a labor of love

championing sustainable fashion

K.OXK.O is a labor of love by Nazgul Nejmi who, in her own little way, is trying to make the world a better place by championing sustainable fashion through her high-end cork leather designs. Conceptualized by Nazgul, the collection is fun, stylish, yet practical and gentle on the environment, making use of high quality cork leather to create unique and fashionable accessories.

Nazgul started her career in the fashion industry in her late teens working for brands such as Armani, Gucci and YSL. She frequently experimented with designs of casual wear and sportswear that she and her sisters and friends wore. In the late 2008 she launched her millinery brand and was frequently won awards at the Dubai Horseracing World Cup.

Her love affair with cork leather began in 2015 when a trip to Portugal saw her stumble across a collection of handbags made out of this sustainable material. While the designs felt dated, the concept and craftsmanship were just the right ingredients to bolster her quest to save the planet.

Upon returning to Dubai and mulling over design concepts, Nazgul experienced her Eureka moment one frustrating afternoon as she found herself rummaging through her gym bag, complete with a pile of clothes, shoes and keys, to locate her membership card.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a bag that allowed for everything to be just a little more organized, she thought to herself, while still retaining the style quotient and being gentle on the environment?

Exploring the idea further, Nazgul put pen to paper to design her own duffel, experimenting with cork leather to create her ideal bag.

As Nazgul looked at options to turn her design concept into a profitable business, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed those plans while the world was forced into a lockdown.

Refusing to sit idle, Nazgul used this time to allow her creativity to take flight, Prototyping and experimenting with as many designs and cork leathers as she could. She designed smaller, trendier bags and laptop sleeves that could transform her love for cork leather into a luxurious line of accessories and K.OXK.O was born.

Like Nazgul, who calls herself a global citizen, the bags are collectively manufactured in Turkey and the UAE, while created from cork leather that originates in Portugal.

At the very heart of K.OXK.O is a love story that defines the very ethos of the brand. The name K.OXK.O is in fact an acronym for the phrase ‘Knocked Out by a Knock-Out’, one that Nazgul’s husband would endearingly use as his shorthand to profess his deep feelings during their courtship.

His creative and unique wordplay on the term ‘XOXO’ defines their relationship and, by extension, the brand itself as something that is fun, unique and a personal love story for the ages.

As K.OXK.O finally became a reality, the collection is inspired by Nazgul’s love for nature and sustainability, while keeping style and practical needs firmly in check.

From the ever practical All Rounder duffel that’s bursting with pockets, to the Jane of All Trades that gives a whole new meaning to the mommy-baby diaper bag, Nazgul’s designs are a cut above the competition.

The talented designer gives credit to her husband, Mounir, for providing creative inputs and being her emotional support system when needed, along with paying tribute to her sisters, older sibling Nilufer and twin Gulnaz, for becoming the unofficial brand ambassadors for K.OXK.O.

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