As part of the Starch Foundation’s biannual Fashion Forward show, Lebanese designer Nour Najem presented a strong collection featuring geometric references and a sand-colored palette.
During a brief meeting with the designer following Fashion Forward, the first thing Najem told us was, “I want to talk to you about my NGO.” Najem only graduated from ESMOD Beirut in 2012; the fact that she has since built a label that garnered the attention of the Starch Foundation and a non-profit is admirable.
Najem’s “Kenzah Foundation” launched in 2014 (at the same time as her brand) and aims to work with talented regional artisans to highlight overlooked craftsmanship and empower women from underprivileged backgrounds. Artisanal crafts and know-how are generally transmitted among men—who today are concerned with achieving success in other fields. The foundation, therefore, strives to help pass artisanal know-how from existing artisans to marginalized women. Najem then takes these finished products and incorporates them in her collections. Undoubtedly, design has the power to do good for others and Najem’s is a business model to follow.