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Manoya: Story of 3 friends delve into world of women’s bag design

Manoya: Story of 3 friends delve into world of women’s bag design

model wearing a Manoya designed bag

It is often believed that a woman’s bag is where all of her biggest secrets hide. While the pockets may harbour daily gadgets, the very bottom is the exact location of honest mirrors and trusted beauty products. Furthermore, it is also where her notes often go to rest.

As many magazines have already posted one article after another about what can be found in the bags of celebrities, women still walk around carrying their own versions of essentials.

model wearing a Manoya designed bag

Aside from its components, the grand title of the season’s IT bag has been juggled back and forth between the world’s biggest high-end households for decades. Nevertheless, local alternatives have been making noticeable progress toward taking hold of that hall of fame.

Ever since their days in school, the three best friends have made it a habit to exchange ideas, jokes, and accessories. Between the group’s first designer bag – which they all naturally shared – to their business break through May Aly, Noha Aly, and Yasmine Abo Youssef are true partners in crime, fashion, and business.

It was an ordinary day in 2014, when the three sat together and designed a bag. Their collective interpretation of what makes a good bag design soon caught the attention of their peers and family. It was not long until the three decided to give their creative whim an official definition. 

“The attention and encouragement we received from our community encouraged us to establish our namesake line Manoya,” Noha Aly explained, adding, “When we sat together to decide upon our brand name, we agreed to use a combination of letters taken from our names, so we came up with Manoya.”

Rather than taking a premature leap into the business, the three partners chose to study their next moves and become acquainted with the world of bags before proceeding.

“We worked really hard to learn about leather manufacturing, quality, and design. We learnt how to overcome logistical and financial obstacles ahead of launching our first collection,” said Noha Aly nostalgically.

The first collection of polished leather, sleek forms, and an evident balance between tradition and futurism came out in 2017. Their well-prepared entry into the fashion scene, guaranteed a fast sprint to the top.

model wearing a Manoya designed bag

Manoya’s minimal sophistication and geometrical aesthetics were positively welcomed by a wide spectrum of loyal clients. Aside from the design side, Manoya’s bags have also managed to occupy a prominent positioning due to their sustainable quality and promise of long-term durability.

“All of our bags are made from 100% genuine leather. We select the best Egyptian tannery partners, whose exports of leather are renowned for their calibre,” Noha Aly stressed, adding, “We use nickel or gold-plated brass hardware in a lot of our designs.”

This commitment to deliver a special and valuable product is also reflected in Manoya’s strive to combine international fashion trends and Middle Eastern heritage. With that in mind, the three design musketeers borrow elements from all aspects of their surrounding culture and art scene.

For example, their personal admiration of geometric designs and intricate patterns, is vividly reflected in their signature designs. Simultaneously, the three designers also find certain geometrical shapes – such as the hexagon – quite versatile to be instilled in their identity.

“Each of us individually comes up with an idea and when we all agree on an idea that we want turn into reality we all have to sit together, brainstorm, and then create an initial draft of it,” Noha Aly added, further explaining, “The three of us work together to add or remove elements from the design so the idea does not belong to only one of us; instead, it belongs to the three of us.”

According to the partners, their mission is to build a durable-handbag brand that Egyptian women would be proud to wear. Meanwhile, they also want to compete with high end designers worldwide and expand Manoya so that it can be well known internationally.

model wearing a Manoya designed bag

“At some point we want people to look forward to every design and every new collection. We want our clients to realise that Egypt can design and produce pieces that confidently stand tête-à-tête with international leather goods,” shared Noha Aly.

More evidently, Manoya was recently selected to be one of the finalists competing in the 13th annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards in New York. Being the only Egyptian brand selected for this award, the three partners are more encouraged than ever to gear up to their upcoming collection.

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