NINA KHAREY – Founder, Creative Director
Computer engineer turned fashion designer, Nina Kharey is the brains and the beauty behind House of Nonie, a luxurious Canadian clothing line that’s just released its AW 2017 collection. Creating tasteful pieces with the modern woman in mind, this young Canadian designer is quickly gaining a reputation for her clean, bold and timeless style sense.
If you ask Nina about her childhood, she affectionately remembers hearing the whirl of her mother’s sewing machine, and as she recalled: “ My mother sewed everything”. With both parents working in the clothing and textile industry, becoming a designer seemed like a natural career path for her. She realized her love of fashion when her father brought home a box of scraped sweaters for her, and instead of pretending to model them on a runway, she pretended to be the one in the back designing them.
As a child, Nina watched her older brother, her closest friend, get pulled away from her family by a lifestyle of violence. Everyday the house was full of anger and fighting: “My family fought everyday. I cried every night for peace. I just wanted everyone to laugh again and be one, but the lifestyle my brother chose was nothing but darkness and fear. It completely destroyed any chance we had. I lived in constant anxiety and loneliness for most of my life”. With all the attention on her brother, Nina focused on taking care of her parents, rather than trying to make her dreams of designing come true. She became determined to do well in school and make her parents proud and happy, as they deserve to be.
Nina pursued training in a field far from the glitz and glam of the runway. However, while working towards her degree in Engineering from the University of Calgary, she would soon realize that fate had different plans.
In the middle of her education, Nina’s family was confronted with the horrible tragedy of losing her brother to gang-related violence. Choosing not to allow the heartbreak to consume her, she decided to engage herself by working as a spokesperson for the Calgary Police Services, regularly speaking about the harsh realities of gang-violence. During this time, she also made the brave decision to focus on re-igniting her true passion. Today, a program has been designed to have Nina speak a different grade 6 class in the city every Tuesday. She uses her success in fashion to motivate kids to think outside the box and dream big, instead of giving up and succumbing to the pressure of gang recruiting, which starts in elementary.
After finishing her degree and starting her career in Engineering, Nina found her depression from the loss of her brother starting to overtake her. She knew she wasn’t happy in her career and constantly felt a nagging feeling that she belongs somewhere else. To try and heal, she started sketching and designing in 2009. Nothing serious developed, until Nina had her daughter in 2012, and decided to fully chase her dream. She wanted to prove to her daughter that nothing could hold you back from your dreams, as long as you are willing to work hard for them. In 2014, seeing something special in Nina, Holt Renfrew’s Fashion Director Barbara Atkin took her on as a protégé; An incredible opportunity that allowed the young designer to refine her craft, find her muse and develop a refreshing official, new collection. House of Nonie is a testament to one woman’s hard work, talent and courage. Barbara, and Holt Renfrew, still to this day mentor Nina and since has had many accomplishments in her career including a meeting requested by VOGUE in Oct 2016 to build a relationship with the line and also a meeting with the Fashion Director at Barneys New York to personally see the line.
Celebrity clients: Jessica Mulroney Chantal Kreviazuk (Nina designed Chantal’s outfits for her 2016 Canadian tour) Meghan Markle Sophie Grégoire Trudeau