Brazilian-Lebanese designer Nadine Ghosn’s award-winning accessories 

Nadine Ghosn is the daughter of the former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn. (Supplied)
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Updated 20 February 2020

Brazilian-Lebanese designer Nadine Ghosn’s award-winning accessories 

  • The Brazilian-Lebanese designer on her love of jewelry, taking risks, and advice from her father, Carlos

LONDON: Born in America and based in London, the award-winning Brazilian-Lebanese designer Nadine Ghosn is as quirky and jubilant as her namesake fine jewelry line that she launched in 2016. 

Elements of contemporary culture as well as her personal experiences — from her early days in Japan to a love of old-school stationery and popular food classics — inspire her bold creations. And beneath all of that pop and color, jewelry holds a sentimental value for the Stanford-educated entrepreneur. 

“I’m an extremely sensitive person and jewelry is kind of like my token of moments, memories, and people,” Ghosn tells Arab News. “When I started creating jewelry, my goal was to create something that really means something to the (buyer), but also says something about the time we’re in. Going back through time, you (can learn) a lot about civilizations’ cultures through their jewelry, transitioning from one generation to the next.” 




The ‘Hamburger Ring’ was designed around the theme of food uniting people. (Supplied)

Ghosn’s love of accessories stems from her childhood, particularly when her father — the former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn — would return with gifts from his travels. In her teens, she recalls, “I always spent my money on jewelry. I couldn’t care less about what I was wearing but I would always accessorize it in a specific way.” 

Having majored in art and economics, Ghosn began her career in a New York consulting firm, followed by a rotational program at Hermès. Once she had gained a deeper understanding of craftsmanship, Ghosn turned down a major job offer to begin her own independent career path. “At that point, I was 24 going on 25 and I was just thinking about what my job meant to me and what I was trying to achieve. ‘Am I going to take a risk?’ Those big questions were kind of on my mind,” she says. 

A chance encounter during a timely visit to Lebanon turned into a ‘light-bulb moment’ for Ghosn; she encountered a Beirut jewelry manufacturer, who explained that his studio was struggling as demand for such spaces — and craftsmanship — had declined significantly. Ghosn struck a deal with him: he would teach her to work with gold and she, in return, would design her debut collection in his space.




An 18-karat gold design of seven stackable rings representing different layers of a burger, it was a design that she says raised the eyebrows of those closest to her. (Supplied)

One of Ghosn’s earliest pieces remains the most special to her: The ‘Hamburger Ring’ — which was designed around the theme of food uniting people. An 18-karat gold design of seven stackable rings representing different layers of a burger, it was a design that she says raised the eyebrows of those closest to her. 

“When I first showed it to my family, I remember them saying that no one was going to buy it,” she says. “I had faith in it and when it got momentum it was (proof that) when you believe in something, you should go for it.” The piece has ended up selling to a wide range of clients, from teenagers to 65-year-olds — and including the founder of Wendy’s burger chain. 

Over the years, a number of celebrities have been spotted wearing Ghosn’s pieces. Beyoncé wore the tongue-in-cheek ‘Shut Up’ earring cuff for her 35th birthday celebrations, and Karl Lagerfeld has sported the ‘Can You Hear Me?’ headphones necklace. 




“Too Cool For School” is Ghosn’s latest geek-chic collection. (Supplied)

Ghosn’s latest geek-chic collection is “Too Cool For School,” which ranges from a pencil ring to a paperclip bracelet and protractor earrings. It is, she says, somewhat inspired by her time in Japan — a place where stationery is something of an obsession for many. “The pencil is a simple but empowering tool, and everyone writes their own story,” she says.  

While we often hear the popular idiom “Like father, like son,” in Ghosn’s case, it’s more “Like father, like daughter,” for she shares her father’s entrepreneurial spirit and openness to new ideas. 




“Too Cool For School” ranges from a pencil ring to a paperclip bracelet and protractor earrings. (Supplied)

“My dad always challenged us to be extremely independent,” she says. “He was always very bold and that’s obviously within my DNA as well. Today, we’ve learned much more about each other — he finally says that I’m a jewelry designer because, for the first year or two, he had reservations. But thankfully, because people are purchasing and the fact that the business is profitable, I finally get the ‘designer’ label in my family.” 

As for the best advice she received from her father before starting her own business, she recalls him telling her: “Whatever you do, be the best at it. Make yourself indispensable.”


South Asian marriage websites under fire for color bias

Updated 12 July 2020

South Asian marriage websites under fire for color bias

DHAHRAN: An online backlash has forced the matrimonial website Shaadi.com to take down an ‘skin color’ filter which asked users to specify their skin color using descriptors such as fair, wheatish or dark. The filter on the popular site, which caters to the South Asian diaspora, was one of the parameters for matching prospective partners.

Meghan Nagpal, a Toronto-based graduate student, logged on to the website and was appalled to see the skin-color filter. “Why should I support such archaic view [in 2020]?” she told Arab News.

Nagpal cited further examples of implicit biases against skin color in the diaspora communities – women who are dark-skinned are never acknowledged as “beautiful” or how light-skinned South Asian women who are mistaken as Caucasian consider it a compliment.

“Such biases stem from a history of colonization and the mentality that ‘white is superior’,” she said.

When Nagpal emailed the website’s customer service team, she received the response that “this is what most parents require.” She shared her experience on a Facebook group, attracting the attention of Florida-based Roshni Patel and Dallas-based Hetal Lakhani. The former took to online activism by tweeting the company and the latter started an online petition.

Overnight, the petition garnered more 1,500 signatures and the site eventually removed the filter.

“Now is the time to re-evaluate what we consider beautiful. Colorism has significant consequences in our community, especially for women. People with darker skin experience greater prejudice, violence, bullying and social sanctions,” the petition reads. “The idea that fairer skin is ‘good’ and darker skin is ‘bad’ is completely irrational. Not only is it untrue, but it is an entirely socially constructed perception based in neo-colonialism and casteism, which has no place in the 21st century.”

Overnight, the petition garnered more 1,500 signatures and the site eventually removed the filter.

“When a user highlighted this, we were thankful and had the remnants removed immediately. We do not discriminate based on skin color and our member base is as diverse and pluralistic as the world,” a spokesperson said.

“If one company starts a movement like this, it can change minds and perceptions. This is a step in the right direction,” said Nagpal. Soon after, Shaadi.com’s competitor Jeevansathi.com also took down the skin filter from its website.

Colorism and bias in matrimony is only one issue; prejudices are deeply ingrained and widespread across society. Dr. Sarah Rasmi, a Dubai-based psychologist, highlights research and observations on how light skin is an advantage in society.

The website took down the skin filter following backlash.

“Dark skin tends to have lower socio-economic status and, in the US justice system, has been found to get harsher and more punitive sentences.

“These biases for fair as opposed to dark skin comes from colonial prejudices and the idea that historically, light skin has been associated with privilege, power and superiority,” she said.

However, in the wake of #BlackLivesMatter protests, change is underway.

Last month, Johnson & Johnson announced that it will be discontinuing its skin whitening creams in Asian and Middle Eastern markets, and earlier this month Hindustan Unilever Limited (Unilever’s Indian subsidiary) announced that it will remove the words ‘fair, white and light’ from its products and marketing. To promote an inclusive standard of beauty, it has also renamed its flagship Fair & Lovely product line to Glow & Lovely.

“Brands have to move away from these standards of beauty and be more inclusive so that people – regardless of their color, size, shape or gender – can find a role model that looks like them in the mass media,” said Dr. Rasmi.