Nour Arida is a nine-time Cover Girl, having collaborated with Sephora, Boucheron, and Rimmel. The Lebanese influencer has also walked Paris Fashion Week shows and she has a large social media following, but somehow, she’s able to balance being a mom, homemaker, model, and activist. Most recently she has taken on a new venture as fashion designer by co-creating a line of children’s clothing called Generation Peace.
But before her days of influence on social media Nour was a buyer at one of the biggest retail stores in the Middle East. “During this time, I learned a lot about consumer behavior and the mechanisms of fashion in general. After being on social media for several years, I have watched the growth of my account, and how people are responding and reacting to what I have to offer them. I have never taken on a collaboration with a brand or a product that I don’t believe in, or, that I haven’t thoroughly researched,” says Nour, “and I think that that has instilled a sort of trust between me and my followers.”
The venture was inspired by her daughter Ayla, and the challenges Nour faces to getting her dressed. “Ayla wants to go out in tutus and princess dresses, and mix and match her own clothes, in the most unimaginable ways; whereas I always want her to be in a subtler outfits, where she’s comfortable at the same time.” Out of this mother daughter fashion struggle, Generation Peace was born. “I wanted to close the gap between what kids want to wear and their specific tastes, and parents’ concerns for practicality. You’ll see that we’re very fond of sets, that our dresses are very practical in terms of cuts, comfortable and sustainable, and can be worn for at least 2 years without kids outgrowing them,” shares Nour.
With her experience as a fashion buyer and her rising influence and collaboration with brands, Nour felt ready to launch something that holds her name, as well as put her fashion industry experience to use.
The philosophy behind the brand
Nour solely believes that adults can empower children to be a leading voices of change, and because Nour’s followers have been enthralled with her relationship with Ayla, the influencer mom and activist saw an opportunity to empower children with a new clothing line. Collaborating with designer Rebecca Zaatar the two have created a line that evokes conversation about the current state of the world, freedom of expression, tolerance, equality and consciousness.
“I’m not a big fan of talking a lot, but rather leading by example. I genuinely believe parents need to teach their kids the values they need, by being a living example in front of them. It doesn’t mean everyone should be perfect, but on the contrary, I believe even making mistakes is a great way to actually teach valuable lessons to your child,” says Nour.
“I’m also am a big advocate of freedom of speech. Letting our kids’ personality and way of thinking grow as much as needed, understanding them, guiding them, but not limiting them — that’s how you empower them in my opinion.”
Nour’s philosophy can be seen as different to the Middle Eastern way of life. “Let children live the experience of gender equality by seeing how you deal with life matters at home, at work, and in society. And let them stand up to bullying by seeing you as a parent do so, not by lecturing them. I believe there’s still a lot to do in that section in the Middle East specifically,” she continues.
Launching during the pandemic and the uniqueness Generation Peace brings to the children’s clothing industry
Launching during a pandemic has been stressful for Nour and her team but they have succeeded in getting Generation Peace off the ground. “Oh my God, it was crazy! I still can’t believe that we were able to launch on time. It was probably the most stressful months of our lives. We were on lockdown for the first two months of this year so we had to deal with the whole process via Zoom! The website, production, marketing plans, budgets, printings- everything.”
“I was told by people around me that it would be practically impossible to do so, to launch before mid-summer, but I’m blessed with a great team, and we don’t take no for an answer. Another specific concern was the safety of everyone working and shooting a massive campaign during a pandemic. Thank God we managed. It took a lot of preparations and attention to details, as well as a whole lot of testing and isolation, but we managed.”
And while Generation Peace is a fashion brand for kids, Nour is creating a lifestyle around it, as a she calls a “universe” around it. “We want mothers to enter a whole world with Generation Peace, where they’ll find DIY activities for their kids, healthy recipes for them, tips on how to deal with their children (from reputable psychologists). We want parents to get into this world, live the experience, and then get out of it feeling better and reassured,” she notes. This is what brings distinction and uniqueness to Generation Peace and other children’s clothing brands. “Our clothes are a perfect middle ground between practical and cool. This sounds like an easy and simple sentence; but is definitely very challenging to apply.”
Divided into four different categories, the collection includes drawings of her daughter Ayla, and prints of signs of freedom like gender quality, what Nour believes is the bridge between parents and children, and of course lastly, peace.
“For babies, we have several options of comfy onesies (that range around $58); for our unisex pieces it was important for us to have this section. You’ll find jogging sets and t-shirts ($44) for both boys and girls; for girls, we have full sets as well as practical dresses; and for boys, we have two types of sets made of a very comfortable summery crinkled cotton texture.
Also sustainable, the cotton in the collection is organic and packaging is 100 percent eco-friendly and recyclable. “We also try as much as possible (and as much as we are allowed to), to pay attention to our supply chain and factories we work with, to make sure workers aren’t mistreated or under-paid.” On their website, they explain how the packaging can be used as a coloring canvas for kids, making sure parents have more reasons to make use of it and not just throw it away. There it’s also explained how fabrics from our clothes don’t go to waste, but are used to create accessories like bandanas and scrunchies, to complement various looks in the collection.
“We also studied our cuts a lot so we don’t offer clothes that kids will outgrow in a few months,” says Nour. “The cuts, the fabrics, the shapes are created in a way that a child can wear an outfit for the longest time possible – encouraging people to slow down while shopping and perhaps to shop less frequently. There’s still a lot to do for our brand to reach the desired and ultimate goal of sustainability; but we’re always learning, and constantly working on it.”
Nour and Rebecca have created a brand that stands up to, but at the same time stands beside societal and cultural norms in the Middle East. They have created a bridge between kids’ tastes and parents’ concerns of practicality. And, they are giving children an empowering voice, a voice that kids haven’t normally had in the region, especially when it comes to gender equality.
Generation Peace’s message is simple: let go of our current world and reimagine it with those innocent young souls at the helm instead.