No easy feat! Egyptian designer hand colors sneakers one pair at a time
Nada Kabil custom designs the drawings for each customer. (Courtesy of Step Feed)
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Colors, lines and patterns take over the spreading white landscape in order to revive and distinguish it. Whether it is a whirling dervish or a dazzling elephant, anything can be captured and any pair of shoes can become a piece of art.
Nada Kabil is a young art enthusiast that decided to break the solid restraints of art and the underestimating stereotype that downgrades doodling. Kabil had always had a pair of frantic hands that could not stop doodling on any tangible surface; it only took a while before she realised that art has many forms and media.
Art is said to be an elaborate method of expression, while shoes are a common female obsession, which is why Inkrypt is becoming a serious phenomena in the worlds of fashion and art. The brand is basically a method to express your thoughts through art, then wear it on your feet.
Daily News Egypt met the young artist, who single-handedly embarked on a new trend that is vanquishing plain old kicks, to know more about her talent and rising brand.
When did you begin drawing?
I don’t think I began to actually draw or knew I could draw until I went to university, but starting from a very young age no blank piece of paper was ever safe, because I would doodle all over it, whether I did it intentionally or not.
My textbooks and notebooks at school would be filled with doodles, I’d doodle all over napkins while speaking on the phone and I’ve even learnt to take a sketchbook with me to any meetings, because doodling actually makes me concentrate.
Why did you choose shoes as your medium?
I’ve always had a thing for weird, funky shoes. And I was known for always making my shoes a little bit funkier, with colorful shoelaces, drawings or whatever came to mind. I remember a friend sent me Inkrypt’s page after I’d launched it and asked me “Is this yours? Because if it isn’t, it should be!”
When did you design your first shoes?
I made my first pair last September as a gift to one of my friends. It was her birthday and I have a thing for handmade gifts. She’d always had trouble finding her shoe size and so I ordered a white pair her size from the UK and a pack of colors and decided to make her something special, customised just for her. It was mainly patterns and doodling all over the shoe.
What makes your designs stand out amongst all the competition?
When I started out there were no competitors, and it was the concept itself that grabbed people’s attention. Even now, with a few competitors entering the market, I still feel my inkies are unique. Each pair has a completely different style and the fact that you can customise anything makes them really stand out. I mean if you already have a love for shoes, imagine how much more you’d love your shoes if they had bits and parts of you all over them!
Are you planning to expand into other items?
Yes, definitely, it’s been in the plan since the very start, but I’ve been waiting to at least find a reliable supplier to provide me with shoes and have it under control before moving on to other things.
I’m lucky enough to have two main artists helping me out now, Sara Abdelazim and Hoda Enan, and I also have two others who help when they’re free or I am swamped, Nada Lotayef and Nawarra Mehrem. To be honest, without this incredibly talented and supportive group of helping hands, Inkrypt wouldn’t have gotten where it is today.
So hopefully, if I manage to find a reliable source of shoes, which constantly provides me with the amount needed, I will start expanding on to other items (stay tuned).
Would you categorise your work as art or fashion?
Isn’t fashion classified as art to begin with? I mean I’ve always seen fashion as a sense of art through clothing. And like all kinds of art, some of it is valuable and everyone has their own taste. To me, of course they are little pieces of art that break my heart to part with, but it makes me happy knowing that the person wearing them will smile every time they look down at their feet.
To what extent do you involve your clients in the designing process?
It is completely up to them. Some people choose designs I’ve already made and I just tweak it a little bit to make each pair unique, while others send me inspiration images and tell me what they have in mind and I make an artistic composition according to their theme. There are people who open up to me and tell me so much about themselves or their loved ones in the attempt of making me understand them and making them something that fits their personality perfectly, and that just makes me feel so special. Those conversations and their faith in me to do whatever I want after they’ve given me their insight is just so precious.