Conceptualised by two 28-year-olds, Saudi born Nour Al Tamimi and her co-designer Lebanese-born Basma Chidiac, The Nou Project is a limited edition line of sneakers designed in collaboration with up-and-coming artists. The result of a meeting of minds and appreciation for fashion and art, the first collection presents only 300 pairs by emerging arists Nydia Lilian from Mexico, James Rawson from the UK and Rex Chouk from Saudi Arabia.
“The Nou Project was actually my final thesis at Sotheby’s. I had to come up with a business plan to benefit the art world,” explains Nour. “The idea of using sneakers as a platform to have limited edition art actually came to me when I moved to NY during my last semester and I was fascinated by both sneaker culture and street art.” The girls met at Coachella festival in 2014 – “I remember meeting Basma for the first time at Coachella, and the first thing that she told me was that I looked like Nancy Ajram” – and became firm friends.
Basma, who had just graduated from Parsons School of Art and Design, had finished working on a Marchesa fashion show when Nour told about the project. Instantly hooked, they started to work on it alongside their day jobs, and the rest is history. “For now, our limited editions stop at 300. In the future depending on the artist, we might make an exclusive 50 pairs or 200 or even 500, it will all depend on the collaboration,” says Basma. “Our collections are meant to turn our buyers into collectors. We want them to feel like they are able to buy and collect artwork from artists they love and give it life by wearing them on the moving canvas that is footwear. They are able to own artwork that will not cost them anything to move.”
The Nou Project launches this month at Thenouproject.com