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Urban Nomad:
Sarah A. Abdallah

As a dynamic woman of a bi-racial and bi-cultural background, she is the founder of a bespoke luxury design firm based out of Manhattan. Sarah’s ability to connect with people with ease both in social and business environments makes her unique. As a globe trotter since birth, she spent her summers in Cairo and traveled the world as a young adult, giving her a global perspective that is unique to her own journey. Her true authentic diversity of thought is what drives her understanding of building her business. Her personal experience and culture extend into her intentions to build and grow a team of broad interests and backgrounds. She surrounds herself with a diverse group of colleagues and is constantly working to break boundaries between cultures and generations through providing life hacks – making her a true trail blazer of her time.

01

Q / WHERE IS HOME FOR YOU? WHICH CITY BEST REPRESENTS YOU?

A / I feel most at home while I am traveling and feel most comfortable being a part of a global community. I was born in Manhattan, and love being a New Yorker and I spent my summers growing up with family in Cairo, Egypt. So if I needed to clearly define a particular ‘city’, I would say my heart is in Cairo, my drive and passion are in NYC, and my soul is embedded in the globe. Each country/culture offers new insights on how to be and approach life. I believe the late Dr. Edward Said said it best “I’ve never known which was my first language, and have felt fully at home in neither, although I dream in both”. This is especially grounding and inspiring to me as an individual and for the work I do whilst being the leader of my company – Functional Creative Design.

02

Q / HOW DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO FEEL AS THEY ENTER THE SPACES YOU DESIGN?

A / Some words that come to mind would be – comfortable, at ease, confident, luxury, sophistication with a twist of relaxed, not uptight. I really believe in creating environments where the space speaks for everyone so that it truly makes people feel comfortable, confident and relaxed in sophistication.

(Above Photo) Neuehouse Los Angeles. Lead Senior Designer at Rockwell Group. Photo by Emily Andrews.

(Above Photo) The VNYL – Vintage New York Lifestyle in New York City. Design by Functional Creative Design. Photo by Claire Esparros.

03

Q / WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR YOUR WORK?

A / What I have found inspiring is not just the work that I am helping lead as the founder of a bespoke luxury firm, but the embodiment of who I am, and what that represents to a younger generation that comes after me. When I was in school, I didn’t have someone to look up to that I could resonate with – someone who was in the field of architecture and design, and who also represented who I was as a woman – a bi-racial, bi-cultural, first-generation child from immigrant parents growing up in America in a Muslim family. In middle school I read tons of poetry by Rumi, Khalil Gibran, and Robert Frost to name a few. I also read about Buddhism to gain a broader understanding of the world. As I started traveling and living abroad in Beirut, Lebanon, I came across some amazing interior spaces and buildings. I learned about Bernard Khoury, a world-renowned Lebanese architect, who’s work fused Political Activism in Architecture. His work really resonated with me back in 2003, when I was finishing my degree at Parsons, The New School for Design. During this time, I continued to search for other inspiring leaders whose work was at the intersection of Art + Activism in Design and came across the work of Ai WeiWei. As I went through my own journey, through my first Masters, I realized the importance of implementing theory into practice. I have an MA in Higher Ed with a focus on Social Justice/Leadership, and an understanding of what these skill sets mean to individuals and how it shapes their paradigms of communication through a creative lens. Taking things full circle, I found it important for us to include an Internship Program during the inception of Functional Creative Design, to really empower students and give them a chance to not only succeed but to feel confident in their own process and work. That really enables students to bring their academic interests into the real-world environment and encourages them to push beyond the normal boundaries, and explore how Art + Activism can play a larger role in creating change. This showcases the true meaning of ‘theory into practice’ and I believe it prepares them for greater success.

04

Q / WHAT IS THE FAVORITE PART OF THE DESIGN PROCESS FOR YOUR PROJECTS?

