For the co-founders of new label House of Nomad, fashion design is a labour of love. Emirati Saleh Al Banna and his best buddy and counterpart Egyptian Ahmed El Sayed both hold down day jobs while they design and produce their label, which is inspired by their love of travel. Here, we chat to one half of House of Nomad, Saleh, to find out what the brand is all about.
How would you describe your brand?
House of Nomad is a high street, ready-to-wear clothing line that caters to men and women. We highlight cultural identities through the use of calligraphy, silhouettes and overall image.
How did the label evolve?
We are best friends, so we basically spend all our time together travelling, shopping and hanging out. Ahmed has a fashion design degree and I have a background in running family businesses, so we decided to put our ideas together and create this brand.
What are your day jobs?
I’m the managing director of my family company Al Banna Engineering and consultant manager of my family company International Printing Press. It was my love for owning vintage one-of-a-kind pieces why I became involved in fashion. Ahmed is a fashion editor for an e-commerce site, and carries a Bachelors degree in fine arts, majoring in fashion design.
Is the fashion industry a hard nut to crack for a local Emirati male?
The fashion industry is what you make of it. If you are confident enough to showcase your work to the public, then you should be able to take your brand far. Regardless of the nationality, in our opinion it’s the work that you present that matters, and so far the feedback has been overwhelming.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Our cuts and silhouettes are simple yet bold. Our colour palette is constant yet unified. And our use of Arabic calligraphy adds a sense of culture to our pieces.
This collection features all neutral pieces, will others be based on the same colour palette?
We chose to highlight that colour in our debut collection, but in our second collection we are using neutral as a base colour and we will be mixing and matching other colours along with it.
What is it about the word nomad that resonates with you?
The use of the word nomad basically sums up a huge percentage of the people around the world. They are travellers, always on the lookout for adventure and exploring the world they live in. For us that is the message behind our collection, it is meant to be a symbol of being always on the move and showcasing your culture to the world.
Favourite piece in the collection?
Our Nomad sweater is definitely our favourite.
Describe the process of finding somewhere to stock your label?
Our main concern when we launched the label was to keep it a small business as we both have full-time jobs. But to our surprise in just two months after launching the demand to purchase our pieces has increased so rapidly that we have accepted offers from boutiques to stock our items. It makes it easier for us and the customers to access the label this way. It’s not an easy process to find the right boutique to stock your brand, as you have to take into consideration the boutique’s customer, the price points, and their general market.
If you could see one celeb wearing your pieces who would it be?
[Keeping Up with the Kardashians star] Kendall Jenner.
Dhs500 to Dhs1,500. House of Nomad is available at www.houseofnomad.com or at S*uce, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai (04 339 9696).