Alumna Jayda Hany Uses Architecture to Make Fashionable Connections

Jayda Hany with her new collection, "RIV-IT!"
Jayda Hany with her new collection, "RIV-IT!"

Where traditional industry and modern technology meet art and high fashion, that’s where you’ll find  Jayda Hany '12.

After graduating from AUC with a bachelor's in architecture, Hany enrolled in the London College of Fashion for footwear design before moving quickly to the master's level to study advanced technical design. Lately, she’s been dominating headlines for her innovative footwear.

The fashion maven’s goal is to bridge the divide between wearer and shoe. Her collection, Connector, features transparent, red and white heels with visible screws and metal rods that highlight the way the shoe was assembled while offering an envelope-pushing design worthy of a Lady Gaga red carpet outfit.

Hany spoke with News@AUC after the launch of her newest, Cairo-inspired collection, RIV-IT!

"RIV-IT!" shoes on display.What inspired your new collection?

The collection is inspired by the urban fabric of Cairo, specifically the structural urban fabric of Cairo, and to be even more specific, I narrowed it down to the Imbaba bridge because it's full of structural details. I took out the rivet detail, which is a permanent fastener, and I used it on my shoes to reflect all the characteristics, all the qualities of the modern female, especially the ones who live in Cairo. Because it's more of a lifestyle. It's not just a piece of garment or a piece of accessory; it reflects a lifestyle.

Do you see this as your goal with fashion in general? To represent the woman rather than just to add to her style?

The RIV-IT! collection is my first step to create a platform for modern women to express their individuality. I believe that individuality is a more sophisticated form of style that should be celebrated on a daily basis, and this is my job as a designer to ensure that kind of celebration.

Who is your target consumer for your shoes collections and does it change? For example, were you marketing to different people with "Connector" than with RIV-IT!? 

My market consumer changes according to my collections. For instance, Connector, being extremely experimental yet highly wearable, was targeting performers and conceptualists. It is a bespoke or made to order collection. Whereas, RIV-IT! targets the everyday consumer, yet still has the same design language of Connector, only in a far more commercial manner.

With a background in architecture and an interest in fashion, you're definitely a poster child for melding fields. How do you think AUC supported or fostered interdisciplinary approaches like yours? How would you encourage young fashion designers or architects at AUC to push the boundaries? 

I still resort to the architecture department for research until this day. I work closely sometimes with some of my former professors, such as Professor Sherif Safar who helped me through my research for my master's collection, Connector.

It’s a very personal process to realize who you are as a designer, so my advice is always to be true to oneself and trust your instincts regarding design concepts or technicalities

"RIV-IT!" shoes on display.Your shoes have been described as "futuristic" but you lived in two cities -- Cairo and London -- where the architecture is largely historic. Are you ever inspired by more traditional design in Cairo or elsewhere? 

My shoes have been labeled futuristic because I manage to take the essence of each traditional structural inspiration in both my collections and transfer it to a much more contemporary version on the footwear scale. I strip all the structure down from any additional ornaments that would devalue my design aesthetic and just work with the main idea and create variations accordingly.

For instance, I was inspired by trusses with Connector, which are cross-braced structural systems used in contemporary architecture, and when I researched them in-depth, I traced the origin to the Ancient Egyptian boat-building techniques where they used ropes to build them. Through material experimentation and extensive design development, I translate the strength of my inspiration into its simplest and rawest form on footwear.

Check out Hany’s designs on her website.