Community//

Noor Amiri: “I wish I was told is to not worry so much about my student loans”

One of the biggest problems that our communities and environment faces are the effects of climate change. We can all do our part to slow down climate change by switching to renewable sources of energy as much as we can. We can use solar energy and wind energy to emit much less heat-trapping gasses into […]

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One of the biggest problems that our communities and environment faces are the effects of climate change. We can all do our part to slow down climate change by switching to renewable sources of energy as much as we can. We can use solar energy and wind energy to emit much less heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere. All of our public transportation systems should be powered by renewable sources of energy instead of burning fossil fuels. Lastly, we should capture carbon and store it in the ground to clean up the air pollution. Planting trees across the planet and even demolishing mass cities to plant trees in their places will no longer affect the carbon dioxide level because there is too much of it in the air. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is leading to climate change, which comes with unpredictable extreme weather events. I think there should be new laws in the future that require businesses to capture and store carbon emissions, homes/businesses to switch to renewable energy, and solar or wind-powered transportation to replace fossil fuels.


As part of my series about young people who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Noor Amiri.

Founder of Noorullah, Noor Amiri, was born in Afghanistan in 1995 but soon moved to Pakistan during a time of war. When Noor was 7 years old, he came to live in the United States and currently resides in San Francisco, California.

After earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in early 2019 in the Fashion Merchandising program at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, Noor worked as an assistant for notable boutiques such as the House of Chanel and Marni.

In December of 2019, Noor began to collect inspiration for his new sustainable brand Noorullah, a timeless luxury menswear collection that currently features nine unique and versatile pieces.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit how you grew up?

I grew up in a very disciplined traditional Afghan household. Dari is my native language but I also had to learn Urdu while growing up in Pakistan. The school I attended during my childhood was just over the wall of my courtyard. At the start of every school day, the principal would check the appearance of each student individually. She would carry a yardstick and would smack the hands of any student who did not have their shirts tucked in or nails cut. When I came to America at the age of six as a refugee with my two brothers and sister, I went to school at Hopi Elementary in Phoenix, Arizona. I learned to speak English fluently in about two years. I would also go to church during the summer where I had a lot of fun learning and playing with other kids. I enjoyed riding my bike, roller skating, playing soccer, basketball, board games, and swimming.

Is there a particular book or organization that made a significant impact on you growing up? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The United Nations brought my siblings and I here through the IOM organization, which had the Catholic Church of Arizona make our transition easy. The wonderful people at the Catholic Church gave us so much love and support. I am beyond grateful for this organization because through them, the church provided us comfort in a welcoming home. I was astonished since the first day I arrived in Arizona and walked into my apartment. My sister and I had our own room and our beds were filled with stuffed animals and toys. I had a big scooby doo stuffed animal which I am still a fan of today. I will never forget the first day I came to Arizona and the people who helped us. Their kindness was more than I could imagine. It made me realize how fortunate I am and how some people have such big hearts.

How do you define “Making A Difference”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Making a difference to me is putting effort into the right cause. It is when someone makes a gesture out of love and positivity. For example, it could be when you do a kind gesture for someone or when you give an opportunity to a person who has lost hope. Your positive gesture could then spark a change in them and they might also pay it forward. Overall, doing something good has a much greater impact than we know. The more kind gestures every person does, the bigger the change.

Ok super. Let’s now jump to the main part of our interview. You are currently leading an organization that aims to make a social impact. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change in our world today?

My brand Noorullah aspires to take after the most talented fashion designers who produce the most creative and irresistible designs and produce my designs in the most sustainable way possible. The main goal of my brand is to reduce pre and post-consumption waste in the fashion industry. My brand’s designs would be desirable so that they can always be in style. They would also be high quality and everything would be made from recycled materials so there’s less waste. Noorullah would ultimately bring a change in the green footprint of the fashion industry.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

I love and appreciate nature because of its beauty. I have always enjoyed visiting parks and gardens as a child, and I still do today. The vibrant colors of different plants have always amazed me. It wasn’t until I researched more about pollution when I started becoming passionate about being sustainable. It was the catastrophic facts about the effects of pollution that inspired me.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?

I realized that I loved fashion because it brought me confidence, which is something I struggled with while growing up. I was always trying to fit in because I felt so different, but fashion helped me embrace being unique. I experimented with a streetwear line in high school and made sales through a popular online store that allowed me to be a vendor. I also designed shirts for my marketing class in high school and the teacher gave me a profitable check for designing them. These two factors were my “Aha moments” because I knew that I could use my skills for something. After graduating high school, I was uncertain about what to do or what career to pursue. I almost joined the US government as a translator for the military. However, I knew that I should have a career within the fashion industry because it is something I always loved.

Many young people don’t know the steps to take to start a new organization. But you did. What are some of the things or steps you took to get your project started?

