Vertically challenged Egyptians have a new place to shop for clothes, thanks to a 20-year-old student with dwarfism.
Budding fashion designer and Mansoura University student Nesma Yahia, who became the country’s first model with the condition, has also created the nation’s first collection of clothes specifically for little people and those of short stature.
After struggling to find clothes that fit her and often resorting to shopping in the children’s section, Yahia began working on the idea last year and launched her first line — called“Breeze”— last month. Her goal was to make clothing for little people more accessible and to help others who have been ridiculed about their height feel more confident.
“I felt that we are a marginalized part of society. Even clothes are not available to us,” the proud Muslim, who stands at just under 3.5 feet, said. “So I decided to buy materials and drew up designs I liked before asking a producer for help making them.”
The designs, which are not limited to a certain age group, feature options for women who wear hijabs and those who don’t, as well as articles of clothing for men. They include a variety of designs for evening wear, kaftans, blouses, skirts and dresses and are available for purchase across Egypt.
“I designed the collection so that it does not show too much of the body and does not make us appear too short, and not necessarily to cope with recent fashion trends,” Yahia said. “The most important thing is that the item fits and the person loves wearing them.”
Able to create her brand without any financial support, Yahia hopes to receive backing in the future so that she can create additional collections and her line can go international.
“Thank God I made the first step of my dream,” she said on Facebook in celebration of her achievements so far.
Dwarfism is a medical or genetic condition that usually results in an adult height of 4’10” or shorter, among both men and women, according to the Little People of America. The most frequently diagnosed cause of dwarfism is achondroplasia, a genetic condition that makes up 70% of all cases and occurs in one per 26,000 to 40,000 births.
American designer Kathy D. Woods, who has also been diagnosed with dwarfism, similarly created a fashion line for little people in 2014.
(Edited by Carlin Becker and Stan Chrapowicki)