Lebanese teen Nour Ardakani is global pop group Now United’s first Arab member

The Lebanese newcome joins global pop group Now United. Instagram
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Updated 21 September 2020

Lebanese teen Nour Ardakani is global pop group Now United’s first Arab member

DUBAI: The search for global music group Now United’s newest member is finally over. Enter Nour Ardakani, the 18-year-old singer from Lebanon, who is set to become the band’s 16th member – and first Arab – after an extensive, months-long search for talent across the Middle East and North Africa.

Ardakani was hand-picked by Simon Fuller, the man who founded popular British girl band The Spice Girls and created “American Idol.”

“I think you are absolutely wonderful, and I think you would be perfect to join the group. And I would like to invite you to be the next member of Now United,” Fuller told the singer and dancer in a video call.

“Seriously, it’s me? You picked me?” asked Ardakani, to which Fuller replied: “You got it.”

The singer, who currently resides in Beirut with her family, joins fellow group for the band’s latest single “Feel It Now.”

Founded in 2017, the multinational music group announced in November last year that they were looking for a new member from the MENA region.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Nour Ardakani (@noursmusicdiary) on

Out of thousands of hopefuls in the Middle East and North Africa, 13 were shortlisted and invited to participate in a virtual audition last week in front of Fuller. Eventually, it came down to Ardakani and a 15-year-old Emirati singer, Alya Al-Ali.

Fuller picked Ardakani after hearing her recording of Now United’s song “Habibi.”


Feet first: Egyptian footwear label blends style and comfort

Updated 22 October 2020

Feet first: Egyptian footwear label blends style and comfort

DUBAI: They say “beauty is pain,” but not for Egyptian footwear label Zee.

The brand’s designs combine comfort and style, making its offerings suitable for settings ranging from edgy and urban life to laid-back for the seaside.

Noureldin Kassem, Zee’s founder, said: “It’s really important to be stylish and comfortable. For us being comfortable is very important, and this is why we used a lot of new materials, like different kinds of leather, and made adjustments to the sandals.”

Brave New World, the brand’s latest collection, draws its inspiration partly from Greco-Roman culture, Kassem told Arab News. 

The collection includes 25 styles in a range of bold and bright designs, featuring sandals and slides to suit a wide range of women’s tastes.

Zee, which was established three years ago, is a sustainable brand that is produced in Egypt, but outsources its materials, such as cork soles, from Spain.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sway with ease in your Zees. Shot and styled by @keghamdjeghalian #MakeZeeMoves #ZeeSteps #ZeeBraveNewWorld #Zee

A post shared by Zee (@zee_officialeg) on

“Sustainability is taking a big share of the market now,” Kassem said.

To make the brand more environmentally friendly, Zee’s packaging now includes pouches made of recycled material made in collaboration with eco-friendly Egyptian fashion brand Up-Fuse. 

Kassem said that while many well-established fashion brands are fighting to survive during the coronavirus pandemic, Zee is taking risks and rebranding itself. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Stand tall in your Zee-Bomba X #MakeZeeMoves #ZeeSteps #ZeeBraveNewWorld #ZeeByKegham #ZeeBombaX #Zee

A post shared by Zee (@zee_officialeg) on

Amid plans for a possible launch of trainers or heels, Zee’s team is working on designing sneakers, which better fit the “persona and identity of the brand.”

Kassem also praised his team, including creative director Kegham Djeghalian, for doing “a great job during this difficult period.”