In Lacoste’s latest exploration, the sportswear brand dips into activewear that is equal parts functional and fashion-focused. The new proposal comes in the form of a colorful, print-loaded summer line that reinvents classic sports silhouettes for our increasingly active day-to-day lives. But it poses the question: What defines an active lifestyle today?
Hypebae meets Nooriyah and Estefania – two London-based multi-hyphenates who enrich their respective communities in more ways than most. For Bahrain-born Nooriyah, her active lifestyle involves her working across the public health sector during the day. At night, she transforms into a spearhead for bringing SWANA sounds to the ears of clubbers and music lovers through her Middle of Nowhere platform.
Similarly, Estefania runs a fast-paced life as a creative director, and spends her spare time advocating for more diversity in comedy. She organizes nights that champion LGBTQ+, female, non-binary and POC comedians simultaneously hosting her own podcast Deathbed Confessions. Estefania sits down with Nooriyah ahead of the Hypebae-shot campaign to discuss their inspiring side-hustles and the important role of empowering emerging communities and active individuals like themselves.
Read Estefania and Nooriyah’s discussion down below, and discover how they are styling the Lacoste newest collection for their busy lifestyles of non-stop empowering communities and inspiring change via the gallery above.
Lacoste’s Fashion Sport range is now available to buy online and in its global stores and partner retailers.
Estefania: Nooriyah, what do you do day-to-day?
Nooriyah: For the last five to six years, I have worked in public health, which entails a lot of different things and people often have a misconstrued idea of what it might be, but since the pandemic that particular phrase has come to the forefront of people’s minds. We focus on a population perspective, whether that’s promotion or intervention. My mom was a nurse and my sister was a doctor – that was certainly an inspiration. What about you? What do you do as a creative director?
E: I do creative and art direction, and I think when you are doing a job that you love, it obviously doesn’t always feel like work, but it’s still so nice to have something else. I’m sure that you can relate to that. Knowing that there’s something else you might be doing that night that’s completely different. It’s a really nice way to get you through the day, especially in fashion, where – as we know — it can be very intense. But your 9 to 5 must get emotionally heavy. How does your love of music help you get through this?
N: I feel like music just uplifts people and they can choose music for their moods. Music requires different energy, and I enjoy the difference between the energy I give in public health and how high energy music and performing music for people can be. I find that public health gives me such a structure in the day, and then music is ad hoc.
E: I know! When you’re doing gigs abroad, if you don’t have work to get back to or a structure that week – especially if you know you’re working the next weekend – it’s really nice to not be recovering from your previous gig and knowing that you need to be back on your A-game for something completely different. In both of these disciplines it can lead to later nights and waking up later, so it’s nice to have that structure.
N: Can you tell me about what you do in comedy? I would love to hear about it all.
E: I do standup comedy and I organize different nights where we support LGBTQ+, female, non-binar and, POC comedians. Starting out in comedy, there weren’t a lot of women, just a lot of white guys. As the stereotype goes, when a bunch of men talk in a room they talk about similar things and women can’t be included in that. So, it’s nice to create a safe space where women can do their thing. If you widen the community then more people from more backgrounds get to see comedy. Any kind of female or non-binary nights just make women more comfortable too because there’s a lot of feeling left out in the arts. If people don’t look like you, it’s interesting to experience new perspectives.
N: Do you feel like you went into comedy because of that – the fact it was focused towards men and you wanted to make that space for women?
E: I knew growing up that a lot of the famous people on TV doing comedy were men, and I thought that a lot of girls don’t really care about comedy. Going to a late-night comedy show in Soho is normally stag do’s while girls go dancing with friends. So I thought wouldn’t it be great to create a community in nightlife that had nothing to do with masculinity. I know you also spotlight an underrepresented group which is the MENA scene of artists. Tell me a bit about why you champion them in your performances.
N: I’m one of a handful of SWANA DJs in the UK. There’s not many of us, especially those who play sounds from there. I saw that there’s a huge community that wanted to celebrate these sounds but had no space to do them, so I created Middle Of Nowhere, a platform which champions the sounds and the DJs from the region. What I wanted to do with it was to bring people together. As a community, our contribution to music goes way back, yet we are still not represented. For me, it was important to champion this and slowly my mission is becoming reality because I’m seeing myself and other SWANA people represented. This year, I’ll be playing Glastonbury, which is a big deal to play those sounds there. Soon you are also performing a big gig at Camden Fringe, are you looking forward to it?
E: Yes! I’m doing a show on June 18 in Hoxton called “Toxic Femininity,” where I explore what it means to be a woman today. What we think it means, the highs, the lows, and it’s obviously for whoever wants to come. It will be an amalgamation of all the stand ups that I do — because you can’t often perform that long of a set — so I’m going to perform it a few times during Camden Fringe to see how people react to it. I want to include a little bit of music, some dance, things you wouldn’t normally see on the traditional standup scene.
N: You also have your own podcast, Deathbed Confessions, which is a big part of your after-hours work.
E: Yeah, Deathbed Confessions is a factual podcast, it’s narrative in terms of the way it’s described. It’s all history and completely fact-checked, based on real people’s deathbed confessions. It can be anything from what happened with the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones, to someone who admitted to killing Abraham Lincoln. The podcast reads like a novel, so it works well if you’re doing your commute.
I never thought I would be a podcaster, but it’s never too late to try something new, be vulnerable and not worry about what anyone else will say. When you were putting up your first song on Soundcloud, when people didn’t know you DJ’d, were they like, “you do this?” Sometimes it can be really daunting to let someone know that you’ve got another string to your bow.
N: I’m still embarrassed about it! I started in radio six years ago and to this day, I’m shy to share with my parents the work that I do, because they have such an academic idea of me. What encourages you to keep making new material — are there times where you feel, I don’t want to be doing this anymore? What pulls you out of that feeling?
E: If you have a night that doesn’t go as planned, I just think, I’m a grown woman, why am I making myself feel like this? Then I remember that when it goes really well, and you do connect with people, it’s so worth it. A big part of performing your art is there will be bad reviews, but the good reviews totally outweigh it. There are times when the drive came from knowing you did something difficult, went over a speedbump and came out on top. It’s nice to challenge yourself sometimes.
N: After six years of doing this, I keep reminding myself that I put in the time and honed my skills. I also give myself the grace to be able to experiment. It’s fine if I put something out that’s not fully perfect. This is something that took years of practice and being kind to myself. It’s fine to explore and every time I make myself vulnerable I learn something new. Obviously you’re blazing a trail for people who want to pursue a career in comedy full time. I’m interested to know what you hope to see in the future for comedy.
E: I would love to see more rooms with people of color. There are still too many nights where everyone looks exactly the same. It would be nice for more people to do comedy, or to see comedy as an interesting and cheap alternative to a night out. You don’t have to spend millions on a matinee show, just watch a diverse lineup of comedians. You learn something from a night of laughter. It would be nice to see more nights going on and more of a community in London. What about you and the future of the music scene?
N: My whole mission is to globalize SWANA sounds so promoters can see how much demand there is for such sounds and people. I used to teach a class before the pandemic started – DJing for WOC – and not only would I like more women to learn, but I would like our space. There are lots of occasions where I have interactions with men where they think that you don’t know what you’re doing. I just want there to be less of that!
E: Also, with you doing this, it’s similar to comedy. It’s not a box-ticking exercise to get one woman on a line-up. The lineup is about everybody, there are loads of women on the lineup, they’re all from wherever. It’s not about someone else filling a quota.