JCR: What does NAUM stand for?
WK: Above all else NAUM is about exploring future possibilities within the context of luxury fashion. Our work is inspired by our respect for tradition and the history of clothing. The first collection was developed finding new solutions in interpreting classical concepts. NAUM is also the name of our patron and owner of the company, Kosta Naum.
JCR: At a time when fashion innovators are stepping away from the industry, why do we need a new brand?
JJ: We believe that the NAUM launch is coming at a very opportune moment in fashion, where a paradigm shift must occur to present new possibilities for the consumer. In the future, innovation must come through the incorporation of technology, with luxe fabrics and construction methods creating a new relationship with the wearer. This is what NAUM hopes to accomplish as it establishes itself as a new global luxury brand.
JCR: What’s new about NAUM? Where does the luxury come in?
WK: What’s new about our brand is how we intend to incorporate divergent technologies within the context of luxury fabrics and how it relates to the end user. We really think the term luxury has lost its true meaning in the last few years. Luxury to us isn’t about a price point, or using the finest cashmeres. The true concept of luxury is where meticulous attention and care is given to the craft of fashion, and the thought that goes into the construction of a garment, and ultimately how it applies to the life of our customer.
JCR: Discuss the technological component of the brand.
JJ: Right now we’re working with mills, which are developing new fabrics to address the way the body cools itself or retains heat, and combining them with fabrics from classical luxury mills like amazing doubleface cashmeres, mohairs with new treatments, metal satins made of cotton, and 100% recovery stretch fabrics. As we go forward, we’re working with researchers from outside the field of fashion to do joint ventures with some of our favorite mills in creating new fabrics with technological features embedded in the fibers. There are just so many new developments in fiber technology which have no fashion applications. Our intention is to incorporate these ideas into our work, while staying committed to the classic principles inherent in luxury fashion.
JCR: What are some of the fabrics you’ve launched with? And what’s in store for future fabric innovation?
JJ: Our first collection was really to create the identity of the house within the context of luxury, so we went back to the beginning if you will, and started with the classics. We thought that this was a logical platform from which to begin the dialogue with our customers. We think it’s not possible to move forward unless we can first acknowledge our heritage, and this represents the core of the debut collection. The opportunities in future fabric innovations are endless. And the secrets of the past provide even more possibility.
JCR: Do you see NAUM as a slow boil to success, or is it timed for land grabbing at a rapid pace?
WK: All good things require time to cultivate, as fashion history has proven.
JCR: Though restructuring, the fashion conglomerates are still there. How do you plan to compete?
JJ: For sure through a new approach to design and innovation, and how these two ideas unite. Our main criteria are to offer a new dialogue in what luxury will mean in the future. These days a trip to the outer limits of the earth’s atmosphere is considered luxury. We’re interested in what this could mean in our work and in our relationship with our customer. We also believe that launching a collection with many product categories like wovens, knits, and shoes gives us the opportunity to offer various prices and options to our customers. Next season we will expand this to include a full line of handbags and leather goods.
JCR: Who should be knocking down your door to get in their store?
JCR: Where is the label sitting in the stores?
WK: As close to the snack bar as possible.
JCR: I see a host of brands really juggling the global currency issue. Is that a NAUM concern?
JJ: Being an American house, we will circumvent a lot of the issues related with this, but since we do have product made in Europe, of course it’s a concern. Especially when we’re starting up without the advantages of a solid infrastructure to compete in. But in the end, the product must speak for itself, and today’s sophisticated customers understand the values inherent in good design which is produced with care.
JCR: NAUM, American or European?
WK: Our heritage can clearly be seen in our work. Julia is German, and I’m Afghan and Turkish. It gives the collection a universal energy. But we’re also very much of an American brand in the sense that we see our work transcending borders of style and culture. This is the only way that any concept can exist in the future.
For more information, contact Waleed Khairzada
Photos: Looks from NAUM’s debut collection