SemSem’s stunning fashion line, truly captures the bond between mother and daughter. The luxury line, is one of the most anticipated lines to view every season. I had a moment to have a chat with Abeer Al Otaiba, the founder and creative director of “SemSem” and find out more about her inspiration behind her latest collection.
Were you always a Fashion Designer?
I have always been an admirer of the fashion industry, but I began my professional career as a civil engineer. While finding success as an engineer, I found myself spending my spare time dreaming of looks or crafting the perfect piece to wear for a myriad of occasions. Designs soon followed, so from that perspective, I have always been a designer.
What inspired you to become a Fashion Designer?
Inspiration is often borne from necessity. After having my daughter, for whom SemSem is named, I realized there was a void in the market. I came to realize they are many women searching for a brand that encapsulates fashion forwardness, intelligence, a touch of edge, balanced with modesty and everyday wear-ability. I love creating beautiful pieces and solving problems, and as a result, SemSem was born.
What is the overall vision behind SemSem?
SemSem is a collection designed for tenacious women and girls. Each season is dedicated to supporting organizations focused on gender equality, literacy, health, legal awareness, and education among women and children around the globe– such as Every Mother Counts and Women for Women.
What inspired this season’s collection?
SS17, is inspired by Islamic Art. SemSem, as a brand, represents the Eastern and Western cultures I grew up in, but this collection in particular, is very close to my heart and deeply personal, as it is directly inspired by my Arabic heritage and my Engineering background. I have always been drawn to Islamic art, with its vivid, complex and intricate patterns. The Arabesque floral elements, the symmetry and repetition of geometric designs, and the seemingly endless swirls of Arabic calligraphy. With this collection, I felt eager to show people all over the world, the beauty and exquisite intricacy of Islamic art.
What are some of the latest trends in fashion that you like?
I don’t really look to trends for the collection or myself. But I do appreciate how the industry is more focused on direct to consumer right now. I love that you can capture a greater understanding of what friends of the brand are responding to this way.
We see your line at some of the most exclusive celebrity events. Who are some of the notable names that have worn your line?
I am so pleased to have driven, intelligent, passionate and stylish women support my collection. They represent the life that I lead, both inside and outside my home. I conceptualized SemSem as a go-to collection for a woman, mother, entrepreneur, and philanthropist with a multi-faceted life. It’s an honor to see women like, Blake Lively, in our pieces.
You have a lot of Mommy and Me fashion, what is the design/thought process behind creating these collections? Is it different from just creating the adult line?
I focus on offering girls options that are complementary to the women’s collection, while avoiding head-to-toe matching. To avoid a mommy and me look, we select textiles that work well together, and girls silhouette that are a nod to the women’s look. Some of my favorite pieces from the Spring offering are actually stand alone. Inspiration and movement, are the keys to designing for children. Considering not only what is aesthetically pleasing, but also what is wearable.
Can you tell us about how you feel about fashion in general?
Fashion is a true love of mine. Surrounding myself with such an inspired community of creatives, is moving. It is thrilling to encounter other driven and focused women, that are not afraid to showcase their talent and voice. It is exciting to experience how the fashion community celebrates new talent and supports female entrepreneurs. We are amidst a period of time where this is being highlighted, and I believe it is phenomenal for other young women to see.