Invariably everyone who sees Norine Farah’s designs find themselves holding their breath in appreciation of the art she creates. This Egyptian fashion designer is not the usual designer you would expect. eniGma’s Yosra Shohayeb chatted with the designer/artist about her unusually fast rise to become one of Egypt’s lead designers.
Give us a background about yourself and how you got into fashion.
I studied marketing and hotel management. The first summer in college I went to Milan and took a fashion design course in Istituto Marangoni. I liked it a lot, and took another course the summer after in Florence at Polimoda International Institute of Fashion Design & Marketing. However, I decided it would be a huge thing to start that career while I was still studying. I finished university and I worked a little in the field I majored in, but I didn’t feel it was me and I didn’t feel happy. Since I always loved to draw and had an art studio in Alexandria, I decided to turn it into an atelier overnight and to try myself in design. I started my brand in May 2014 in Alexandria, and in November 2014, I moved to Cairo and opened my atelier here.
Your designs are very different from one another. What inspires you?
I get inspired by the pattern and the colour of a fabric. The fabric speaks to me, and I base the rest of the collection upon that. I draw my designs on a piece of paper and give it to my in-house tailors.
How would you define your designs?
They’re very diverse. I don’t like to do what is traditional. I like to do what I think is beautiful. I make a statement that this is who I am and what I do. I make people dress the way I want them to dress, not the way they want to dress. I don’t want to accommodate the needs of the clients; I want to do what I think is beautiful. Whoever wants to trust my taste does, and with time, it is catching on.
There are many celebrities who wear your designs. How do you feel about that?
I feel very lucky and proud. They approach me themselves.
So who are the celebrities that you dressed?
Mona Zaki, Amina Khalil, Saba Moubarak, Dina El Sherbiny, and many more.
What’s the concept behind your latest collection?
Huawei wanted to do something different. They wanted me to do a collection for Huawei with one dress inspired by their new phone. Usually technology follows fashion; however, for this collection we tried to do the opposite. I tried to pick words that I would describe the phone with and do something in particular for it. The dress is gold like their star phone; I tried to make it geometrical and squared like the phone. The fabric is very soft and it’s in one colour, like the phone. The dress is very easy to use and convenient, exactly like the phone.
Which collection is closest to your heart?
Each dress has a special place in my heart. I can’t favour one collection over the other, because each collection represents my mood and feelings when I created it. Each is different and unique in its own sense.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I choose to live and appreciate each day as it comes. I see myself in five years still passionate about what I’m doing.