Norah Oyam: Italian Accessories with an African Twist - The Accessories Brand of the NOW!
August 19, 2017
"As an essential companion to a woman, a handbag is never chosen at random. It has to satisfy daily requirements as well as each woman's desires" - Norah Oyam, Founder
Rarely do I find an accessories brand nowadays that catches my attention. Amidst a world where countless brands continuously churn out new models of handbags, make us clutch at current purses and tighten our waists with modernised belts... it's a minefield for any emerging brand...
But Norah Oyam has managed to break through the barriers and well and truly step into the spotlight.
The story of the woman behind the brand...
Norah Oyam travelled for a long time through the major capitals of the world. And from exploring the links of Paris, Rome, London and New York, she became inspired to curate a brand that embodied both attractive and practical uses. The idea to create a brand that produced Italian leathers, hand-made workmanship, fashionable colours and - most uniquely of all - names that are reminiscent of her African background for each model.
I caught up with Norah personally to learn more about her history, her vision of the brand today and for the future to come... read below.
Or go straight to the official website of the brand to explore the models of purses, bags and more HERE.
Interview with Norah Oyam
When do you remember first loving design, accessories and fashion?
I recall I was a little girl, 10 years old, our neighbor, a good friend of my mother and a lovely woman was a talented famous tailor, she used to design ready-to-wear outfits for the 1st lady of the country and also for the neighbourhood. I used to hang out there for hours when I was on vacation or even after school (after doing my homework), chatting with the tailors, watching them, assisting them on doing small tasks I could do to ease their work because I was so in love with fashion and design.
Starting a brand that stands out from the crowd is so difficult nowadays... how did YOU first start your brand?
I started the brand 4 years ago, at first sight made a business plan and then looked for a production plant. I have to admit that this step was the most tough to achieve. It was a struggle as most of the the plants that I contacted would not work with me either because I was a woman or because the project seemed too complicated for them. In the end one my friend introduced me to a family in Italy who owns a factory so we started working along together in 2013.
"It was a struggle as most of the the plants that I contacted would not work with me either because I was a woman..." - Proving Norah is a strong woman with intent and a vision #WomanPower
Who are your inspirations for the aesthetic of your brand?
I take inspiration from classical Italian brands such as Prada and Gucci. Italian brands have such quality in their work; the tannery of leather and also for the craftsmanship.
Your choice of colours are very natural and chic, do you ever envisage doing bolder colours in the future?
Bolder colours in the future? Definitely yes! Working in an area where competition is fierce motivates me much to challenge myself to be even more inventive because I like challenges!
Where can people find your purses online?
People can find our purses line on our store www.norahoyam.com, we ship worldwide.
We also have pop-up store during events such as Fashion Week, during different events in Monaco and in Belgium. Aiming in the future to have brand distributor in the capitals of Fashion such as London, New-York etc.
"Working in an area where competition is fierce motivates me... I like challenges!"
Amazing! And finally... What do you see for the future of Norah Oyam?
My vision and my goals for the future of "Norah Oyam Fashion" Brand is to be established in big capitals of fashion and also to be known as a brand who produces the best quality of leather goods in the respect of our environment. Actually our first collection which is actually in the market is all made with genuine leather and tanned without chemicals.
"I want Norah Oyam to be known as a brand who produces the best quality of leather goods in the respect of our environment."
So, as you can see, the brand Norah Oyam is far more than 'just an accessories label'. Oyam is a fierce and powerful woman who has followed her dream and never given up - taking every challenge she has met along the way with confidence and intelligence alike.
It's worth noting how inspirational an individual Norah is - and in more ways than one. She didn't study fashion design in school. No, originally, she is a business woman who chose to work in the fashion industry because of her passions she didn't let go of since her childhood., Not only is she a business woman and a fashion inspiration, but she is also a mother of two grown children; it also goes without saying that she is inspirational to overcoming gender and racial discrimination by being a woman originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa.
The vision is in place, the marks are met, and now it's the long distance race into the future for Norah Oyam and her brand. And I don't think I'm alone in saying that I can hardly wait to see what the future holds!
Discover the collections
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