and swaying to all flirtatious melodies, it was not long before she found herself drawn to design-related courses at school. Accordingly, it was not surprising for one project to lead her to a career in fashion after establishing her own brand—DOU By Misura.
“Starting as early as my school days, I have always been obsessed with footwear. I took a specialised course, which required me to create a pair of shoes as a final project. The end result inspired me to apply for a one-year course in footwear design in Melbourne before deciding to start my own brand,” said El-Saady with a shy giggle.
Much like her designs, the designer is always shuffling her feet according to the music while her honest grin is rarely absent. Starting in the summer of 2017, the footwear enthusiast launched her debut collection in collaboration with Misura. “My brand is not about mass production, it is all made by hand. Misura’s factories are amazing and their attention to details is impeccable,” explained El-Saady.
Misura is an Egyptian footwear brand that is specialised in personalised, made- to-measure high heels. As a brand that only manufactures an average of 12 pairs per style, the DOU and Misura relationship is best described as a solid partnership. Accordingly, the designer plans to work on all of her future collections with Misura as a production arm.
The first collection set the tone for a personal and playful brand. As for the new summer 2018 collection, once again the designs addressed a young and driven femme fatale, while the wide range of colours varied between natural shades of brown and beige as well as catchy orange and silver. The collection is currently available at the Pop-up Shop in Downtown Katameya, Boutique 17 Egypt, Rax, and Misura.
According to El-Saady, footwear is the hardest piece of accessory to create: “if you can create a pair of shoes, you can create anything,” claimed the designer. Based on her experience, footwear is extremely intricate, as it highly depends on the accuracy of size and fit as well as the need for utmost comfort. El-Saady described her struggle to balance her drive to reach the most fashion-forward design without forsaking comfort as her biggest constant challenge. “This equation is often not easy to formulate,” stated the designer.
In response, DOU started the current season with a middle point between summer trends, comfort, and aiming to stand out amid the crowds. The brand’s second collection features a wide range of colourful flats—between mules, open-toe ballerinas, and slippers, El-Saady has certainly managed to create an everyday option for a large audience of trendy women.
“It takes me hours and hours of research and design before I have to go through samples. It once took me an entire day working on just one pair. I always start with a design which I am deeply in love with and ready to fight for. Then I start analysing the manufacturing problems and bringing it to reality,” said El-Saady, while admiringly observing a pair of her favourite design.
Surprised by her own sudden and fast-tracked success, the designer is beyond motivated to pursue her passion further by already putting together ideas for future collections and concepts.