Read about the designer and artist in the first story from our new partnership with As Seen by Her, a platform featuring essays by creative women.
We’ve found our soulmate! Introducing As Seen by Her—a new, Barcelona-based platform celebrating modern women with the ambition to share honest and intelligent perspectives. Sounds pretty similar to us, eh? Since our goals come from pretty much the same place, we’ll be sharing As Seen by Her’s stories written by creative women every week. First up, meet Laurie Nouchka—activewear designer, artist and self-proclaimed strong AF Aries.
Based in London, Nouchka’s been developing artworks on limited edition, luxury activewear for the last three years. She makes everything in London and uses recycled materials as much as she can. Her work is inspired by movement, whether that’s through the human body or through travel; as a result, her aesthetic is defined by an architectural yet vibrant and energetic vibe that easily transitions from fashion to artwork. It’s also led her to develop quite a decent base of architectural clients; a few of her recent commissions have included artwork on fabric, clothing, walls and product for brands like Equinox Gyms. In fact, Nouchka’s approach to creative production is so diverse that she even dabbles in spacial artworks; recently, Camden Council and the Victoria and Albert Museum commissioned her to create a bunch permanent wall installations across public spaces which combine audio and visuals to tell stories about changing landscapes.
But this essay isn’t about Nouchka’s work, really. Instead, Nouchka focuses on describing who she is as a woman and as a creative, and maps out the transitions she’s gone through that led her to who she is today. There’s some valuable life lessons in here whether you’re an artist or not, so read on and enjoy.
“My name is Laurie, Laurie Nouchka. Nouchka is my middle name. It is Russian and comes partly from the Eastern European heritage of my great grandparents, although the actual name is taken from a good family friend of my parents who was really kind to them when they were living in London.”
“Nouche was a strong and creative woman; an Aries like me. Funnily enough, I disowned the name up until about the age of 21 as she and I would always come to blows. We are both confident, determined women which didn’t always mix well. Looking back, she was an extraordinary character and had been through so much. I would have a very different relationship with her now.”
“Being an artist is very much in my veins and has always been encouraged, so it’s something I’ve always explored. I’ve been supported to be a strong, free thinking female. If you have an inclination towards leadership and want to have your voice heard as a woman, it’s really important you don’t shut that down but instead channel it in an effective way for both yourself and others. Men, especially fathers, play such an important role here. My father has always encouraged me; I think now he is sometimes shocked by my boldness, but in a good way. I feel like he learns from me too now which is an amazing thing to feel as a woman.”
“It’s really interesting being a woman today, whether you’re an artist or not. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be able to achieve and do all the things we want to do, and that’s certainly something I really welcomed when I was in my twenties. I was very ambitious with so many things; if I had an idea, I wanted to realize it. I also felt very confident in my capabilities. I’ve been very fortunate in that sense, but I was also acutely aware of women around me who didn’t have that—either because they lacked a support system or self-esteem that would drive them forward.
My thirties have been much more about building on the foundations rather than always striving for what I should be achieving or think I want. I have much more of a focus on being present and aware of what is in front of me. It’s very grounding and a much more enjoyable place to be. In so many ways it’s much more creative, too. Process is key to my work, so being very present is central to this. I’m currently doing my yoga teacher training and really the focus is less on teaching and more on self exploration; how, in turn, that feeds the process and journey of life.”
It is interesting how these conversations always lead to thinking about how you put yourself out there as a woman—not only in your own understanding of yourself but the perception of you in the world. That’s really important. It’s not about being concerned in an egotistic sense about how you look or what people think of you, but valuing that integrity and doing what’s true to you rather than what you think you should be doing. I hope this relates to the work I’ve done with my clothing line. I like to create pieces which are reflective of us as women and how we like to move without being overly sexualized.”
“I do a lot of things and I explore a number of different roles in my life, but with each one I like to think that I do it with integrity. Maybe that’s about being a woman who is slowly getting more in touch with her sense of self and confident to apply that, or maybe it’s just about being human and fortunate enough to feel supported and confident in my choices.”