NOSH: Design that blossoms from inner beauty

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Updated 10 March 2013

NOSH: Design that blossoms from inner beauty

Nora Al-Sheikh is a Saudi fashion designer who is obsessed with colors, fabrics and shapes, all of which combine in a self-expression of Nora’s inner life. Over the years she has experimented with designs, fabrics and concepts until she settled on three luxury lines: Nosh by Nora, Nosh Fun and Nosh Oriental.
“I’ve always loved to dress up and look unique ever since I was a little girl and that’s when I fell in love with fashion and felt that it was powerful enough to really let someone feel beautiful and confident,” she said. “The real reason that I chose to become a fashion designer was to let everyone feel beautiful.”
Nora did not think her first serious pieces, called The Modernista, were outstanding. “I was very surprised at the reaction of people when I first showcased the collection,” she recounted. “They said they saw me in those pieces and felt that my designs reflected my fashion spirit,” she said. “Now that I look back at them, I feel proud and think of them as amazing pieces. I believe I did a fantastic job as a first-timer.”
“I want women to feel unique, confidant and beautiful when wearing my designs,” she said. “I get inspired by everything when designing a new line, but I get mostly inspired by shapes and textures.”
Nosh’s new collection is called Geo Glamous. “It’s basically a mixture of glamor and geometrical shapes, I wanted to mix the modern geometrical shapes with the old glamorous Hollywood look,” she said. “My style is edgy, bold and colorful. I used very fine taffeta satin with mostly Swarovski element stones for this collection.”
She said she starts to work four months in advance on a collection. “The process starts by trying to get inspired, thinking and staring at the wall,” she laughs. “Then I start getting serious and begin sketching, refining ideas, choosing the final theme with colors, fabrics and then starting with the patterns, sewing samples and so on.”
Nora finds strength in her designs. “When it comes to designing, I believe my strength is my senses. Eyes in choosing the color theme and hands in touching the fabrics and deciding on the right one,” she said. “My weakness is the sewing part.”
There are no hidden messages behind Nosh — a name coined from the designer’s initials — like other fashion brands. “I don’t send out a message. I usually create a story in my designs. For example my ‘laceather’ collection, when I mixed leather and lace, I imagined a girl from space who was invited onto the red carpet,” she said. “So she mixed the leather space flavor with the earthy elegant lace in her clothing,” she added.
She feels her designs are special because they express her emotions. “No one can express me better than me and I use fashion to do that for me,” she said. “I’m looking forward to a big step forward in the fashion world, so stay tuned and wish me luck,” she added.
Nosh can be found in Riyadh and Dubai and soon in Kuwait, Doha and Jeddah. The designer wishes to expand internationally, to New York, London and Paris.

Email: [email protected]

SemSem’s Ramadan line has a charitable twist

US-Somali model Halima Aden has worked with SemSem in the past.
Updated 22 May 2018

SemSem’s Ramadan line has a charitable twist

Famed French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent once said that the city of Marrakesh taught him color. It seems that the Moroccan city has struck again, serving as the inspiration for SemSem’s bold Ramadan line this season.

With its mélange of cultural currents and cosmopolitan charge, the bustle of Marrakesh is manifest in SemSem’s red-based collection. A brassy fire-engine trench and gilded-blush maxi are among the highlights of the edit, available exclusively at luxury e-tailers The Modist and Ounass.

For those seeking bold, iftar-appropriate looks this season, SemSem’s berry-red jumpsuit or high-low hemmed jacquard top are both beautiful, souk-inspired statement pieces.  Floral prints appearing throughout the collection recall the Majorelle garden, Saint Laurent’s lush Marrakesh property. 

Separates, including tailored pants befitting the refined city-stroller, can be paired with the collection’s pleated tops or layered for dramatic effect. 

Self-consciously eschewing derivatives of slouched kaftans, the pieces all feature refined, structured cuts. True to the brand’s aesthetic, SemSem’s Ramadan collection is an unabashed ode to modern, metropolitan femininity.

 Founder Abeer Al-Otaiba, who originally hails from Egypt, says this year’s Ramadan edit was “deeply personal.

“I wanted it to be beautiful, impactful and reflective of my heritage,” Al-Otaiba said.  “I enjoy the sense of purpose Ramadan represents and I try to embrace all that it has to offer. Creating this collection is an extension of this time of introspection and celebration.”

A dedicated philanthropist with a degree in civil engineering and stints spent living across the Middle East, Europe and America, Al-Otaiba created SemSem in 2015 as a way to celebrate women and children across the globe. Bestowing the label with her daughter’s nickname, Al-Otaiba’s vision has allowed SemSem to mature in a few short years, emerging at the forefront of the luxury, ready-to-wear market.

With lines for both women and girls, the brand has become a favorite of multi-tasking mothers seeking balance and an elegant wardrobe with a charitable sense of purpose. Every season, Al-Otaiba teams up with a non-profit promoting the well-being of women and children. 

This year, 10 percent of the sales from the brand’s Ramadan collection sold at Ounass will go to causes supported by the Dubai Cares charity.

Previously, Al-Otaiba sought to raise awareness about maternal mortality rates and youth illiteracy, supporting organizations working across Africa to empower women and children. 

Insisting on the confluence of doing good and dressing well, SemSem has become a celebrity favorite, worn by conscientious Hollywood moms like Blake Lively and Kourtney Kardashian. 

Showing at Paris Fashion Week and regularly written up in Vogue, SemSem has brought a jet-set chic to mother-daughter wear. 

But the line’s ethos isn’t about red-carpet glitter. Encouraging mothers to instill a sense of global awareness and dedication to philanthropy in their daughters lies at the heart of SemSem’s mission. It’s a perfect conversation — and the perfect conversation-provoking ensembles— to have this Ramadan season.