I met Naomé Schenk through ASMALLWORD a few years ago and was immediately impressed by her energetic and positive charisma. Nothing seems to stop her. Not even her disease, Ullrich-Turner syndrome (TS), also known 45,X, or 45,X0, a genetic condition in which a female is partly or completely missing an X chromosome. Signs and symptoms vary among those affected. For Naomé, it meant not being able to walk anymore when she became a teenager. Today, she conquers the world in a wheelchair and plays E-hockey (Electric Wheelchair Hockey) enthusiastically.
Creative and daring, Geneva-based Naomé has always been an effective dreamer who wants to have a positive impact on the world around her. Passionate about fashion and luxury, she has been following trends for many years. She notes the growing concern of consumers of luxury goods about the meaning towards their shopping.
Bio-ethical Swiss cotton
Therefore she launched By Naomé, her own luxury fashion brand totally Swiss made which gives back all its benefits to charity. Each collection is the result of an encounter between By Naomé, a renowned artist and a charity. The T-shirts are organic and sewn with certified bio-ethical «Swiss Cotton», the most qualitative cotton in the world that feels like silk. By Naomé has been awarded the Butterfly Mark, powered by Positive Luxury, in recognition of being a sustainable, social and innovative brand.
This season, By Naomé joins forces with contemporary artist Hadrien Dussoix. The so-called «The First Date» collection is limited and consists of 5 emblematic works, available as artwork and T-shirt. The Womanity Foundation and the Giving Women association have been chosen as the respective charity, so all the profits of the collection will be donated to them.
Naomé’s mission is strong and her vision is clear: through her actions, she wants to have a real positive impact in the world. She therefore wanted to create an ambitious project that was in line with her values: respect, sharing and boldness.
Me with the «Need Less Want More» T-Shirt by By Naomé
Naomé, you were diagnosed with the Ullrich-Turner syndrome when you were a little girl. Can you tell us a little more about it, how this has changed your life and how you have adapted to the situation?
Ullrich’s Syndrome is a rare disease that has affected less than 50 people so the core medical team never really knows what to do or what to advise. The disease is progressive but I am currently in a «stable» period. As a child, I had a lot of pain, vomiting and time spent in hospital – it brought me a lot in the sense that when you are stuck, limited and suffering, you quickly understand what is essential and how to live your life to the best of your ability to be happy, without losing time. These months spent in the hospital have allowed me to know exactly where I wanted to go. I finally saved some time thanks to this forced reflection.
Also my illness entails that I have caregivers who help me 24 hours a day, it is a strength and dependence sometimes very difficult to manage that has totally influenced me.
When did you launch By Naomé? What was your inspiration behind it? And how
much time did it take you to launch your first collection?
By Naomé is really my dream since I was a teenager, to have a positive impact. Passionate about fashion, art, luxury, I wanted to create a concept that could be an example of ethics, creativity, that would have a positive impact by making this concept a 100% charitable concept, because we give all the profits to charities! I first created the Caritative Actions By Naomé association in January 2018, in order to carry out this project. The production part, sourcing 100% Swiss made took time and was complicated, but then we had a wonderful launch at Globus in May 2019.
The T-shirts are designed by artist Hadrien Dussoix. How was this collaboration
born? How was your creative process? How were you involved?
A mutual friend introduced Hadrien and I to each other. When I saw his work, I was immediately inspired. Hadrien has had great success with paintings that showed strong, funny, provocative sentences in written… I immediately thought it would match my T-shirt concept perfectly and proposed the project to him. Hadrien invested himself a lot of time, totally voluntarily, and we had a superb, harmonious collaboration. Everything was very simple and efficient. Hadrien first created the paintings and then we decided on the T-shirts. I am very honored and happy to have collaborated with such a renowned contemporary artist as Hadrien Dussoix!
Will other artist collaborations follow?
Yes, of course! There will be at least one collection per year, each time with a new artist partner! Stay tuned!
By Naomé – all Swiss made
The T-shirts have an amazing quality, are made from bio-ethical fabrics. Where do
you produce and how did you find the right production place?
It was really a puzzle, because there are almost no more workshops in Switzerland. Manuela Soldati, a talented friend and stylist, helped me. We spent days contacting dozens of places. Finally we found a small workshop in Lucerne, where everything is sewn on site! The material is Swiss Cotton certified organic, one of the most qualitative materials in the world, a rare cotton that looks like silk to the touch. The whole thing is 100% Swiss made, it’s an integral part of the concept!
The packages, the hanger, there are so many details that are outstanding. Are you
behind all of this? Can you tell us a little more please.
Thank you very much! It is clear that I am 100% present in both, the concept and the realization, I like to have control over everything and do everything in detail, and this is essential when you want to do something of high quality. I have always loved beautiful things, big brands, so I take inspiration from them and try to do the best I can! I still have lots of ideas and opportunities for improvement, however!
How much of the proceeds of the sales go to charity? Can you please tell us a little why
you choose the respective charity.
100% of the profits go to the charities we support! So our only costs are production, the rest goes to the associations. Each collection has a theme, a cause. For this first collection, Hadrien Dussoix and I have chosen the cause of women – that is why we support Womanity and Giving Women, two Geneva-based associations that support poor women around the world. It is also a process because I ensure that associations are transparent and do an effective job – I have met members personally and am aware of their daily actions.
Please also tell us a little bit more about the upcoming charity event in November.
What is your idea behind it? It is not the first time you are doing such an event?
Could you share some details of the program with us please?
Yes, we are organizing a Charity Gala on November 13th at the Baroque restaurant in Geneva. We have organized 5-6 events since the launch, but it will be the first of its kind. Honestly, everything started to get organized barely 2 months ago, I was very keen to do it, so I contacted some friends, and everything accelerated and was set up very quickly. We are honored to have Kristina Bazan give a private concert, Anish @watchanish who will be our host, partners such as Bulgari, Perrier-Jouet, Newby, Marini etc…. Honestly it was crazy, but when I want to do something – I do it all the way and I don’t pay attention to the «standards».
Everyone told me that we had to organize such an event at least 1 year in advance, and now, in just 2 months – we are almost SOLD OUT! I am really looking forward to it!
You are now 24 years old. You seem to be unstoppable and know what you want from life at such an early stage. Do you think that the circumstances you were born with made you stronger? What would be an advice you gave to your younger self. Something you wished, you knew before.
Yes, I am 24 years old and I can’t even imagine who I would be or what I would have done if I didn’t have this disease. It’s unimaginable. The advantage of being limited allows you to focus, and it is very hard in our time full of distractions, of being able to focus, especially for young people. One advice I could give is to take a lot of time for yourself, it must really be your priority, personally I love spending time alone and thinking, viewing my future, thinking about who I am and what I want. You have to know where you’re going if you want a chance to get there! One piece of advice I could give myself is to be less trusting and much more cautious.
Naomé in three words!
Passionate, ambitious, positive.
Thank you so much, Naomé for giving us such a deep inside in your personal life and your beautiful project!
Photos: © By Naomé, via Instagram @iamnaome @bynaome and © Sandra Bauknecht