Earlier this month the first cohorts of Jimmy Choo’s JCA | London Fashion Academy’s MA Fashion Entrepreneurship in Design and Brand Innovation course showcased their debut collections. Noon Khouri opened the show with her nomadic, inclusive and upcycled denim brand, Angels Wear Nada, described as the “new eco-friendly alternative, battling the issue of landfills, one garment at a time”.
Khouri's label was designed to reduce harm to the environment with each piece made from 100 percent upcycled materials, non-electroplated raw zinc alloy buttons, heat-dissolvable thread and Pinatex leather as Jacron labels.
The debut collection was striking, not just for its sustainability credentials but also for its size-inclusive approach. Khouri showcased barely-there dresses, skirts, jeans and co-ords, as well as upcycled denim footwear, all designed to empower and provide all body types with denim pieces to make them feel and look good.
Emerging designer to watch: Noon Khouri, Angels Wear Nada
Khouri is one of four students on JCA’s one-year MA Fashion Entrepreneurship in Design and Brand Innovation course that focuses on enterprise creation. Students on the course establish themselves as freelancers or micro-SMEs and are encouraged to develop a commercial enterprise from the outset. The school offers practice-based education in which students are professionally ‘incubated’ as aspiring designer-entrepreneurs to develop their crafts in professional studios.
Following her debut showcase, FashionUnited caught up with Khouri over e-mail to find out what inspired her collection and why it was important to her to champion sustainability and size inclusivity.
What inspired your sustainable collection?
When I moved to the UK for university, I became fascinated by second-hand clothes, as it wasn’t possible to buy second-hand clothes when I was growing up in the UAE. I loved it because I could find gems for so much cheaper than its original value but also because of the story it told - as you can see the wear and tear of the original owner.
I loved the idea of sharing things and being connected with one another through clothes. I also loved the idea of doing my part in terms of sustainability. After university, when I decided that I wanted to sell my art as clothes, purchasing clothes had already become part of my lifestyle and morals that I just couldn’t create a brand without integrating sustainability to be at the forefront of my thinking. When I decided to dedicate my research to creating the most eco-friendly brand possible - I concluded that upcycling was the way forward.
Why was it important for your collection to be size-inclusive?
Because I am and have always been a plus-size woman, who loves fashion but has always struggled to find anything in my size and therefore could never express myself how I would like through clothes. I, therefore, dedicate my life to ensuring that other plus-size women never have that experience. I also think that socially, we have a lot of work to do concerning fat phobia.
What was it about denim that attracted you to the fabric?
It was the most difficult thing to purchase as a plus-size person, so I decided to start with the problem.
Why did you choose the programme at JCA?
Because of the wide scope of knowledge offered. It was an entrepreneurship course that focused on fashion, so I was learning things from design to branding to marketing and business management.
What impact would you like to have on the fashion industry?
I would like to change the way plus-size people are perceived. I would like to make the industry more inclusive, and I would like to create a societal shift in the perspective of plus-size people.
What advice would you give aspiring fashion designers?
Think beyond yourself. Design for a community and a community will be built around your designs.