Passion for Fashion

M! talks to Fashion designer Salma Khan
Passion for Fashion

"The sky's the limit," says fashion designer Salma Khan, who, in a short span of time, has made her store a name to reckon with in the dynamic fashion scene in Dubai
Salma Khan's inherent inclination towards fashion and all things creative led her to becoming a fashion designer. It wasn't easy but her determination saw her overcome the challenges to set up Salma Khan Fashion House that has created a unique niche for itself in the ever-changing fashion scene in Dubai. Masala! chats with the enterprising lady...

How did you develop an interest in fashion?
From very young age I was taken in by the curiosity surrounding fashion. Fabrics, textures and colours fascinated me – I found myself cutting textiles and making dresses for my dolls. As I grew up that interest become a passion and I started designing for family and friends. I started taking sketching seriously and experimented with patterns, cuts and designs. That's how I became a full-fledged fashion designer.

Could you tell us more about your experiences at the Cavendish London College of Arts?
I had already been designing but I wasn't a qualified designer, hence it was important for me to attend a fashion school. This was a great experience that allowed me to grow as a designer; it gave me an exposure to techniques and trends. A stint at this professional institute provided me with a great opportunity to hone my inherent interest into proper skills.

What were the challenges you faced while starting Salma Khan Fashion House?
Finance was the most crucial hindrance that I faced in the early stages. While I was determined about my pursuit of design, setting up a fashion house was not easy. Like any other business, set up costs are always involved. Getting a cash flow was a challenge. No matter how creative or talented a person is, money still matters!

Dubai is known for its fashion stores. How is Salma Khan Fashion House different?
Salma Khan Fashion House encompasses varied collections. The brand has evening wear, trendy prt--porter, traditional jalabiyas, kaftans, abayas, as well as Eastern outfits, bridal gowns or lehangas. Our unique price range also allows us to cater to different budgets.

Who is your all-time favourite designer?
I love Elie Saab for the cuts, workmanship and use of fabric. His eastern influence on international catwalks has proved that the Middle East has great talent and style. Another designer is Roberto Cavalli for his collection is always vibrant and very bold. His accessories are fantastic and I feel he certainly brings a touch of some Arab and gypsy life in his designs.

You have established yourself well in the past year or so. Do you have any expansion plans for your business?
Salma Khan Fashion House plans to expand to Abu Dhabi and possibly to Qatar. These are key markets for us and we look forward to working in those areas.

What is your personal style?
I like simple, comfortable, wearable and easy-to-manage outfits without too much fuss.

How would you describe yourself as a boss?
With a growing team one needs to work as a unit, so as a boss it's important to be in the driving seat and steer the team to that common goal. As a leader I do not only think about the daily output. I also focus on thinking forward and developing the overall strategy including expansion plans.

How would you describe the fashion market in Dubai?
Dubai has always been a fashion forward market. It is constantly growing. More local designers are coming forward and helping shape the fashion landscape. Several brands are now becoming price conscious and are offering reasonable prices for products.

What are your goals?
I do not believe in restricting myself. The sky's the limit!

Do you travel often for work? Which city do you think is the most fashionable?
I'm constantly travelling for work. The fashion capitals that I enjoy visiting are London, Paris, Rome, Milan and Montreal.

What are the hottest style tips this season?
Invest in ankle length tights in all colours, boots for the winter and natural make-up.

What are the three must-haves in a woman's wardrobe?
A black evening gown, a pair of Christian Louboutin's and Chanel jewellery.

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