Nadine Kanso Talks Design, Identity and Women Empowerment

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Designer, photographer and entrepreneur Nadine Kanso is a role model and an inspiration. Her hard work, unique flair and raw passion show distinctly in her designs and photographs. Lebanese born, she is currently active in the UAE, and she draws inspiration from both her hometown and her current surroundings. We speak to her to find out more about her incredible work.

As a photographer, designer and entrepreneur, the various aspects of your work beautifully complement each other. How do you ensure that this happens?

Being the one person who works on both mediums: photography and design, the results will have noticeable similarities and the same DNA. That said, I am a big fan of contrast, so in both you will be able to notice that signature, whether by using boldness with chicness, or strong colors in contrast with plain surfaces.

What were the greatest obstacles you faced when you first started out? How did you overcome them?

I am a person who looks at obstacles more like challenges and am happy to take them on and learn from them.

A journey at work and in life, this is the philosophy I go by. I had to learn the business side from scratch. The same goes for the jewelry side; I had to learn and am still learning. One has to want to learn, and needs to love and enjoy what they do.

You are Lebanese born, but currently live in the UAE. How do you draw inspiration from both places?

Every city has its charms and issues, and these topics will always be an inspiration.

Beirut brings the nostalgia and the socio-political topics for me to be inspired by, and Dubai brings the old and the new, the future of a city.

Both have a lot of contrast for me to tap into.

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Designer and Entrepreneur Nadine Kanso
In your opinion, how can inspiring female entrepreneurs such as yourself implement social change for marginalized women?

We inspire by excelling and loving what we do with all our hearts.

Women are not weak; they are very strong and they need to know that.

Women need to make sure they get education and want to be independent. And they have to want that, and if they do, they will make it.

Women’s rights in the Middle East have been steadily improving. To what do you attribute that, and how do you believe it can be improved upon?

There are huge improvements and the world is obviously more open and louder if I may add. The voices are being heard and new laws are implemented. The generation of young women and men in our region has better knowledge and therefore is making a change.

Your designs beautifully reflect your heritage. How do you implement that?

It is not about heritage, but more about identity, and pride of who we are as Arabs and of our language. This is how it is implemented by the simplicity of its use.

Out of everything you do, which is your favorite thing and why?

I not only like what I do but rather love.

I will not be able to say that I like one more than the other, as each brings out a different aspect or characteristic of who I am as an artist and designer.

What are your future plans?

That is a question that I always answer by saying: Who are we to plan? What is written is written and I am no planner! Especially after this COVID19 situation, no plan is the best plan!

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