Handmade, artisanal, local, modern: these are just some of the words that describe the brand philosophy of Nomah Project. Founded by Linda Cassio, the Los Angeles-based brand takes its inspiration from her native country of Mexico, and produces an eclectic mix of accessories, from pom-pom beach bags to straw hats to tassel earrings. Shop Latitude chatted with Cassio to learn more about her quirky label and its origins.
Where did the idea for Nomah Project come from and how did you come up with the name?
In addition to loving fashion, traveling is also a huge passion of mine. While traveling to my native country of Mexico, I realized how rich the culture of craftsmanship was, and also how little of it gets shared with the world. I fell in love with the people, the traditions and the value of their work that has been passed on from generation to generation.
I decided I wanted to create and promote a business that would allow me to help preserve this Latin American craftsmanship. My idea was to add a layer of modernity to these products by collaborating with local artisans from different regions, while simultaneously helping to preserve and promote their artform, and creating jobs in the communities.
Nomah means “my hand” in Nahuatl, which is an indigenous dialect from southern Mexico.
Can you tell us about the process and materials used?
We want our products to tell a story. We want them to have a positive impact on the environment and on the communities they come from. Even in LA we work with local artisans who help us add the finishing touches to our products. We value the time and effort that is put into any and all handmade products.
In an era where everything is over-produced, we think it is important to create products that are gentle to the environment. Most of our materials are naturally sourced and everything is handmade, so very little energy is being used. We also work with recycled plastic and most of our dyes are made with natural products such as coffee, plants/flowers, etc.
How does travel influence your work?
A lot! All our inspiration comes from our travels. We try to represent the colors and textures of the places we go to. We want to take our customers on our trips somehow by representing our experiences in what we design.
What is your biggest source of inspiration when it comes to your work?
The people we work with. Even though we believe the craftsmanship is incredible, the people and artisans we meet in many of the communities where we work are our main source of inspiration. We admire their traditions and the way they have been able to pass them on to younger generations. Also, it makes us happy to work with a community of people whose lives we can make a difference in.