OHLALA spoke to the designer Noof Al Shekar from NS by Noof to better understand the concepts behind her eye-catching clutches and accessories. Come into her geometrical world with us!
OHLALA – When did you know that the world of fashion was going to be part of your life?
Noof Al Shekar – I always had a passion for fashion, and the idea of having my brand started in 2009. The statement behind my label revolves around jewellery and handbags, the two things women cannot resist.
OHLALA – How is your process of creation? What are your main inspirations?
Noof – The process starts from the 3D shape of the clutch and then breaks down to the geometric pattern in the brass sheet that shapes the clutch. My inspiration is mainly from architecture and old jewellery. My creations are complicated to construct and bring to life, and that’s what makes them unique. We use sacred geometry [the underlying geometry in nature] as a spiritual symbol and combine it with semi-precious stones that have the Earth energy to balance each piece out.
OHLALA – Your pieces are very architectural. Would you say that this is a trademark of your brand?
Noof – Yes, my love and passion for architecture do reflect on my brand. In the beginning, I used lots of Arabic and Islamic patterns to reflect my heritage in my work. However, the more I educated myself about architecture and sacred geometry, the more my pieces took bolder shapes and looks. It became the soul and heart of the brand.
OHLALA – How important are the materials used in your handbags and clutches? How do you source them?
Noof – We always use the best material to create a high-end brand. The brass used is all gold plated, and the lining is from genuine leather. We are now launching a new line of sustainable bags using recycled plastic and ocean waste; we have still maintained the brand DNA by keeping the geometrical patterns.
OHLALA – You don’t follow trends; instead, you create timeless and eyecatching accessories. What is the formula?
Noof – Our pieces are indeed classic and timeless. I believe in owning something unique that will stand out and be with you for a lifetime. Trends are fun and inspiring, but you touch the clients’ sense of fashion by creating unique pieces.
OHLALA – You are a mum and an entrepreneur; how do you balance your work life with your personal life?
Noof – Well, I started the business after having my first two boys – they are young men now – and I always had so much energy and wanted to direct it into something that represents me and make them proud. Having a niche brand did help as well with the small quantities and limited clients that look for something unique and different. Now they are all grown-up and very supportive of me. The denim designs were all created with the input and cooperation of my eldest son Abdulla who is going to study architecture this year.
OHLALA – What is the piece of advice that you would give to all creative minds out there wanting to start their own business?
Noof – Start today, start with an idea, dream about it, think about it, and it will be created. Life does happen; don’t let that stop you. Take baby steps, and you are still moving towards your dream; baby steps are better than no steps. Set your priorities in life and put in an ethical goal, and you will achieve the world.
OHLALA – Do you think that being born and raised in the Middle East influenced how you design your handbags and clutches?
Noof – Definitely, I am a very proud Arab and Muslim, yet I am a very openminded person and love to learn and explore different cultures and religions. They all have symbols and geometric shapes, making it a very interesting playground to create my own patterns, structural styles and characters reflected in my designs.