by Lucy Rance
Noor Shubar is a ridiculously talented crochet connoisseur, beauty queen and self-made girlboss. She spends hours upon hours crocheting the most beautiful pieces by hand. Of course she had to be our next Woman Crush Wednesday, because her work deserves your full attention! We predict her brand is gonna blow up this year. I chatted to Noor about all things crochet, going vegan and starting a brand.
Your crochet pieces are just incredible, you are so talented! When did you learn to crochet?
"Well, I was always interested in fashion since I was really young. I'd be sitting there illustrating during reading time at primary school. During art class, while everyone was painting or making stuffed animals, I was creating clothing. However, I always preferred making things by hand than with a machine. I really wanted to feel the labour. Thus, I delved a little into what goes on in global sweatshop - the poor, unethical working environments and ridiculously inadequate pays. I wanted to understand and touch the hard work and the dedication behind the very items that adorn our bodies, almost ignorantly.
As the only girl in my art class exploring textiles, the supervisor was really excited as she herself had studied textiles at uni. One day she brought in some yarn with her, but no sticks. She showed me how to finger-knit and pencil-knit and I got the hang of it really quickly. I was the first student to hold a fashion show at my school! Eventually, although I was still very excited and in love with making clothes, due to the lack of parental support I went on to study Psychology at university."
We don't believe having a degree is absolutely necessary to becoming a successful business woman - did you go to uni and do you feel the same way?
"Although I am currently in my final year of uni, I believe you really don't have to have a degree to be a business woman and you CAN pursue creative passions outside of full-time education. I attended my first year of London Fashion Week when I was in first year, and I was really wide-eyed and in awe of the many scenes within the industries and the doors I watched open before me. I met a lot of people at LFW, including photographers I started shooting with. These collaborations and test shoots helped increase my confidence and gain recognition as I birthed a brand for myself. People would regularly ask me where I got my clothes from, and most of the time either I'd made it, or I'd customised it some way. So this is when I really started thinking, hmm.. maybe I should start selling some of my creations. That summer, I picked up some yarn again and taught myself how to crochet. I woke up one day and decided: you know what? I'm going to go ahead and open up an Etsy store today. And I did. And admirers of my craft started rolling in."
We love love people who make a business out of an idea/hobby! Has crocheting become your full time job?
"I started a proper website and established my brand 'Noorvana' 1 year ago. Noorvana is a vegan-friendly, one-(wo)man fashion brand, specialising in crochet clothing. The time it takes to make my pieces range between 5 to around 60 hours depending on the intricacy and size of the item I'm making (don't even get me started on full-sleeved maxi dresses!) With only 2 months left of uni, I'm forced to contemplate my future plans and career path(s). Honestly, I would absolutely love to crochet as a full time job! Yes, I have developed a hunch-back. But also, yes, I have compromised my creativity so that I can balance time between doing uni, having some sort of social life, creating pieces for the site, catering to custom orders, meeting up with people for shoots, and have some me-time so I don't die!"
What are your goals and aspirations for the next few years? what do you hope to achieve with your brand?
"With my brand, I hope to achieve at least enough recognition so that I can really make statements regarding sweatshops, what it means to support independent brands vs commercial brands, veganism & vegan styling (one of the challenges of the transition to veganism may be 'ah, now what can I and can I not wear?!') There is a thrill that comes with seeing how people style your work, the way they make it adorn their bodies. It's their senses coming together to agree or disagree on a personal visual representation of their mental idea. It's their interpretation of poetry, that may not be in alignment with the intention of the poet. It's their perspective of what colours and textures and details makes a sum of satisfaction."
You can check out some of Noor's work below - spot the baby pink two piece on Jorja Smith! GO GIRL! Let this inspire you to turn your hobby into a career...
Don't forget to follow Noor on Instagram & check out her online store.