Having launched her namesake label just this year, Nigora Tabayer's ornate creations have adorned the necks of everyone from Caroline Vreeland and Coco Rocha to Halima Aden, Jessica Kahawaty, Shanina Shaik and Bella Hadid... Pretty impressive stuff for a young woman setting up her first business. We caught up with the designer taking red carpets across the world by storm...
Tell me a little about yourself; where did you grow up, study, etc..?
I'm originally from Central Asia, but I grew up in many places. I had an international upbringing, including in Paris and in the U.S.A. I went to university to study business, actually. I didn't decide to pursue jewelry design until after!
What is your earliest jewellery memory?
Getting lost in my mother's and my grandmother's jewelry collections. They had the most amazing things, and to a little girl, it was a dream come true.
Talk me through the design process and personal significance behind your inaugural Eye collection?
The Eye Collection harkens back to a very poignant childhood memory of mine. Every time I would leave the house, wherever we were, my mother would dress me with an eye of some sort. It could be on a bracelet, a necklace. It could be anything. She believed in the eye's talismanic protective powers. She was always worrying about us, and this was something she did as a gesture of protection. I carried that belief into my own life, and my own experience of motherhood.
So, this was something that I wanted keep as a core element of Tabayer. You will even see the eye in our logo. As far as the design process, it started out simply as sketches, a few years ago, while I was in Switzerland. With the expertise of Graff, the collection came to life!
You have attributed deeper meaning to each letter, can you elaborate on this and why is this an important element of your brand?
I think people may initially assume that the letters represent initials for names, which, indeed, they do. But this isn't always necessarily the case. I wanted to create narratives around each letter by selecting words that I think are important traits and characteristics. In doing so, Tabayer's values are conveyed, and the wearer may chose a letter based on the word we've chosen. We have a word for every letter!
Half the A-list elite have hit the red carpet or been papped wearing in your pieces. How transformative has it been to have the likes of Vanessa Hudgens, Eva Longoria, Coco Rocha and Shanina Shaik championing Tabayer?
It has been amazing! The visibility of the brand has gone up enormously, and I deeply appreciate that these incredible women have worn the pieces.
Many Middle Eastern influencers and celebrities including Halima Aden, Amina Muaddi and Lainy Hedaya are fans of Tabayer. Is the region a particularly key market for you? And if so, why?
Indeed, it is. The Middle East holds a highly sophisticated and discerning fine jewelry market. I'm very thankful for the support in the region.
What advice would you give to young women looking to start their own businesses?
Don't feel like you have to adhere to expectations. Do what you think will work and what you know you love.