Everyone smokes in Egypt! Not quite but really close.
Hookahs yes are very popular but so are cigarettes. So if your costume has a faint odor of tobacco smoke, treat it with a vodka spray. Please note that if your costume has sequins do not spray the sequins! Not all sequins are made the same. Some sequins are silver tinted with a colored coating that the color will wash off, fade, or scratch out of existence. If you spray your costume spray the inside not the outside!
Really this is not as big of a problem as some folks have made it out to be. I always change the hooks to either a better quality or a flat skirt hook. Too many times I have had the hooks break, rust out from my sweat, or just flat out give way. Oh yes, quick note: you're supposed to flatten out the hooks when you receive your costume from Egypt so that they have the correct grip. They are open to enable sewing on! Also without your exact sizes they are never put into the right place so some sewers will just put them on knowing you’re going to change them anyway.
Troupe/ Multiple Costume Purchases
It is really hard or next to impossible to get all the costumes to look exactly the same. It is real women who sew these not machines – so yes they are going to vary! If you have to order multiple costumes then do it all at once as it is next to impossible to replicate once the order is done especially if you want that special fabric. So if you see a design that is older and you love it because of the print fabric – well, just don't. I have been to the fabric district in Cairo and, while amazing, searching for the right fabric is a nightmare. I was there for 7 hrs and only saw maybe 1/3 of what is available. You cannot just go on-line and order, you have to paw thru rows of bolts of fabric which is a kaleidoscope of colors and textures.
Now this can be an interesting subject, as there are different levels of quality.
The standards of quality are different between vendors and sewers in Egypt: what they would think was good quality there we might think not so much. Really the standards are completely different in Egypt than anywhere in the world and this can be so confusing and frustrating. It's really a matter of different intended purposes rather than different standards. Many costumes there are made for a one time wear not multiples like we do here.
With so many countries deciding to not accept Egyptian Express Mail Services it has hurt the Egyptian economy even more with some vendors actually going out of business. Days of cheap shipping are gone with the exception of China. So your options are Fedex, Aramex, UPS and DHL. Unless you want to wait as other ways are being explored to get you your lightweight smaller items at a reasonable shipping cost, please be patient with your shipper/designer as they struggle through this impossible situation.
Treat Your Vendor/Supplier Fairly! No Ripping Off a Vendor Because You Get Mad!
This one is a touchy subject because when you buy a product you assume that you are getting exactly what you wanted. The human brain fills in the details we don't bother to ask about and we automatically assume it's our dream costume …then it arrives and it’s not right. So let’s go back to the beginning of "OMG its Perfect!" Now if you followed all the points in Chapter 1 about how to order and it still turns out wrong you may have a base to complain about. On the other hand, if your brain filled in the back of the costume without seeing a picture, take it as a lesson learned! I once ordered a dress while in Egypt and gave a series of pictures of what I wanted the design to look like. Did I get what I ask for - no. Was it my fault, well maybe. It’s called the language barrier. I did not effectively communicate what I wanted so while the dress fit perfect – like a glove – the design was so far off I had to re-bead the dress myself. Did I demand my money back because it was wrong ? No! They did the work for me and I kept the dress. It’s not that they don’t try to replicate what you want but, you have the different seamstresses and their skills and their imagination to deal with. And sometimes designers or sewers will think their design looks better than what you wanted and will make it that way. Was it fair? Yes the work they did was beautiful, just not to my taste and preferences. Was the dress made well? OMG yes! It was perfect except for the design. Did the sewer deserved to be paid for the work she did? Yes, because I kept the dress.
Plus in Egypt they don’t get paid very much or very well and this is how they feed their families.
So remember when dealing with Vendors and suppliers in Egypt – if you get close to what you want in a special order and can fix what is wrong – I would say go ahead and keep it. But if you order red and get green – then cut a deal!
But if you get that vendor who lies, cheats, or steals your money – then by George get them or report them to the Correct Costume Blacklist!
Julianna 2015 Women's Bellydance Center