Following her collaboration with Qasimi, AnOther meets jewellery designer Zohra Rahman, who crafts luxurious pieces with a sustainable approach from her studio in Lahore
- Who is it? Zohra Rahman is a Pakistanti jewellery designer crafting contemporary, luxurious pieces with a sustainable approach from her studio in Lahore.
- Why do I want it? Each piece of jewellery is handmade and one of a kind with a piece of culture attached to it made by local artisans and Zohra.
- Where can I find it? In-store at Paper Mache Tiger in London and online at Luisa Via Roma, Third Edit, Aune Store and at zohraraman.com.
Who is it? Think of this brand as a bridge from Lahore to the rest of the world, through jewellery. Zohra Rahman grew up watching her parents run their family business Generation, one of the first South Asian ready-to-wear brands. Born and raised in Lahore, Rahman grew up in an environment where creativity was encouraged and she soon discovered her love for creating and began experimenting with her appearance. “Growing up it was the standard for girls to have really long hair but for me, my sister would be giving me weird haircuts and we’d be drawing on the walls, there were never strict rules on the ways we would have to present ourselves,” she tells me from her studio in Lahore. Keen to pursue a career in jewellery making, she enrolled at Central Saint Martins, where she honed the direction she wanted to take her brand. “A lot of my tutors at CSM used to be like, ‘this is not 3D,’ or ‘this is too big,’ or ‘this is not jewellery,’” she remembers. “For example, once I made a toe ring that went up to the knees. I was and still am trying to make sculptural pieces.”
Returning back to Lahore upon her graduation, Rahman realised the duality of her identity living between the UK and Pakistan. “I had a bit of an identity crisis, always back and forth between the two countries, I even had two different wardrobes,” she explains. “I don’t want to feel like the two cultures need to cut in the middle, there can be a crossover. Growing up, I always looked up to the west and coming back here to my hometown and settling down I realise we take a lot of things for granted. I really wanted to bring it back home and feel proud that my own jewellery brand can be recognised by an international market without catering too much to the west.”
Why do I want it? Rahman has engineered a unique set up for her production as a brand, keeping many aspects of it close to home. She taught herself how to work with materials, like certain alloys, after discovering that production and factories weren’t as readily available in Lahore. She quickly learned making things by hand was the most efficient way, too. Through an in-house apprenticeship programme, which abides by all regulations and ethical business practices, Rahman trains up those who want to learn about jewellery making, taking on people with no prior experience and carefully guiding them through the step-by-step process of crafting a piece of jewellery.
Rahman recently collaborated with London-based brand Qasimi on the jewellery for its Spring/Summer 2022 collection, presented at London Fashion Week. “I met Zohra when I was in Lahore curating the second Lahore Biennial and loved her approach to design, how she uses elements of Arabic and Urdu calligraphy and Islamic architecture while still being very contemporary and young,” says the creative director of Qasimi, Hoor Al Qasimi. The collaboration, which features pieces that tripled up as brooches, pendants or earrings, came seamlessly despite working remotely on the pieces, distance not stopping the partnership from flourishing. “After seeing the moodboard I saw that it had calligraphy and architectural influences. We wanted the jewellery to be gender neutral so from there we decided that it was going to be one strong piece which turned out to be multi-functional,” says Rahman. “I wanted to maintain the design language we’ve honed in the workshop, new ways of forming metals while still creating something interesting.
As an emerging designer, Rahman’s unique pieces are already strong in identity and design language. She has quickly cemented herself by creating pieces with longevity crafted with care and incorporating her roots and beliefs. “I want to continue creating a self-sustaining design house and help train people that want to learn more about jewellery design, it’s so exciting to see someone go from zero knowledge to crafting and having a passion on their own.”
Where can I find it? In-store at Paper Mache Tiger in London and online at Luisa Via Roma, Third Edit, Aune Store and at zohraraman.com.