Label nnbynn speaks to female empowerment and identity.
Angham Khalil’s designs are tied to something much larger than herself. “What I focus on is the narrative behind a specific collection,” she explains. The young designer’s label, nnbynn is a play on words. The double letter n refers to the pronunciation of the beginning of her first name, Angham. The latter double n means now in Arabic. Khalil started her brand of elevated streetwear in 2019. Always having dreamt of ideating her own brand, she was propelled by what she had learned during her fashion studies at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design – to design with a story and concept in mind. “For my first collection, I tried to do too many things at once,” Khalil reveals. Khalil created a collection, accompanied by promotional videos and photos before realizing that her content was not resonating with her audience. “I realized I had to start slow and hone in on a concept that would translate,” she continues.
Originally from Bi’na, a village in Northern Israel, Khalil has lived in Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Haifa, where she now resides. She is inspired by Alexander McQueen because of how much is felt while watching his fashion shows. “McQueen created a feeling that adds a layer of the intangible to his designs. It’s what the consumer is after. As a designer, capturing an emotional state is what I strive to do.”
With a new focus, Khalil released a capsule collection of a silk reusable bag and a T-shirt. Printed on the silk bag is the phrase in Arabic, tehrohen bel hana, which means wear it out with pleasure. The very well received collection was shot in Ramallah. The phrase, Khalil explains, is a traditional Palestinian saying whenever someone receives something new. She chose silk for the reusable bag to provide her customers with a touch of something different.
The T-shirt, in a bold pink, has the expression, khayalha waseaa, Arabic for she has a broad imagination, on its front. The saying usually holds a negative connotation and is something Khalil wants to both mock and refute. Khalil recalls hearing this phrase throughout her life when her dreams were deemed unattainable by others. With her capsule collection she has turned this negative voice in her head into a call for self expression. Khalil reminds women that what they have to say is worth being heard and that imagination and creativity should be celebrated.
Another piece in Khalil’s collection, also a T-shirt is an ode to a more political message. Her tee with the words, to a Middle Eastern city in Arabic, ela Madena Sharq awsatya, refers to the dream of residing in a place where the Arabic language can be spoken without judgement. The piece is a representation of the designer’s identity in relation to place, something she feels is constantly challenged. The T-shirt is tied to the feeling of belonging as a Palestinian Arab within Israel and in the larger Arab world.
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