The first step I took is continuing my education by going to college. Through my coursework and projects, I was able to learn more about the fashion industry, how to launch a brand and get more hands-on experience with designing. After having some background knowledge, you have to set a plan of what you want to achieve. For example, if you plan on launching a fashion collection six months from now, you have to work backward from a six-month calendar and also leave some cushion room for unexpected delays. You then begin the research stage, assuming you already have your designs figured out. Afterward, you should begin researching suppliers, manufacturers, and anything that you will need to bring your collection to life. The initial stages are the most important.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

The most interesting thing that has happened since I launched my brand at the end of 2020 is that I’ve been getting compliments when I wear my collection in public. My shiny silver jacket in particular has been getting a lot of attention. It makes me really happy when I get compliments on my own work.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or take away you learned from that?

The funniest mistake I made was when I was first selecting fabric for a pair of gloves I was designing for my collection. I selected a fabric from overseas and rushed it to be made into a sample without seeing the fabric in person. Once the samples came in, I instantly noticed that the fabric was a different color from the images I saw online. The gloves were also too small because they were kids-sized! I learned that it is important to be extra careful about the initial stages of production, especially in the design and materials selection process. I also learned that you should order material swatches to be sure about your fabric decision as it will take a lot less time than having to start over with new samples.

None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?

My mentors were my teachers who believed in the success of their students. They tried their best to genuinely make sure that I was learning and that I would have a bright future. My teachers assigned me valuable projects that helped me in the real world in addition to our weekly lessons. I got to practice product development and manufacturing, which helped me develop a working formula for creating new collections for my brand. One of my teachers, Ricardo Sison, taught me working formulas for buying/purchasing and also how to target an audience for the best chance of success.

My visual merchandising teacher also contributed to my success by challenging my creativity. I had to choose a brand to create a window display for as my final. I had to take everything we learned throughout the semester and implement it in this window display, such as the principles and elements of design. Since I had previous experience with Adobe Illustrator, I was able to make mine look more realistic with vector art.

I ended up doing my project on Dries Van Noten. I matched the design to his brand image, which was comfortable, intricate, and elegant. I installed mannequins, lights, chandeliers, curtains, sofa, and rugs. Even though I followed all of the guidelines and implemented the principles and elements of design, I received a C letter grade. At that moment, I thought that my final grade was a complete mistake. I later began to realize that perhaps my teacher was right and that I could’ve been more creative. I still think about this project a lot because of the way my teachers would always push me to improve.

Without saying specific names, can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

I always love helping people as much as I can even if I don’t personally know them. I had a friend who lost their job as a barista, which was their only source of income. My friend soon told me that they were having a hard time finding a new job and that their family would not support them. That same night, I took them to dinner at my favorite restaurant and talked about the positive things in our lives. I would talk about my brand and how even though starting a brand isn’t easy, it is something I love and makes me happy. Every other time I would hang out with them, I made sure to continue to share positive thoughts and drove them to believe that they would find a new job very soon. Soon enough, they found a new job that was the perfect fit for them!

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

One of the biggest problems that our communities and environment faces are the effects of climate change. We can all do our part to slow down climate change by switching to renewable sources of energy as much as we can. We can use solar energy and wind energy to emit much less heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere. All of our public transportation systems should be powered by renewable sources of energy instead of burning fossil fuels. Lastly, we should capture carbon and store it in the ground to clean up the air pollution. Planting trees across the planet and even demolishing mass cities to plant trees in their places will no longer affect the carbon dioxide level because there is too much of it in the air. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is leading to climate change, which comes with unpredictable extreme weather events. I think there should be new laws in the future that require businesses to capture and store carbon emissions, homes/businesses to switch to renewable energy, and solar or wind-powered transportation to replace fossil fuels.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of the interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each).

  1. The first thing I wish I was told is to not worry so much about my student loans. I learned that there is no rush to pay them off and there are payment plans available based on your specific work situation. Knowing this earlier would have saved me some stress while I was in school.
  2. Another thing I wish I knew is how much time it would take to get the production done for my collection. My production ended up taking three months longer than expected. I also learned through this process that there can be a higher cost for production than expected.
  3. With my own production experience in mind, I wish I was told to always have a backup plan because things don’t always go as planned.
  4. The fourth thing I wish I knew is that there will be many other unknown expenses that should be accounted for such as setting up a website, as an example.
  5. Lastly, I wish I knew to start working with a PR agency even before I launched my first collection. The beginning stages are the hardest and getting your brand known can take years. PR agencies can help increase authentic brand exposure.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

I would say that making a positive impact can help in more ways than you know. As you continue to make a positive impact on those around you, you start to have a positive mindset. Doing something positive can make others feel good too. Also, since society and our environment are closely related, making a positive impact on both our communities and the environment around us, can help us all have a better quality of life.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I would love to have lunch with Jeremy Scott. I’m a big fan of his designs and he is so playful with his work! I remember one look in particular from his designs in Moschino Fall 2017, where some models looked as if they were real-life G.I. Joe action figures.

How can our readers follow you online?

Website: Noorullahus.com

IG & FB: Noorullahus

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

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