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Anisa Noormohamed debuts NISI couture with touch of East
Oct '09
When deciding what to wear, many women are faced with the daunting task of reconciling their professional and personal lives. Anisa Noormohamed strongly believes that clothing choices need not be limited to a particular space, but rather should allow the contemporary woman to move comfortably within the various spaces which she negotiates on a daily basis. "I am essentially my demographic - a woman who has to wear many masks on a daily basis and needs a quick way to transition between them," says Noormohamed, who was raised in a traditional Pakistani household on the city's North Side.

NISI's choice of vibrant colors, asymmetrical lines, and sharply tailored cuts weave together Noormohamed's feminist ideals, progressive Muslim-American identity, and innovative style with the affordability and versatility often sought in an eclectic wardrobe designed to sweep a woman from the boardroom to an exciting night on the town. NISI's avant-garde pieces, offered in layered sets allowing a woman to shift from professional to casual, are the "creative expression" of the University of Chicago graduate's thesis, which focused on the reconciliation of modern feminism with pre-existing cultural and religious norms.

While hints of modern Lahore and Dubai may subtly flavor the NISI collection, Noormohamed's dedication to women's empowerment extends far beyond the needles and bolts of fashion. Noormohamed and her renowned Chicago architect/interior designer husband, Suhail, have collaborated to present NISI as a women's empowerment project. Clothing sales from NISI will benefit the building of secular schools for girls in the earthquake devastated regions of Kashmir as part of Suhail's non-profit endeavor, Actual Size Global.

"This project is a dream. . .I can produce art in an industry that I love while benefiting a cause that I am committed to," says Noormohamed, who is an activist and humanitarian herself and has worked with several women's rights organizations throughout the world before embarking on this project. Noormohamed spent 2006/2007 traveling throughout the Middle East conducting her research on feminist ideals in a society heavily laden with pre-existing norms. "My work has inspired me greatly, and I hope to travel with Suhail every summer to help educate young girls and provide women with skills that they would otherwise not have access to."

Anisa Noormohamed

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