A / There are two parts to the design process that I enjoy the most – the beginning and the end. I get excited working collaboratively with our clients and my team to come up with new ideas/concepts for the market that our clients are trying to puncture. In the end when a project is truly successful in my eyes, it’s when the space opens up for the public and to see it come to life with guests and staff. That is when the space is truly breathing like a living object and you can see the fruits of your labor blossom.

05

Q / BEST THING ABOUT NEW YORK CITY?

A / Being a native in New York, there is so much to love about this city. Here are my top picks:

1. The Global Community – I have connected with so many incredible humans through the years because they pass through New York. They live here for a while, they come for school or for work, and each one has taught me something about life and myself. 

2. Growth – As NYC has changed over the past 2 decades, like a living object, I have learned from its change as well. I have seen the city transform itself, downtown areas are now the most sought out areas to live in. What this teaches me as a person and as a female entrepreneur, is that you can never stop ‘leveling up’, and when it is time to reinvent yourself authentically. When we decide to look at the same object through a different lens, the whole perspective changes. This is a life long lesson that I have learned living in NYC and that has helped me look at challenging situations in a new light.

3. SINK OR SWIM – NYC is one of the hardest cities to live in the world. The lyrics by Frank Sinatra captures it well “In old New York, If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere”. Perhaps the saying is not as true in the present day, as it used to be, only because the internet and the rise of social media have provided us a “real-time” connection with the global community. The mere mentality of sink or swim has helped me grow a thicker skin and grow quickly as a female entrepreneur.

4. FRIENDSHIPS AND BONDS – I have a multitude of circles of friends that started in NYC and now span the globe. This is a true extension of my NYC family.

06

Q / LEAVE US WITH A FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF

A / I have been told by many that I have a contagious laugh that comes from the depth of my soul, because I really do believe laughter spreads light and love on a spiritual level, and that makes me smile from inside / out.

FOLLOW SARAH ON INSTAGRAM: @SARAHABDALLAH 

FOLLOW SARAH ON PINTEREST: @SARAHAABDALLAH

EXPLORE HER BESPOKE LUXURY FIRM WWW.FUNCTIONALCREATIVEDESIGN.COM AND ON INSTAGRAM: @FUNCTIONALCREATIVEDESIGN

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AS SEEN IN / THE AMANQI EDIT

THE AMANQI EDIT

14 March, 2019

#AMANQILOVES: VINGT QUATRE

One of the best things about our hyper-connected world is that we can discover the coolest talent from any corner of the globe. One such treasured find is New York-based Vingt Quatre. A contemporary luxury label dedicated to the modern-day style connoisseur, Vingt Quatre is dedicated to an unparalleled timelessness, versatility, and functionality (Honestly, we’re obsessed with their wardrobe staples!). Intrigued by the brand’s ethos and minimalistic yet impactful designs, we sat down with designer Sumaiyah to discuss her journey, her many sources of inspiration and what it takes to be a designer in today’s retail landscape.”

Read the full interview here.


WORDS: Manal Waqi

PHOTOS: Marta Niewinska

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Urban Nomad:
Julianne Fraser

Julianne is a Canadian born, New York-bred creative who, over the past seven years, has fostered her passion in the city that never sleeps. Most recently, Julianne created a digital brand marketing consultancy, Dialogue New York – working with luxury and lifestyle brands in both New York and Paris. Julianne lives between time zones and constantly travels the world, soaking up all that each culture has to offer. She is truly passionate about breaking through the noise of conventional marketing and creating unique dialogues that resonate for her clients. In her spare time, Julianne enjoys fine-tuning her cooking skills, crushing a Crossfit class or tackling every movie on this year’s Oscar-nominated list.

01

Q / WHAT IS ON YOUR PLAYLIST?

A / When it comes to music, my choice varies greatly depending on my mood. When I get home from a stressful day, it’s Chet Baker with a glass of wine and bubble bath. When I’m working out, I love Calvin Harris or Rufus du Sol, and for road trips its Miguel or Banks.

02

Q / YOU’RE LIVING A TRUE URBAN NOMADIC LIFE BETWEEN NEW YORK AND PARIS. BEING ON THE MOVE, WHAT ARE YOUR TRAVEL ESSENTIALS?

