Miriam Aldainy has been shoe obsessed since childhood. She now realises a dream in the creation of her line of modern Arabesque footwear, Nour Jensen. MOJEH.com sits down with Miriam ahead of the launch of her first collection to discover the highs and lows of starting her own label and just what it is that inspires her to design.
By Natalie Trevis
Tell us about the name Nour Jensen.
The name Nour Jensen is a great representation of what my brand is all about because it describes my cultures and my parents which are all extremely influential in the voice of the brand as a whole. Nour is an Arabic name that translates to ‘my light’. It is also the name my father used to affectionately call my mother and Jensen is my mother’s maiden name. So the name of the brand really says a lot about what kind of influences you will see represented in my designs.
How do your Swedish-American and Saudi roots influence your design?
In my designs you will see a lot of my cultural influences represented. We like to describe the brand as ‘modern Arabesque with western influences’. I’m really inspired by historic Arabian architecture. I’m really into archways and shapes. I love the Alhambra in Spain, that kind of architecture.
Growing up, did you always dream of being a designer?
From as far back as I can remember I’ve always been obsessed with shoes. My mom had a shoe closet growing up and that was my pretend fairytale land where I would just hang out all day long. I can remember being a little girl and falling in love with my mom’s pink heels from the 80s. I think I always knew I wanted a career in fashion and shoes have always been my passion.
What do shoes mean to you?
For me, shoes are something that a woman or man can use as an instrument to show off their mood or personality. Shoes are just amazing and can transform an outfit. To me a person’s shoes say a lot about them.
What is the inspiration behind the SS15 collection?
Because this is our debut collection, I just really wanted this collection to represent what the brand is all about. I use whatever inspires me at the time. It could be some sort of building or structure, or a colour.
In what place do you feel most inspired?
At home in my studio here in New York.
Tell us about the process of designing the collection.
This collection has been a great learning experience for me. The design process is always a challenge but also a lot of fun. It starts with images I will see or collect, combined with colours that I’m really into at that moment. We then start to sketch ideas and look at what’s trending but try to make it our own unique way. The sketches become samples until you get them exactly how you want them and then they go into production.
Who has been the biggest influence on your design aesthetic?
Lubov Azria [Chief Creative Officer of BCBG Max Azria Group] is one of the biggest influences on my design aesthetic.
What have been some of the challenges of starting your own line?
The biggest challenge so far has been finding the right factories that understand the vision you have for your brand. It took a while but I’m very, very happy with the team I have.
What’s been the most rewarding thing so far about setting up Nour Jensen?
Seeing the samples of my first collection and finally seeing my vision come to light has been amazing to say the least. I finally felt like a dream I’ve had since I was a little girl is one step closer to coming true.
What does the rest of the year hold for Nour Jensen?
This will be a very exciting year for Nour Jensen! We are debuting the collection globally and it will be available exclusively at Level Shoe District in Dubai (which we are really excited about). We are also in the process of beginning to sell our shoes online, so this year is really going to be an adventure for Nour Jensen and we can’t wait!