A book, a painting, a song can bring back memories. It’s the same with clothes. We all have lucky panties, first date tops and travel sneakers haven't we? We associate outfits with situations and encounters, fragments of life that are positive or negative. But can a feeling initially inspire clothes?
There’s nothing absurd or bizarre about it. It’s just a question of materializing an emotion with a color, a shape, a movement.
Some designers are influenced by an artist, a landscape or a historical figure, and others look within. Lebanese designer Nour Najem is one of them. Today more than ever, fashion symbolizes big money, consumerism and superficiality. But like every industry, you have outsiders that decide to approach and present things differently.
When she launched her eponymous brand four years ago, Nour wanted a company with a strong social engagement aspect, hence the idea of creating Kenzah Foundation. The NGO’s purpose is to pass down the traditional artisanal crafts know-how to women from underprivileged backgrounds, and later incorporate their work in the collections.
Nour was also driven by the will to design clothes that would reflect a feeling. Each collection explores a state of mind. The last one, called Baraka (blessing), is about silver linings. It’s about the beauties that are sometimes hidden but nonetheless present and the importance of cherishing life.
Those sentiments can be seen in the pure lines of her collections, the soft colors, the materials that harmoniously merge all together. The clothes don’t oppress but rather allow movement. They are “positive”, if I can say so.
Now it’s one thing to deliver a message, and it’s another to actually come up with an esthetic. Nour succeeds in doing both. Her brand has a strong DNA, one that focuses on fluid lines and luscious fabrics, one that combines geometry and architecture while delicately highlighting an oriental heritage. It’s feminine and strong at the same time, meaningful and beautiful.