How has your journey in fashion been so far?
PRINCESS NOURA BINT FAISAL AL SAUD My vision for Saudi Arabia was to create a platform for Saudi designers to give them the exposure they deserve. When the Arab Fashion Council approached me and wanted to collaborate, I saw this as an opportunity to fulfill this objective and to empower the talent that our country has to offer. The fashion week we organized in April was the first of its kind and the kickoff of a journey. That said, we have decided now to take a new path by rebranding the event as the Saudi Fashion Week, while I am working on a more comprehensive approach toward our domestic fashion industry via the establishment of the Saudi Fashion Community as a new concept. Here, the goal is to encourage Saudi designers to get out there and bring their work up to international standards. As a Saudi woman myself, I understand them, and with my background and international experience, I have the connections—in Japan, France, and the US—to provide them with the right support and to truly build a domestic fashion community.
Could you tell us more about the inception of NUUN JEWELS?
PRINCESS NOURAH BINT MOHAMMED BIN ABDULLAH BIN FAISAL AL SAUD During my studies, I discovered my passion for jewelry design, and I took every opportunity to develop my craft and learn from the best. Following my apprenticeship at Place Vendôme workshop in Paris, my journey in this industry accelerated, and I had the opportunity to take many private commissions. Returning to Saudi Arabia, I worked on these commissions, especially doing family heritage pieces. In 2004, NUUN JEWELS was established, which was the result of more than 15 years of developing my style. Aside from the apprenticeship, this has been a completely self-taught journey. It amazes me how we have established a clientele in just four years. My clientele has elegant and sophisticated taste with a modern flare and have really challenged me to create special pieces and collections. We are already expanding and opening a boutique in Riyadh. On top of this, we have just launched a new website with an online boutique.
How did the first fashion week in Saudi Arabia come around?
PRINCESS NOURA BINT FAISAL AL SAUD There were many challenges to organize this event but with generous support from the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), we made our ambitions a reality. Organizing a first-time event with international standards was not easy but the result was a successful event with a broad range of renowned designers and great international media coverage. The first fashion week was only the starting point; aside from events, we will focus on many different approaches to develop the Saudi fashion community, including educational and cultural projects to support and encourage local designers. In addition to design, we want to introduce manufacturing to the market.
What characterizes your design: is it Saudi, European, or a combination of both?
PRINCESS NOURAH BINT MOHAMMED BIN ABDULLAH BIN FAISAL AL SAUD I would not classify my jewelry as either Saudi, French, or others. Certainly, there are components of all these influences, and the strength is in the combination. All materials and gems are of the highest quality and are ethically sourced from around the world. There are certainly some distinctive Arabian elements in my design, and most of the craftsmanship is done in France. Inspiration comes from everywhere, and I have developed my style with a certain focus on patterns. Also, I envision focusing on sustainability for both the materials used and the design itself. My focus is always to continue to grow as a creator and perfect my technique.
As a young female Saudi leader, what is your message to aspiring graduates?
PRINCESS NOURA BINT FAISAL AL SAUD If you have found your passion and outlined your ambition, do it and believe that you can do it. No one and nothing should be able to stop one from fulfilling their dreams. Never give up on your ambitions.
How would you encourage more female entrepreneurs?
PRINCESS NOURAH BINT MOHAMMED BIN ABDULLAH BIN FAISAL AL SAUD I want to encourage Saudi female entrepreneurs to take advantage of the new legislation. For women business owners specifically, they should take charge of their business set up and corporate affairs. We should continue to take big leaps for our country. We have a country that believes in us.