Cairopolitan Re-Branding the City
(Please excuse my lack of decent pictures showcasing Cairopolitan's great collection and check out their website for better shots of their products)
As a kitschy souvenir or as a reminder of the details that make this city charming, Cairopolitan hits the nail on the head with its humorous, and often thoughtful, selection of goods.
Although the idea of kitschy souvenirs from Cairo brings up images of glossy papyrus prints of Tutankhamun and pyramid-shaped ashtrays, Cairopolitan offers a contemporary take, summed up its slogan of 'Branding the City'. Among its varied collection, are tameya (falafel)-shaped coin purses, balady bread pencil cases, Cleopatra cigarette case laptop cases, and coasters with the designs of Cairo's iconic balady chairs, among many other interesting repurposing of iconic elements of Egyptian daily life .
Cairopolitan describes itself as a 'design concept store' that is 'driven by the belief that it's not only our pharonic history that embodies the spirit of Egypt, but rather the practical details of our contemporary life in Cairo'. One of its founders, Ahmed Hefnawy, sums up Cairopolitan's main aim as to 'shed light on the Egyptian identity through innovative means' to help Egypt 'acquire its shape and voice again'.
They have a great little shop hidden away in Garden City where you can find all of their inventive designs. For both Cairenes and those visiting, Cairopolitan is a great place for presents for loved ones and reminders of your time in this city, and a place I'd highly recommend to anyone who has fallen or begun to fall in love with the charm of this city.
I've purchased several of their products and can attest to the quality of craftsmanship; and in addition to this, the products themselves are created in close collaboration with local craftsmen that usually make the products in the usual form.
Not to miss also, is the gallery below the shop that often hosts some interesting exhibitions, which often offer affordable prints for you to purchase.