Melika Dahlouk, coming from a background of humanitarian work and development projects with United Nations and NGOs, has never thought of working as a designer. Yet, has always cultivated a strong interest in the creativity of all art forms and fashion. As she worked in different countries and cultures, she saw and understood the importance of talented craftsmanship and their lifestyle.
NUMA plays into conscious and sustainable fashion in many different aspects. Melika explains, “We strive to select and support the artisans throughout their work from providing tools to allocating apprentices in order to sustain their production and create new generations of gifted artisans.”
Melika adds, “In addition to empowering artisans and giving a new life to traditional heritage, we strive to preserve the environment, and all the materials we use are sustainable.”
“They are made to last.”
Melika speaks of her goal as creating timeless and beyond trends pieces. NUMA is to make a statement of limiting overproduction, as it is to create accessories that can last for a long period of time.
“All accessories are particularly versatile. Any NUMA items can be added to give an extraordinary lift to a simple T-shirt or to an evening gown, and take us from the beach to a party. That versatility is very important in the creative process.”
Working in the development field for 25 years has allowed and built Melika’s contribution in regards to consciousness. NUMA is her latest project that represents her heart and mind in generating ideas and creating a ‘share’ environment with the children and people around the world.
Do your views on society and social behaviors reflect in your work?
Definitely, we mention specific messages of hope and peace and sustainability within the items we produce, sometimes engraved or embossed.
And, we have been an actor of the slow fashion movement since our inception, never following trends and always creating and advocating timeless style.
This has been very challenging especially during European trade shows, but this is who we are and we believe lasting objects with soul are a new luxury and real value.
Would you say most people are affected by the aspect of sustainability and consciousness purely because of the current fashion trends?
When looking at environmental projects half a century ago, people were mostly talking about ideas, and nowadays, environment protection is an urgent need as well as a market.
Unfortunately, this is how things move faster, and ethical fashion is an interpretation of a need as well as a market. Nevertheless, I can really feel that people are tired of consumerism and meaningless accumulation of things. As for any other developments issues, big companies use buzzwords and weaken key messages, damaging the image and impact of serious and dedicated smaller companies and institutions.
How would you recommend consumers to become more sustainably aware?
Check how things are made – production conditions should even be superior to “fair trade”, and ideally using recycled or up cycled materials. Buy less, buy better.
From not ever thinking of becoming a designer, Melika Dahlouk has experienced and learned many aspects from her development projects that led her to build her own empire of sustainable and ethical design. Never underestimate the impact of one’s experience, Melika is a perfect example of how learning, knowledge, and involvement can influence one’s perspective and be. With her past and beliefs, NUMA has a strong background and support in its identity and ethical representation.