Check out Nour Omar's Marsuma Design products; Chucks and beach bags with customised art pieces lovingly hand-drawn straight onto them - the perfect thing now that summer is nigh!
So there we were, making our mental packing list for our beach weekend, when we realized what we'd been using as a sorry excuse for a beach bag (aka a small leather cross-body bag completely unsuitable for the beach and that also held all of nothing, or a ripped-at-the-seams cotton creation that looked like our dog spent a few hours enjoying it as a chew toy) were no longer acceptable come official summer. As we were doing our daily ignoring of important work and instead scrolling through Instagram, we came across Marsuma Designs, who – SCORE! – nailed it with their hand-crafted beach bags and also happen to create kickass customised Converse shoes as well.
The brand, started by Nour Omar, a Cairo-based artist, essentially began almost as a fluke. "It just started with me doing customised Converse shoes, just painting pop-art images on them or like masterpieces, Van Gogh and stuff, on hi-top sneakers." And people fell head over heels for the artsy creations and the situation spiraled. Soon requests were pouring in for her to custom-design Converse sneakers for people, which then lead to her featuring the footwear art in an exhibition, and the orders just kept coming.
"People kept ordering shoes and coming up with all kinds of stuff for me to paint on them," Omar says. As we obsessively flicked through the Marsuma Designs Instagram account, it's not hard to see why. They're wearable pieces of art, funk on your feet, and just the right amount of artsy-hipster. Plus the fact that they’re handmade and you can work with the artist to design exactly the image you want on your shoes makes them unique standout pieces.
"I realised that people love having accessible art," Omar says simply, "They want to be engaged in customising their own stuff and then they just want to be able to walk out with their art." And that art is also uber comfy. Bonus points. The shoes she's created feature everything from Marilyn Monroe pop art, which Omar says is the most widely requested option, to one person who asked her to draw Tinkerbell on a stripper pole… Hmm, interesting.
With the shoes proving to be such a successful starting point, she decided to venture into beach bag territory, for which we are very grateful, seeing as summer is upon us. All the bags are hand painted images on canvas, which she then takes to a specialised artisan who sews the canvas into the bag and coats it with plastic to make it beach-durable. We love the cool Lichtenstein-inspired beach totes, which come in two sizes. Personally, we’ve got our eye on the larger ones; they're funky and creative, and are intended for the beach but we totally plan on turning them into multi-purpose carry-alls, and best of all (in our alcoholic books anyway) they're big enough to hold your bottle of Absolut.
You can check out Nour Omar's website here, or Marsuma Designs' Instagram account @MarsumaDesigns.