With a vivid exposure to a world of design and fashion from a very young age, Noura Al Tuwaijri tells Rawan Qabazard that she decided to pursue her education in Interior Design early on. She is 22 and a recent interior design graduate from Regents University, London.
She always aspired to study interior designer, but then again she knew she was very drawn to and wanted to be a fashion designer. Her earliest memories are the trips to various fashion fairs in addition to furniture & design fairs that she would attend with her mother. Noura’s decision to major in Interior Design as opposed to Fashion Design was a result of the fact that it was not possible for her to double major in both.
What about fashion, going forward? Her latest collaboration with Wataniya Airways has affirmed her desire and passion for this industry; Noura being the designer of the Wataniya Airways uniform wardrobe. She is certainly planning to attain her master’s degree in fashion design and we cannot wait to see what Noura has in store for us!
“Every achievement I’ve had came with the idea of trying. I practice like I’ve never won before. Expose your ideas and be creative, the little things make the real change. Being creative means losing our fear of rejection. Think outside the box and be unique. Be one of a kind!”
What inspired you to study interior design? I always liked spaces and I always knew what I wanted for my living space. I had complete freedom from my parents to design the room of my dreams and to express myself; whether I drew on the walls or even got my friends involved in it as well. Colors and spaces were my passion, I decided to explore it further. I would collect books on architecture, interior design and my inspirations resulted from these.
How does interior design relate to fashion design? There has always been a link between interior design and fashion design. There are many design principles that both fields share; be it creating furnishings for a space or an ensemble of clothing: determining a focal point, creating the silhouette and balancing proportions and details. Playing with materials in hand, experimenting with them and being inspired by them.
What was the inspiration behind the Wataniya Airways crew’s uniform design? The flow of the W in Wataniya really gave me all inspiration. You can clearly see it expressed in multiple ways throughout the designs. Notice the ruffles on the skirts and sleeves of the female uniforms give off the flow of the letter W. In the hats, which were hand-made by me, I combined two lines, giving off the vibe of the letter W. Also, great attention has been given to the smallest details, I added the logo to the buttons, and the letter W on the belts. It was also important for me to incorporate Wataniya Airways’ branding strategy as part of the design – a perfect combination of a sense of welcoming hospitality, a fun experience, a young and fresh approach.
What were the difficulties you faced in the process? During the very initial stages of my first Wataniya Airways interview, I had two queries: “What are your brand values?” and “What are your color preferences?” We dealt with the branding strategy and values first off and it was clear to me that I would want to reflect that in my designs. Their color preferences were ‘grey and purple’. This is where I was challenged; I began wondering how I could effectively combine their values and colors and create something. In the study of colors, the color purple represents luxury, royalty and pride. The color grey, on the other hand, is often associated with dullness and depression, and that’s why it was difficult for me to associate these two colors together. Having said that, I am extremely happy with the outcome.
What was your favorite piece to design? The female uniform was definitely more fun to design, given all the details that would go into it, but it was also surely the most challenging experience, after all an airlines’ uniforms have to follow certain guidelines and norms.
What did you gain from this experience? And would you take on more fashion-related projects? It was indeed a learning curve for me. My personal growth as a designer and enthusiast is amplified with this experience. I learnt to stand for what I believe in. Such projects attract many opinions, but as a designer, with a clear vision, I had to affirm my views and prove myself to be able to do my best. I am proud to be working on the designs of my very own collection and hopefully it will be launched soon.
What are your future plans with Wataniya Airways? For the time being it has been a pleasure to be associated with them and to design the uniforms and it makes me proud that they are happy with the outcome as well. Hopefully, they will keep me in mind for any future projects they might have.
Photographer Faisal Al-Bisher / Art Director DoubleA.Studio Makeup by Lemish Al Sayegh / Wardrobe Harvey Nichols Kuwait