We talk to Yomna Farghly, the unique designer behind Zenoubia; a striking jewellery brand with a story.
Zenoubia is a brand created by Yomna Farghaly, a fervently inspired and talented jewellery designer whose passion can be vividly illustrated through her artistically innovative designs. A reflective individual with a love for culture and elegance, and more importantly an active advocate for womanpower and rebellion against patriarchy, harassment and rape. She is the infamous designer of the anti-harassment ring/weapon, and continues to design rings, pendants and key chains with quotes against harassment and sexism. She also designs custom made charm bracelets, earrings vintage pendants with images of Egypt’s kingdom-era monarchs, black and white movie celebrities and vintage cartoons, vintage necklaces, mirrors and many more… All sentimental, exquisite works evoking one’s sense of belonging all the while captivating the mind with nostalgic, witty or assertive imagery. We speak to the unique designer to find out more...
Your designs and subjects of inspiration belong to a rather vintage era; what are the characteristics that draw your attention?
I love everything related to this era, it's like everything at this time had a meaning, art was really something that can make you feel happy or relaxed or whatever its called but it was just beautiful and classy. During this era women were like goddesses and fashion portrayed their femininity. It always displayed women as a work of art.
Do you have any particular muses?
Umm, old paintings, old books and of course our Egyptian proverbs and famous quotes, as I always try to mix Arabic rather than English text with vintage design. I personally always wanted to wear something that has Arabic letters.
Describe the Anti-Harassment ring; what is its purpose and what drove you to create it?
Well, story behind the ring goes back three years ago after the incident with that lady and her daughter who got raped in Tahrir square by “thugs” with knives. I thought I should make something for women to wear and protect themselves with so I had to use my skill as a jewellery designer to create anything that can protect a woman from getting harassed or raped. It is mainly in pink colour because I wanted the ring to deliver a message that it looks pretty as an accessory, yet can be used as a self-defense tool. Like I always thought woman should be... pretty and strong.
What other messages do you try to deliver through your designs?
My brand is called Zenoubia, as Zenoubia was queen of the Palmyrene Empire in Syria who led a famous revolt against the Roman Empire and she was known to be beautiful with long black hair. So I always want to deliver through my designs that a woman should be not only beautiful and pretty, but strong and rebellious as well; she can fall once or twice but always gets back on her feet again, and this is how I see most Egyptian women.
You seem like quote the inspired individual, what things in life influence you in general?
Anything culture-related that is 40 to 50 years old, from songs lyrics and quotes to vintage actors and actresses or even ads.
And what would you like to see less of in our society?
I WISH I see less of that terrifying level of violence that has become something normal nowadays in our society… I wish good taste and mannerisms of old days return through movies, fashion and the way people deal with one other.
How are your products manufactured and what materials do you use?
I use copper mainly then silver or silver plating at times, and I'll soon be adding leather and Egyptian glass.
Where do you sell your pieces?
Currently we mostly depend on selling through social meida and are trying to display our products in more than one boutique all over Cairo and Alexandria to make it easy for customers, and of course we deliver everywhere. We're also launching a website soon.