nuun, the Multidisciplinary Design Space Conceptualised with Sensitivity and Guided by Feeling

The garments we live our lives in; art and feeling made costume//armour:

The garments we make life in; receptacle-like-archives and mirrors of the then, now and impending moment.

nuun is a moment that represents the design philosophies shared between a mother; Zainab Martin and son; Shaheed Martin. The pieces encompassed within nuun were borne through conversation and moulded with the intention of allowing each to come into being and to unfold as they individually needed to. This is palpably felt in the creations both individually and as a collection. The current pieces were specifically designed for a viewing in Dubai for the month of November 2019, hosted by general 3am/satellite at maisan15 with the official launch of the line coming in 2020. The pieces selected for the viewing are once off introductory pieces to the line and design aesthetics of the brand. The pieces have an ethereal, almost transcendent quality to them, pushing and playing with the boundaries of fashion; they themselves read like enfleshed characters with considered personalities.

Photograph by Jody Brand 

The design space that is nuun pays homage to the cultural histories and lineages that inform both Zainab and Shaheed Martin, while simultaneously freeing both individuals from the containment of cultural homogeneity and subverting stagnant and “boxed in” conceptions of what culture is and can be. As expressed by the founders: “nuun is a moment that represents the beauty in the complexities that is our heritage. In saying this, nuun is not limited to any one of our cultural influences. Coming from a diverse and complex background in South Africa and having lived in parts of the Middle East over the past 20 years, has allowed for us the interaction with various cultures and people that all contribute to our design approach. Through nuun we are finding moments to highlight aspects of these cultures that have informed our identities. The main cultural influence that has to be acknowledged is our Islamic heritage; visible in the silhouettes used in our pieces”. With all fibres and textiles used in the production of the pieces being ethically sourced, in an effort to limit the brand’s carbon footprint; nuun’s strive toward sustainability and social responsibility is indicative of how consciously rooted within society’s current and future moment the multidisciplinary design space is.

Photograph by Imraan Christian 

A contemplation of feeling, a meditation on movement, a conversation with culture, an ode to the poetics of sculptural form; speaking to Shaheed Martin about the name and birthing moments of the design space he had this to say “I have always been attracted to fluid shapes – shapes that seemed continuous or without defined edges. I subconsciously drew a wave-like shape which I had shown to my mother. At this point it was just a shape that we both found aesthetically pleasing. When analysed and separated in equal parts, the shape spelled the word n-u-u-n… coincidently, the word nuun is the Arabic equivalent to the first letter of my fathers’ name”. Speaking in threaded tongues from the space between one another, nuun illicit an intergenerational conversation from a space of relational intimacy; being that of mother and son. “This moment is a very unique interaction which allowed us [Zainab and Shaheed] to break free from the norm that is expected from a mother and son,” a collaboration of aesthetics, philosophy and affect which allowed the space for the transmutation of understanding and perspective. “As an individual (Shaheed), it allowed me the opportunity to understand the inner workings of the creative side to my mothers’ mind. From my perspective as a mother, this moment has allowed for me to unleash ideas that have always existed but I never thought I would have the opportunity to manifest into a reality at this stage in my life”.

Photograph by Jody Brand

Existing out of a necessity to create, share and inspire. Threaded in a grammar of textile, form and fluxes; nuun is a delicate conversation through garments and conceptual design between temporalities, cultures, generations and contemplations of feeling. nuun is a fluid experience, a celebration of all that we are- undefined and unrestricted; everything and nothing and all that exits in between.

Photograph by Imraan Christian

Photograph by Imraan Christian

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