A / After a few horrible flights, I quickly learned to prepare for travel! Firstly, investing in amazing luggage makes a world of difference when you’re in and out of airports. I love my Rimowa Classic Flight set and know I’ll use it for a lifetime. I also always buy an extra large bottle of water at the gate to stay hydrated throughout the flight, bring a face mask, toothbrush/toothpaste and eye mask + earplugs. If I don’t have time to grab dinner in the lounge, I always pack a healthy dinner with me, to avoid airport food – there’s nothing worse.

03

Q / WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT BOTH CITIES?

A / I truly love New York and Paris equally, for very different reasons. New York ‘raised’ me, so to speak. It taught me my work ethic, fostered my passion and presented more opportunities than I ever thought possible. New York motivates me. By comparison, Paris inspires me. A city full of so much beauty, history, architecture, and creativity. It truly has a magic about it that you can’t find elsewhere. I’ve come to love and appreciate French culture as well. Finding balance between life and work, celebrating each and every day, and being surrounded by those you love (with good food and wine of course).

04

Q / WHAT IS THE MOST TRANSITIONAL ITEM IN YOUR WARDROBE AND WHY?

A / I’m a bit of a chameleon when it comes to fashion. What I choose to wear completely depends on the day, the city, the weather, my mood. If I had to choose just one transitional piece I bring with me everywhere it would be my Balenciaga Ceinture boots, no matter the season or city, they elevate any look.

05

Q / IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A SEASON, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

A / Such a hard question! I would probably choose Spring. It’s a season of positivity, excitement, anticipation, and optimism. I generally see the bright side of things and am always looking for ways to learn, grow and evolve, and I feel like Spring best represents this.

06

Q / TELL US A FUN FACT ABOUT YOU

A / I met my fiancé on Tinder (yes really!).

FOLLOW JULIANNE ON INSTAGRAM: @JULIANNEFRASER @DIALOGUENYC

AND EXPLORE HER INFLUENCER MARKETING AGENCY WWW.DIALOGUENYC.COM

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Urban Nomad:
Cansu Ozgul

Cansu Ozgul is the epitome of an eclectic soul in transit. Currently based in New York, her roots link back to Turkey. She embodies the fast-paced New York lifestyle spending her days running her marketing agency, ContempCo. During her leisure hours, she enjoys relaxing with her dog, Picasso. With her busy lifestyle of travelling, and being a power entrepreneur, her style lends to being authentic, yet practical.

01

Q / A FEW WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOUR LIFESTYLE

A / Doing what I love, and being inspired living between Istanbul and New York.

02

Q / WHAT COMES TO MIND WHEN DRESSING FOR THE DAY AHEAD OF YOU?

A / I usually put together my look for the day, either to wear it in a way that allows me to disguise myself, or to truly represents myself.

03

Q / TELL US A FUN FACT ABOUT YOU?

A / Outside of design and creating, I started making jams a couple of years ago. It was something that always reminded me of home and through realizing how meditative it was, I decided to pursue this passion and created JamsuByCansu because #jamsarecheaperthantherapy.

04

Q / HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?

A / I like to mix the authenticity of my culture with a few higher end, quality pieces. This way, I feel that I am connected to my roots, but still remain authentic to myself.

05

Q / HOW DO YOU RESONATE WITH BEING AN ‘URBAN NOMAD’?

A / I definitely resonate with being an ‘urban nomad’, as my roots are from Turkey but I moved to New York 9 years ago and now this city has become my second home. When you move to a new place, the environment becomes a part of your life journey. I am a nomad because I always feel like I‘m a New Yorker, but I don’t belong here – there remains a fine line between the two. I play the game by its rules when I’m here, but I make sure that I don’t lose my identity.

06

Q / LEAVE US WITH A FEW WORDS THAT YOU LIVE BY

A / Time is surreal; focus on creating.

