Nadine Kanso of Bil Arabi on Her Inspirations & Love for Her Heritage

  • Publish date: Monday، 26 June 2023
Nadine Kanso of Bil Arabi on Her Inspirations & Love for Her Heritage

Bil Arabi is a jewelry brand that was launched in 2006 and it includes a wide range of products including: rings, necklaces, bracelets, cuffs and earrings that feature Arabic calligraphy in their designs. Bridging the gap between modern designs and traditional Arabic calligraphy, Nadine Kanso, the founder of Bil Arabi, has presented her identity and heritage through her jewelry designs in a way that has not been done before. Since its launch, Bil Arabi has expanded and become popular in the Arab region.

This year, Nadine Kanso became the first Arab designer to collaborate with Guerlain on their infamous Guerlain Bee bottle perfume. Bil Arabi’s notable calligraphy was designed with crystals on limited edition fragrance bottles that read “Love” all over. Proving to be its best year yet, Bil Arabi also opened its first boutique store in May of this year.

Nadine Kanso 01

Nadine Kanso talks to about her inspirations and the future of Bil Arabi.

1. Why did you decide to launch Bil Arabi in 2006?

I started Bil Arabi in 2006 with the mission to create modern and timeless pieces that capture the essence of the Middle East. Growing up in the region, my roots and heritage have always been a major source of inspiration. Bil Arabi is a culmination of my passion for jewelry and my love for the region. I believe that our pieces are not just accessories but symbols of identity and culture. We strive to bridge past and present through our designs and to stay true to our values of craftsmanship, quality and timelessness.

2. Seeing as you are a proud Arab designer who incorporates her identity within her brand, what do you think of the Arab designers who are more willing to hide their identity when they launch their brands?

I find that hard to believe. Every designer in a way or other finds a reflection of themselves in their pieces. It could be that the designers who do so don’t identify as Arabs and that is why it seems like they are hiding their identities. They also might want to appeal to a wider audience.

Luckily, I grew up Arab and was raised to be proud of it.

3. What career advice would you give to someone starting out in the jewelry business?

My advice to aspiring designers is to find their identity and build on it. Once a designer has figured out their identity and what inspires them everything else falls into place.

Also, to be able to compete in such a competitive market one must stand out and have something different to offer. It is also always important to figure out who your audience is and find a narrative that will cater to their needs.

Nadine Kanso 02

4. Since launching in 2006, what has stayed the same so far and what has changed over the years for your brand?

Since its launch, Bil Arabi’s pieces embody the essence and beauty of modern Arabic calligraphy and that has stayed constant.

5. When working on a new collection, where do you find the inspiration for designing?

I believe with every collection inspiration finds me.

Each collection is very special to me and is inspired by a different story, some come from just a word of love, and some come from old Arabic songs and nostalgic memories.

Some of my collections are inspired by the actual beauty of the Arabic letter.

Nadine Kanso 03

6. If you had to pick a favorite collection, which one would it be?

All collections have a special place in my heart, the Hawa collection took me to another world of beauty. But today I will talk about The Hobbi collection. It is a true sentiment to the brand’s exquisite craftsmanship and artistic translation of love and a collection I am very passionate about. I am always inspired by the natural instinct to connect, share, and love, the collection highlights the importance of bonding; these Hobbi masterpieces are made to be shared as experiences of interchanging connections and admiration.

The way I see it, the Hobbi Collection is an extension of a cherished collection by Bil Arabi, its inspiration is drawn from Hobb meaning “love”. Hobbi is meant to embody the sentimental joy of giving and honoring lovers, friends and family members. What’s interesting about this collection is that the creations are playful yet elevated with their harmonious delicate feel, I hope the collection creates experiences to those who dare to show their love and affection.

7. What are some of the jewelry trends that you hate?

Hate is not a word I would use as there is always beauty somewhere… I don’t like it when I see a trend that will not last long, this is why I tend to create pieces that can be worn 10 and 20 years from now.

8. Who is the one person you can count on for advice and constructive criticism?

I would have to say my husband and lately my son who is getting more involved in the business.

9. Name three of your favorite artists.

Mohamad Rawas

Angeles Agrela

Samir Al Sayegh

10. Bil Arabi launched its first boutique store this year. What does the future look like for Bil Arabi? Can you share with us what you have planned for the next 5 years or so?

We are always working on lots of exciting projects for Bil Arabi - why should we spoil the surprise ...wait and see what is next!

What I can say for now is that I would love to expand my physical presence in the region. Being so blessed to have established Bil Arabi in the UAE, I would love to see the brand grow further in the GCC, where the true identity of the brand stands.