Exclusive Interview with Yassmin Saleh

The Lebanese designer Yassmin Saleh studied fashion and earned a lot of recognition as she won prize after prize rocking the fashion world with her talent. Side by side with her sister Farah who now handles the business operations at YASSMIN SALEH, these two amazing ladies took fashion and creativity to a whole new level.

We were lucky enough to get the chance to interview Yassmin Saleh and discover more about her distinguished talent. Check out the interview below and get to know her better!

What drew you to the fashion world?

Growing up, I was obsessed with expressing myself artistically whether through painting, ceramics, or sketching. I also had a guilty pleasure of making outfits from my dad’s tailored suits with my mom’s preppy pieces. I decided to get into fashion in order to communicate with the world, and raise awareness on sociological or psychological topics that might still be considered as “Taboo” in the Middle East.

The brand reflects wearable art; can you tell us more about how it all started?

When we launched YASSMIN SALEH, we decided to tell a story one collection at a time.

We created our first Tattoo Series for our first collection, as a means to generate conversations with our audience. Its wearable art, second skin effect has quickly turned into a signature piece for the brand.

Since then, every collection sees a new Tattoo Series that reflects the brand’s genuine commitment to the issues of our times.

The SS20 Tattoo Series is inspired by traditional henna designs, giving the series a Middle Eastern feel. We have created and placed hidden symbols on the pieces to raise awareness, and rewrite history the way we think it should be.  

We saw your amazing “Sandy Gown” creation, what other steps have you taken in the sustainability movement?

The fashion industry has taken a toll on our planet, and it is our job to be responsible and apply sustainable measures.

At YASSMIN SALEH, we practice a slow and ethical fashion process and do not use any animal leather, fur or feathers. We also apply a zero-waste method in which all of the unused scraps from our Atelier are gathered and upcycled into handmade fabrics. Using an eco-friendly approach, some of our garments are made from dead stock.

We also try to reduce waste-production by only producing orders on demand, even for ready-to-wear pieces available on our online boutique.

Each collection also sees two-piece “Modular” garments, created with a buy less and wear more approach in mind; they can be worn separately, or styled together in different ways.

What is the source of inspiration for SS20?

Every collection starts with a story. We were highly inspired by the political and economical situation in Lebanon, and the mental state of its people.

The DWELLER SS20 collection tells the story of a population longing for a blank slate. Feeling as though they were Bedouins trying to rebuild their country, they no longer want to abide by the rules. 

Balancing opposing facets, the garments portray the “Desert Dwellers” sentiments through draped and oversize cuts, with earthy tones, and the “Corrupt Keepers” through classic shapes and tailored pieces.

Are there any special pieces for Ramadan?

Having been raised in the UAE, we have been surrounded by modest fashion growing up which made us respect and encourage it in our brand. That is why, for this Spring/Summer 20 collection, we have decided to launch a few statement Abayas that would be perfect for Ramadan.

Our “BADR” Abaya is the solution for a classic look with a twist; its smooth fabric is gathered and paired with ribbons and contrasting top stitching.

On the hand, the “WARD” Abaya has a statement effect, carrying a textured and voluminous feel, with metallic flower embellishment.

We always make sure to offer conservative cuts such as our maxi skirts, oversized shirts, or maxi dresses that can easily be considered as part of modest fashion.

What can we expect next for and from Yassmin Saleh?

Other than a new collection coming up, stay tuned for our new sustainable limited edition line coming up!

For our in-house goals, we aim to have a line specially designed for our handmade fabrics that rely a lot on craftsmanship and fabric manipulations, and also hope to become a 100% sustainable brand.

Article written by Gabrielle El Kosseifi

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