FOLLOW CANSU ON INSTAGRAM: @CANSUOZGUL

AND EXPLORE HER CREATIVE AGENCY WWW.CONTEMPCO.COM

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AS SEEN IN / THE EMERGING DESIGNER

THE EMERGING DESIGNER

5 August, 2018

EMERGING DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: VINGT QUATRE

“The modern customer. Their astute, dynamic and seeking mobility in life. Thoughtful purchases and quality consumption reflects this new lifestyle. A wardrobe becomes timeless, clothes are genderless and ease is a luxury. Catering to this customer is Vingt Quatre, a New York-based label that recently debuted Series 1, a kit of elevated staples and seasonless pieces that can be transitioned throughout the day, hence the name which means 24 in French, and is an ode to each individuals’ daily lifestyle.”

Read the full interview here.


WORDS: Melissa Hall

PHOTOS: Marta Niewinska / Clifton Prescod

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Urban Nomad:
Katini Yamaoka

Katini is a talented singer-songwriter who’s authentic style and shared musical language mirrors her cross cultural background. Katini’s roots originate from Japan and Ghana; spending her earlier years in Tokyo, she then grew up in Australia and is currently living in New York. As an artist Katini believes her spiritual practice allows her to express her personal vision of the world through music in the purest form. When she writes new music, she moves what she hears towards the cross cultural edge that she lives in each day: old school colliding with urban.

01

Q / HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL DAY?

A / The perfect day for me, is to be present and live the day mentally spiritually and physically balanced.

02

Q / WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO DRESS FOR THE 24 HOURS AHEAD OF YOU?

A / I’m always looking to dress in a comfortable yet stylish way. My taste in fashion is an extension of me that can change every day, depending on how I’m feeling. I usually like to feel prepared for anything the day throws my way.

03

Q / HOW DOES YOUR CLOSET REFLECT YOUR PERSONA?

A / My clothing choices most definitely express my personality and lifestyle choices. My wardrobe is a reflection of how I like to live my life simple, stylish, and comfortable with a touch of luxe.

04

Q / HOW DO YOU RESONATE WITH THE NARRATIVE OF THE ‘URBAN NOMAD’?

A / I resonate with it because I try to be my best self “24” hours a day. That doesn’t necessarily mean to be running around New York chasing after my dreams, but to always feel confident and comfortable in order to make the best decisions that will serve my well-being. I am a young professional with a diverse background that allows me to communicate across cultures in multiple languages (French, Japanese and English). I am here to explore the world and discover what it means to be an artist in the mission to bring about positive messages to people.

05

Q / WHAT ARE THREE THINGS YOU CANNOT TRAVEL WITHOUT?

A / Phone, Notebook, and Headphones.

06

Q / LEAVE US WITH A FEW WORDS THAT YOU LIVE BY

A / Sound becomes music
Music becomes dance
Mind becomes meditation
And life becomes a celebration

05

Q / WHAT ARE THREE THINGS YOU CANNOT TRAVEL WITHOUT?

A / Fashion is an expression of the self through clothing. Being a fast-paced young woman, I can appreciate and identify with the craftsmanship, and the perfect balance of masculine and femininity.

06

Q / LEAVE US WITH A FEW WORDS THAT YOU LIVE BY

A / Sound becomes music
Music becomes dance
Mind becomes meditation
And life becomes a celebration

katini
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AS SEEN IN / RADICAL

RADICAL OFFICIAL

19 June, 2018

#RADTALKS: VINGT QUATRE

Vingt Quatre is a Dubai and New York City-based clothing brand, launched in January 2018, by founders Sumaiyah, Humairah, and Tehmina Akhtar. Three sisters whose quest to harness the urban nomad persona through clothing, inspired them to build a label that speaks volumes on third culture kids and transatlantic lifestyles. We spoke to Sumaiyah on the thought process, concepts and ideas that come into play in the process of building a brand like Vingt Quatre.

Read the full interview here.


WORDS: Nour Hassan

PHOTOS: Marta Niewinska for Vingt Quatre