This month, OHLALA spoke to Nada Alawi, Founder & Creative Director of ANNADA, about her unique brand and passion for art.
OHLALA – Before entering the fashion world, you worked with safety in the workplace. What made you enter the art and fashion world?
Nada Alawi – Mine and my sister’s passion for art started as a hobby and grew to become much more. We built a whole business around this concept because we believe that art is a way of communication, it is a language and a voice.
OHLALA – ANNADA started as a company with the gifting concept. However, it has grown exponentially, and recently you released a new clothing collection. Can you tell us more about the company’s journey?
Nada Alawi – The art of gifting is at the heart of each ANNADA product, whether it be a gift to yourself or someone dear. Our initial collection had scarves of different sizes and materials. The clothing line was created from the desire to be enveloped in art; each piece of our apparel is a statement element that will draw attention at any event. We have continued our expansion to include over 100 product lines that vary between scarves, clothing, accessories, stationery and homeware accessories.
OHLALA – What makes ANNADA so unique?
Nada Alawi – There are many aspects. First, the story; each art piece is paired with a story that evokes feelings and sentiments. This added layer of depth within the art item allows the viewer to observe what they haven’t before in the artwork. Second, its versatility. ANNADA scarves can be worn in many ways, presented in a how-to-wear guide that comes with them. Third, each product is a piece of art at its core. Curated from regional artists, we transform the works into wearable pieces, taking art beyond the canvas. Fourth is the gifting concept. Each ANNADA product is wrapped in our signature teal box and silver ribbon, which makes the perfect gift for yourself or loved ones. It’s also important to highlight that each product is created with the concept of ‘living in art’ to bring art closer and promote joy and happiness.
OHLALA – How do you choose the artists to partner with?
Nada Alawi – We like to welcome new talents on board and help share their art with the world. However, we follow a rigorous selection process to ensure the best for our customers and brand. Our base of artists consists of an elite selection of creative figures from the region and worldwide.
OHLALA – The materials you use are of high quality. How do you select them?
Nada Alawi – Our artisans work meticulously to weave the finest materials, amplifying the colour in each artwork while still offering the most beautiful and comfortable drape that transforms art into luxury. Whether silk, canvas or wood, we only choose the best quality for our pieces.
OHLALA – Every company has a story, but ANNADA seems to have a more profound purpose. What message do you want to spread with your brand?
Nada Alawi – Our main purpose has always been spreading happiness through art; we always choose art that gives joy to people and will instantly lift their mood. We also aim to offer a marvellous gifting experience and to provide quick style solutions for women on the go.
OHLALA – ANNADA has become a reference for gifting someone something representing Bahrain/the Middle East. It’s like giving a piece of the region to someone leaving or to a family member living abroad. How do you feel about the brand’s significance in so many people’s lives?
Nada Alawi – We are flattered to hear that ANNADA is the choice of many people for gifting. It is lovely to see people choose our pieces as souvenirs and understand that our carefully created items carry a hidden message and tell many stories through art.
OHLALA – What do you think about Bahrain’s art and fashion scenario?
Nada Alawi – Our beautiful Bahrain is rich in folklore. We aim to share tales from our country through art and heart-warming experiences. Overall, the art scene in Bahrain is wonderful. It is filled with creative people that keep impressing us all.
OHLALA – Which places in Bahrain should people visit?
Nada Alawi – Bahrain is filled with fantastic spots. I love the beauty, intimacy and great experience of the historical houses of Muharraq and the different art galleries around the island. Bahrain Fort is also one of the country’s many historical and mesmerising places. The National Museum is an amazing destination and it is definitely worth a visit. I also love attending concerts at Al Dana Amphitheater.