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NourZen Lights Up Alchemy

Conor Sheils meets jewellery designer Nagwa El Alfy as she sets up shop at Alchemy as part of their rotating artist residency programme and finds out her plans for global domination.

It's not often that we find an Egyptian designer making waves in Milan. However, when we caught up with Nagwa El Alfy to discuss her latest jewellery collection under her label, NourZen, at Alchemy's art-space-cum-restaurant-cum-bar in Mohandessin, we found out that her line has already been turning heads in Italy's fashion capital. It has been just three years since El Alfy began designing her own jewellery range but already her work is taking the industry by storm.

As I meet her, she is warm, friendly and obviously has a strong passion for what does."I always design pieces based on what I myself would wear so it is a real honour that they've been so well received," she explains, as we settle down for a late brunch at Alchemy's weekly There's Something Bloody About Mary event. "The inspiration for my pieces comes from everywhere, a picture, a woman in the street, a moment in time - anything." El Alfy certainly drew in a crowd as she debuted her current collection as part of Alchemy's rotating artist residency programme. Mixing precious and semi-precious stones with all sorts of materials from metals to fabrics, NourZen is undeniably unique, and requires a very particular taste or mood, as El Alfy, herself, admits: "I fall in and out of love with pieces - like a romantic affair. Then I move on - and I start work on something else."

Already quite the character, El Alfy becomes animated as she talks about a trip to Milan to showcase her work to fashion's best and brightest. "I took my work to Milan and I went to a local shop there to showcase my designs. They immediately bought everything I had in stock! It was a fantastic feeling," she recalls. The collection currently on display comprises of around 50 pieces and will be showcased at Alchemy throughout Febraury. El Alfy added that she feels now is a more important time than ever before to show off Egyptian talent to the world. "We need to promote a positive image of Egypt abroad. Egyptians are a very stylish people and I think now is an excellent time to show the world what we can do," she says, excitedly. "I am an Egyptian woman, this is me, my style and I want to show it to the world."
The latest NourZen collection is on display at Alchemy until the end of February. For more information visit their Facebook fan page here and follow @AlchemyEgypt on Twitter