Dubai: It was roughly eight years ago when I first met Nada Marzouk. We were young students in the cold city of Toronto Canada. Almost a decade later, I arrive to her stand at Fashion Forward in Dubai to see her putting the final touches on her Authentique collection at the bi-annual style event. I had been watching Nada closely since she started her company in 2017. From her launch of her website right out of her masters degree to fashion show after fashion show.
Nada isn’t a designer herself, she just loves tech and she loves loves loves fashion. Combining both seemed like a great idea. By launching her own brand she gets to choose designers, curate the collection, but still focus on her tech passion.
Authentique.co is basically a fashion retailer that focuses on homegrown Canadian and Egyptian designers. Nada is a Canadian with Egyptian roots. There’s a lot of combos happening in this scenario, I know. She integrates fashion and technology to provide customers with a strong online shopping experience. Her unique selling point is the website’s virtual fitting room.
The most important aspect to Nada though, is collaborating with women. She brings female designers on board and gives them a platform. Exposing her Canadian audience to unique Egyptian pieces, as well as showing Egypt what Canada has to offer. You don’t have to be either to enjoy the pieces, she ships virtually anywhere. Last season, Authentique hit the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week, one of Canada’s biggest fashion events, with its debut collection. I watched the events unfold live on Instagram.
When she came to Fashion Forward, Nada brought along over a dozen Egyptian female designers in the form of apparel, accessories, and footwear. With such an immense talent pool in both Canada and Egypt, Marzouk saw the opportunity and need, to bridge the gap between both cultures. Authentique showcased 11 female designers including Farah Wagdy, Solyma, Maya Eco, RAMLA, SADAFA, The Bag By Sara, Indira, Benalya, DNA, B.E and Farah Omar.
The thing about start ups is that, sometimes things can move at warp speed and at a glacial pace at the same time. So frustrating moments are definitely present. But at the end it’s all worth it. “If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you really should keep going. The process isn’t easy, sometimes you just have to keep pushing against the grain.
Prepare yourself for change, and spontaneity,” Nada told Gulf News.
The thing about start ups, especially when run by millennials, is that the social responsibility isn’t something they do for a “good reputation.” Millennials love to lend a helping hand. It’s just how we are. Nada’s version of ‘corporate social responsibility’ is that she’s involved with numerous orphanages and girls’ programs. She teaches a recurring educational Fashion workshop in Egypt, intended to help girls develop both their skills and confidence.
This week Authentique is heading to Bahrain to take part in the Fall/Winter edition of the Cactus District, a fashion event hosting high end local and regional brands.