Bahrain Confidential shares a conversation with Noof Al Shekar, the beauty and brains behind NS by Noof.
Noof Al Shekar is a Bahraini handbag designer who has created her exquisite line NS by Noof in 2009. Combining her love for art, jewellery and fashion, Noof started designing little jewel bags for herself and loved ones whilst pursuing a career in architecture. This swiftly gained her a fan-base, eventually persuading her to devote full time to designing her own bespoke collection.
When and how did you first realise that you wanted to pursue a career as a designer?
I’ve always been fascinated with fine art and design but it wasn’t until 2009 that I’ve realised I wanted to become a designer. That year, my friend and I were brainstorming about opening a brand, with me as the designer and her as the marketing specialist.
What challenges have you faced while pursuing your career as a designer?
The most difficult thing in this field is actually implementing your ideas into reality. When I’m designing, I have to be conscious and mindful in all aspects regarding the materials I use, how I produce the collection and what the end result would look like. Ideas don’t always translate into reality but it’s all a matter of trying again.
Where are your handbags made?
The bags are made in Lebanon while the leather is sourced from Spain, Italy, Paris, among others. I also try to support Bahraini craft as much as I can by utilizing locally made materials like gold, in my pieces.
What inspires your designs?
I get inspired by buildings – their architecture, style, iron work and more. The geometrical feature of my handbags draws largely from the Arabic culture.
Tell us more about your collection, where did you draw the inspiration for your designs?
The new season is mainly inspired by a different era, from the 20’s to the 50’s.
Do you have a favourite from your designs?
My personal favourite is Andalusia, the first one. I also love Laya which was designed based on the Golden Ratio.
What do you think makes NS by Noof a distinctive successful brand in today’s overly crowded fashion world?
NS by Noof is unique. At the end of the day, it’s for someone who’s comfortable to wear a piece with no tag name – to have something that they actually like or believe in.
Is there a particular designer you look up to?
What advice do you have for aspiring designers?
Have patience and stick to what you believe in because it’s going to work out eventually. Also, you should embrace and appreciate competition.
Is there a motto that you live by?
The humbler you are, the more lifted you will be.
If you could speak to yourself 10 years ago, what would you say?
Don’t slow down and don’t stop believing in your brand.