Behind the Design with Nimi Nanji-Simard

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Scarves are my personal and private passion and I am so proud to share this passion with you all. Niminimi scarves are unique in their clarity and distinct in their evocative imagery.

I have been designing my world since I was a child in Uganda, During the infamous expulsions my parents moved us to Canada where I currently live [Montreal]. My heart, my hotelier husband, took me back to Africa in 2009, this time to Kenya. In my five years there, I created a line of bespoke clothing and jewelry inspired by the vivid colour and patterns of Africa. At the same time, I worked as a buyer for luxury hotels in Nairobi, Mount Kenya and Masai Mara. This job took me on a quest through the souks of Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Morocco to name a few, where I searched out exotic items coveted by our European and North American visitors.

My 20-year career in the not-for-profit sector has also given me a deeper understanding of the large variety of issues and challenges people face. I feel blessed to be born in to the family I am, to have received the education I did, to have been received with open arms in Canada. These are not opportunities that are given to all and can never be taken for granted.

Working with the Friends of Unicef committee was a natural next step in my latest endeavor to collaborate with founder Bita Cattelan and UNICEF Canada’s many ambassadors. As a child raised in Africa, I know first hand that not all children are born with the things we take for granted in other parts of the world. Later in life, my travels have taken me to other parts of the world, be it Thailand, Russia, India, or Philippines, they all confirm that vacuum in the most basic of services for a healthy childhood.

Growing up in Uganda and being part of the Indian community, it was always all about family and surrounding neighbours. They replaced each other without much talk or language. Children felt safe. “Ça prend tout un village…” represents this.

The #TIEDTOKIDS is very important to me because we are all tied to all children. They are our future at a very personal level as well as at the community level. We are all tied in our commitment that they all grow up healthy and lead future communities.


Nimi Nanji-Simard

One Response

  1. Nimi, this is powerful and evocative (of my own childhood in Kenya). Keep up the wonderful work!