Before the namesake label ‘Azra’ came to be around the time of Ramadan of 2015, Azra Khamissa would create simple, one-off pieces for herself: a backpack and bucket bag here or there for when she was traveling between her home destinations of Canada, South Africa and the UAE and couldn’t find what she was looking for on the market. “I was at a Ramadan gathering wearing my leather backpack,” recalls Khamissa. “A friend asked where it was from and the hostess, Hessa Falasi, mentioned that I should make and sell the bags. That was when I took my first order.”
The eponymous brand is a range of classically-made, minimalist, luxurious leather handbags, all individually manufactured in the United Arab Emirates. Featuring five pieces, each bag uses hides and hair that are a by-product of camels, meanwhile buckles and zippers are sourced from Italy and South Africa. This month, she unveils the fifth and latest addition to the offering, dubbed The Luna, a versatile clutch-meets-cross-body in the shape of a half moon, which is inspired by a traditional Emirati jewelry piece called the Tabla (a gold pendant in the shape of a crescent moon). Despite having only launched the brand a little over two years ago, the chiropractor-turned-designers’ pieces have already got a stamp of approval from a host of regional cool girls, including Alaa Balkhy, Leena Alghouti, and Mthayel El Ali.
Though the designer has just unveiled The Luna, she is already setting her sights on expanding the brand in the near future. “I would like to make small leather goods such as wallets and laptop covers,” she says. “Hopefully, although this might take some time to develop, I want to design comfortable orthopedic leather sandals. This stems from both my knowledge and practice of being a chiropractor as well as my love for design.”
In the gallery ahead, Khamissa shares the striking campaign images for The Luna, photographed by Natalie Lines.