Nadia Gohar has a petite frame, angelic features and an air of cool about her that means she can pull off anything, even the most testing of trends. That said, you won’t find Nadia following trends, in fact, she purposely eschews them. “Sometimes I think people in the Middle East are too brand-focused,” she says. “If I could change anything, I would wish for people to be a little more experimental in terms of what they wear and not just stick to well-known brands.” Rather Nadia – an artist who works primarily in painting, sculpture and installation – is drawn to fashion as a form art and a way to channel her ingenuity. “I’ve always loved to dress up, it’s just another way to express myself and be creative,” she says.
Based between Cairo and Toronto, the 28-year-old creative describes her work “as an examination of hyphenated identity and confronts cultural dislocation through objects, habits and language,” and has been exhibiting internationally since graduating university in 2012. This March, Nadia is “excited to be included in an upcoming group exhibition in London as part of the Arab Women Artists Now (AWAN) festival,” as well as presenting her first solo exhibition at SOIL Gallery in Seattle this June.
Describing her style as “a mix between ultra-feminine and school boyish,” she loves big silhouettes and shapes. “I have a lot of basics in my closet but also a lot of more playful and exaggerated forms. I love collared shirts, big puffy sleeves, ruffles, over-sized pants, utilitarian uniforms, two-piece ensembles...” The list goes on.
She doesn’t conform to any rules when dressing, preferring instead the unpredictability of approaching her wardrobe without any preconceived ideas of the outcome. “Sometimes the best outfits happen when you just throw everything together.”
When it comes to retail therapy, Egyptian-born Nadia has an appreciation for discovering niche and new-to-the-scene designers. “I love supporting my talented friends and wearing their clothes. My two friends Mona Koocheck and Tania Martins have a label called Markoo in Toronto, which I absolutely love; and my other good friend Farida Naguib started The King’s Mother in Cairo a few years ago, and she makes amazingly versatile women’s blazers.”
On the international circuit, she turns to Simone Rocha and Molly Goddard for their unabashedly feminine designs with that cool-girl stamp of approval. “I’ve also recently learnt about Cecilie Bahnsen from Copenhagen whose clothes I love,” she says. “I think what draws me to all these different designers is how sculptural their clothes are. All of these brands are also great examples of women who make clothes for other women, and do it incredibly well.”
Nadia Gohar Wears Cos Blouse, Vintage Trousers And Shoes, Simone Rocha Socks, All Nadia’s Own.
Photography: Aisha Al Shabrawy. Production: Snap14. Words: Elaine Lloyd-Jones. Hair: Rafi At Mohamed El Sagheer. Make-Up: Soha Khoury. With Thanks To Bawabat: Agritourism And Retreats.