This week I had the opportunity to meet up with a representative from Norma Ishak. This luxury brand based in Lebanon specializes in knitwear accessories that are stitched by hand to perfection from top quality luxury yarns and materials. Norma’s brand is new to the United States but her reputation precedes her. She is known for designing products for royal families and has been in the business of making luxury accessories for the past 30 years. She began designing as a young girl. At 15 Norma had already begun to experiment with pattern making and creating custom pieces. Her passion for knitting started out as a hobby of hers and later grew into a full blown label. The reason Norma decided to concentrate on scarves was because she felt a beautiful piece of neckwear could complete any look.
As a young girl Norma made pieces for friends and family and over time people within her community began to notice her flawless craftsmanship and taste. She crafts all of her pieces from vintage one-of-a-kind- yarns that she has in her personal collection. These yarns that are the life of her designs are acquired from all over the world and are carefully inspected to insure that they are of the utmost quality.
Not only does Norma hand knit and design each individual piece, but she also has good intentions. Women who work under Norma use knitting as a way to gain independence and a sense of self and each woman has her own special piece she works on. This allows them to get out of their normal household environments and express themselves.
A few photos from the meeting:
Jac wearing a few pieces.
Can you believe those beads are actually made of yarn?
One of my favorite pieces. I adore french lace.
More of the collection:
The New Yorker Collection
The Slater Collection
The 54 Collection
The Angora Collection
The One Of A Kind Collection
(All images copywright of Norma Ishak)
After meeting Norma’s daughter Valerie Mouawad, I decided to get a little bit more in depth and figure out more about her mother and her inspirations. Here are a few questions for you the readers:
What inspired your mother to exclusively focus on knitwear?
-Norma likes to focus on knitwear and accessories because she feels it completes a look. Each individual stitch is handcrafted with precision and yarn is a very versatile medium to work in. It can create all kinds of textures and stitches and allows a lot of creativity.
What inspirations did you have in mind while designing your collection?
-There isn’t one general collection. It’s almost like a bunch of mini collections all with their each individual appeal. Norma assigns a woman to a certain stitch and then that woman expands on the stitch and style and does it in several different color schemes. There is no one source of inspiration Norma designs according to what’s inspiring her that moment. This can be any number of things.
Was your mother inspired by any other well known designers as a child?
– She absolutely loves Chanel. That definitely has to be her favorite. Also YSL is another great brand she admires.
Where do you acquire your materials from and what does the process entail?
– A lot of the yarn and materials Norma has are from her personal vintage stock she’s collected over the years. Norma scours many different parts of the world to find the finest materials and just adds them to her personal collection.
How long has the brand been an active label?
– It’s been active for several years. We are more prominent in Lebanon but we are now branching out to the U.S. and have our online store up. We’re looking for a permanent location in New York City as well.
Many thanks to Valerie from Norma Ishak. It was great meeting up and seeing the collection and it defintely made me a fan. If you’d like to shop Norma Ishak simply go to www.normaishak.com.
-Angelena at Hipster Scum