At the tender age of 24, Kuwaiti visual artist, Najd AlTaher is gathering pace as an influencer of a different kind. To give you a glimpse into her successes, she graduated with Honors from the American University of Kuwait, has celebrated two solo exhibitions – Fulfillment, 2016 and Alyaqeen, 2017, both at Kuwait’s Dar AlFunoun Gallery – and has won the Crossway Foundation Award twice, which promotes creative collaborations between young people in the UK and the Middle East. And this year, Najd is taking part in AWAN – the Arab Women Artist Now exhibition in London. Just as she sculpts her point of view on social issues through her artwork, her personal style also acts as a conveyor of her identity. “People usually tell me that my sense of style is always the first thing that gets their attention and attracts them,” she says. “It’s helped me a lot in the sense that people know from the way dress, that I have a specific taste. It also projects and shows that I am an intellectual, confident person with a strong personality and that’s exactly what I want people to perceive.”
“I shop whenever I get the chance to,” she tells Bazaar, dipping into the likes of Bloomingdale’s, Harvey Nichols and Four Concept, as well as thrift stores. Najd has a “love and hate” relationship with trends. At the moment she’s expressing a lot of the former and confesses to “obsessing” over Prada’s S/S18 collection. “I can picture myself in literally every piece,” she smiles, listing her favourites, which include a statement pink and black trench and a heavily embellished leather coat with comic strip printed across the chest – fashion as art. She also references the often avant-garde creations of Raf Simons and Maison Martin Margiela as “offering a lot of options that satisfy my personal taste.”
Unsurprisingly Najd bucks the trend for collecting designer bags and eschews luxury watch brands in favour of her Apple watch – “it’s such a convenient invention and it helps me a lot in my everyday routine.” The most prized possessions in her wardrobe include a vintage black fedora hat, which she describes as becoming “a part of her personality,” her Agyness Deyn Dr. Martens boots, and her “mother’s vintage Christian Lacroix jacket.”
Her mother also happens to be her style icon. “I discovered fashion and most importantly style through her wardrobe. Her sense of style and the way she combines colours in her outfits always have, and still amaze and inspire me,” she muses, adding that as an artist she also gets influenced by “architecture, music and everyday people.”
In her home city of Kuwait, the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Centre (Opera House), is buzzing with sartorial stimulation. “People always dress up in their finest there and it shows even in the smallest details. It’s so chic and inspiring.”
Najd AlTaher wears David Koma dress, Zara coat, vintage belt and Atsuko Kudo boots, all Najd’s own.
Photography: Faisal Al Bisher. Hair and make-up: The Parlor Salon in Salmiya