Thursday July 25th, 2024
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Nadine Mossallam is The Kuwaiti-Egyptian Artist Celebrating Raw Beauty

A story of finding home and the importance of art, Kuwaiti-Egyptian designer Nadine Mossallam’s creations are a celebration of life, authenticity, and ‘broken’ beauty.

Ziyad El-Helbawy

Nadine Mossallam is The Kuwaiti-Egyptian Artist Celebrating Raw Beauty

“Abundance doesn't always require an abundance of resources; it stems from knowing you possess everything you need. The simple belief in the power of the smallest actions can work wonders."

In a world that often insists on the pursuit of perfection and a uniformity of vision, Nadine Mossallam stands as a testament to fashion's diverse, multicultural potential. Hailing from Egypt, born in Kuwait, and raised in Dubai, this fashion designer and artist reshapes the industry with creations that seamlessly blend minimalistic aesthetics with a captivating allure. Her story transcends fashion; it's a narrative of art, a life that's navigated diverse paths with unyielding determination, and an exaltation of imperfections. 
Within Nadine Mossallam's fashion creations, we discover a harmonious fusion of simplicity, sensuality, and inclusivity. Her designs epitomise timeless elegance, invoking an affinity for 1990s silhouettes and minimalist, form-fitting garments. These are pieces that not only celebrate diverse body types but also exude an irresistible charm. They possess a sleek, inviting quality that emanates from their flattering shapes and universally appealing aesthetics.

Nadine's journey into the world of fashion was a serendipitous one. Armed with little more than a few pieces of fabric, she set out to create a single dress. Today, that fortuitous moment has blossomed into a thriving eponymous label and a successful brand. However, her path to this success was far from linear, shaped by a multicultural upbringing that traverses continents and adds depth to her creative vision.

Mossallam's early years in Dubai were infused with a sense of awe and luxury. "I was just so amazed by life there and the level of luxury permeating the air. I was exposed to all of that luxury at a young age - so many beautiful garments and glamour all around.” she recalls.

However, her journey didn't conclude in Dubai. Nadine Mossallam's pursuit of self-discovery carried her to Toronto, where she embarked on her fashion education. Ironically, the structured environment of fashion school didn't quite align with her free-spirited soul. "I was a dreamer, and I struggled to tell my story there," she confides. The next stop? London. 

Nadine's perspective on life is deeply influenced by her multicultural upbringing. "I get to see my friends in different parts of the world, and I love witnessing their unique lives – what they wear to work, how they live. It has led me to the conclusion that all women are more or less the same, they value the same things and feel the same way - that's the beauty of being exposed to so much of the world," she reflects.

Dubai instilled in her a sense of entitlement, Toronto emphasised the value of community, friendship, and embracing differences, while London underscored the importance of hard work and critical thinking. Yet, it was in Egypt that Nadine discovered an unexpected sense of home and belonging, a feeling she hadn't realised she was searching for. "I used to think I would never belong anywhere, until I realised I could fit into so many places…I am a melting pot of everywhere I have ever been," she acknowledges. 

When Mossallam first witnessed the fashion scene in Cairo, she was struck by an overwhelming sense of untapped potential that had yet to be fully realised. This revelation marked the beginning of a transformative journey.

Her journey was catalysed by an encounter with designer Heba Sweedy, from whom Nadine gleaned valuable insights into Cairo's fashion industry. She gained hands-on experience during Cairo Fashion Week, where she detected substantial potential. However, she also noticed a prevailing emphasis in Egypt on 'making something' rather than prioritising the pursuit of excellence. This observation further fueled her determination to drive change. 

"I was talking to a mentor of mine who oversees a fashion program, and he remarked, 'Nadine, you can’t just change the industry in Egypt.' To which I simply replied, 'Just watch me.'"

Slowly but surely, an opportunity emerged as she crossed paths with Sweedy and her dedicated team. Without hesitation, Nadine sought permission to produce her work in their factory, embracing the unexpected with unwavering faith. Armed with only three suitcases brimming with fabric, and with the world doubting her sanity, Mossallam embarked on an audacious adventure. She set herself the ambitious goal of creating an entire collection in just one month.

"I took a very big leap of faith, packed three suitcases filled with fabric, told everyone I was going to Egypt, and everyone told me I was crazy..."

Mossallam's journey in Egypt unveiled a humbling realisation: her previous understanding had been confined to Western perspectives. Upon her return to London, she passionately extolled the brilliance of Egypt and its people, emphasising their potential and the profound beauty that could be harnessed. Her experiences underscored the quest to harmonise Western influences with Middle Eastern heritage, forging a unique identity as a true melting pot of her diverse life experiences.

Defying conventional wisdom, Nadine Mossallam boldly embraced a path she was advised against. She acknowledges the challenges of swimming against the current but finds immense reward in doing so...“Everything I do is everything that I was taught not to do…It’s hard to go against the grain, but it’s rewarding.”

Subsequent to witnessing Dubai’s commercial approach to fashion, Mossallam learned to find allure in imperfections and the unexpected. Instead of shying away from oddities or age, she cherishes them as carriers of stories. Against the backdrop of London's relentless pursuit of conventional beauty standards, Nadine stands firm, demanding that those who enter her world embrace the importance of self-love.

To her, beauty transcends the manufactured; it resides in the natural and the organic. In Egypt, she discovered a profound resonance with beauty's raw imperfections, finding solace and healing in the abundant flaws of the land. "Egypt is perfect with its imperfections; beauty there is abundant and raw - I find that very healing…" Mossallam shares with Scene Styled. This journey has imbued Nadine with a deep appreciation for the authenticity that resides in the imperfect, a lesson she beautifully weaves into her artistic expression.

“I have to love myself enough to tell you to love yourself enough - beauty to me is in the natural, the organic.”

In addition to her contributions to the world of fashion, Nadine Mossallam is a multifaceted artist who finds another avenue for self-expression in the world of sculpture. Her artistic creations transcend the confines of fashion, allowing her to sculpt her thoughts and emotions into tangible forms. These sculptures, much like her fashion designs, mirror her perspective on beauty, imperfections, and the natural world. They extend beyond the wearable and into the realm of the arts, forming a seamless connection between her diverse creative endeavours.

With a multicultural background and a profound appreciation for the authenticity found in imperfections, Mossallam envisions a new era for Egyptian fashion—one that wholeheartedly embraces diversity and self-expression, and that reveres the beauty of raw imperfections. In her relentless pursuit to redefine the fashion scene in Egypt, Nadine Mossallam is positioned to leave an indelible mark on the industry, inspiring a new generation of designers to dream boldly.

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