As the first Saudi Arabian-French designer to graduate from Paris’ esteemed Chambre Nationale de la Haute Couture, Sakina Shbib has spent the past decade stitching together elements of both cultures for her collections.
She prides herself on mixing Western and Middle Eastern identities and likes to “celebrate the bond” between them. and aims to capture the spirit of both for an ever-growing fashion fan base.
“My style combines French femininity with a love of bright, fun colors and the handmade embroidery so beloved in Arab culture,” she says. The National.
Schbib’s aptitude for fashion was inspired at a very early age by her mother, who became her “lifelong inspiration”.
“She was a dressmaker and I grew up watching her creativity and hard work,” she says.
As a young student, Shbib began attending sketching classes and came to appreciate creativity. She “loved the contemplation time watching her mother draft patterns with pens and use sewing needles to complete dresses for customers,” she says. .
What surprised her even more was the “peace and beauty” she found at the fashion atelier.
On her 15th birthday, Shbib’s mother gifted her with a Singer sewing machine, and by the age of 18, she had learned how to make dresses on her own.
“People always said my wardrobe was beautiful and asked me where my dresses came from. It’s about time,” she says.
Today, Schbib designs, manufactures and sells his pieces from his Parisian atelier. She describes her dresses as being for women who “want to be elegant and value quality” and her style is “classic yet with a twist of color.”
Sakina Paris women are “active, successful and elegant without being overbearing or dated,” she says. Shbib aims to create contemporary pieces that can be worn in 2022. But we want it to stand the test of time and stay stylish decades later.
Her “entrepreneurial inspiration” came from her Saudi husband, who along the way taught her to “dream big and take few risks,” she says. increase.
Shbib also admires fashion designers of her generation, such as Amina Muaddi and Jeanne Damas. “I love how they have built a brand with a strong artistic vision that has become not just a fashion item, but an entire lifestyle for girls who can relate to them.”
After graduating from the Chambre Nationale de la Haute in 2012, she also studied with some of the biggest names in international fashion, including Chanel, Givenchy and Alexandre Vauthier.
“Soon I started honing my skills in the Chanel ateliers as an embroiderer for haute couture and Métiers d’art collections,” she adds.
A few years later, she also worked in quality control, “learning the rigors of haute couture and the peculiarities of the elite clientele’s requirements,” she says.
She joined Alexandre Vauthier in 2015, spending a year as a sewing assistant before joining Givenchy as a pattern maker for its ready-to-wear collection.
Shbib launched his own brand in 2017. When she was 28, when she “felt strong enough to take on a challenge,” she headed to Paris’ 8th arrondissement with a small team of three assistants and one of her PR agents. I opened a small atelier.
“Working in a major fashion company, I learned that success requires a broad team of different technical experts, and each department relies on all the talent forming a big chain through strong management. That’s it,” says Shbib, now 33.
But the most important element in any luxury garment is the finish, she says. Instead, I chose to use French seams and hand-made blind hems on the coat.”
While these details strongly reflect French savoir-faire, her Saudi influence is seen in “a powerful expression of beauty with a more sophisticated approach.” “French her style is elegance with a certain amount of minimalism,” she says.
She designs dresses exclusively, and defines her signature work as fitted garments that “hold beautifully finished building lines.”
“For example, I don’t promote pants just because the symbol of femininity is dear to my heart,” she adds. I love how a dress can highlight an element of beauty, such as a leg slit.As long as the dress is feminine, whether it’s classic or classy alluring.
“I want women to be strong and empowered. A dress is like armor. It protects you, but it’s also an element of style that gives you confidence.”
Her latest collection uses specific material and style references that reflect French folklore, such as Dentelle de Calais-Caudry, a lace made only in northern France, while Vichy patterns celebrate brasserie culture and polka. . Dot “takes me back to summer in the south of France”.
“But my color palette is inspired by my Middle Eastern heritage,” she adds. Embroidery and crystals – these are important style elements for Arab women.”
Looking back on her career, Schbib says her journey took a slightly different route than she had originally envisioned. she says.
“I was going to spend days sketching in my atelier, prototyping clothes, and sourcing materials on the fabric market. , recruiting, staff training, work organization, logistics, accounting, budgeting, meetings, etc., where your creativity is challenged by other duties.”
She says she doesn’t “swap that role with anyone else in the world” because it’s so satisfying to see her artistic vision come to life.
“It’s the customer relationship that’s also fundamental to a career in fashion,” she says. I have.”
When she started, Shubib remembers thinking that all women have the same body type and lifestyle.
“My first collection was mostly ultra-glamorous dresses with the same structure,” she says. “I based my creativity on ideal women rather than real women.”
When she worked at a haute couture maison, the prototype was size 36 and the model on the catwalk had the exact same body structure. “By the time my vision matured, I realized that most women have insecurities,” she says. I tend to prefer stretchy fabrics.”
She realized that a “good designer” had to think about these practicalities before presenting a collection, while offering a variety of dresses related to different lifestyles and body types. also wanted to master this art without changing his artistic identity.
“With the rise of social media as a means of communication, getting customer feedback and gathering information about what women like most is also very helpful,” she says.
Her business remains in Paris, where her dresses can be purchased online, but she hopes to one day expand to other Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia. I think,” she says.
In particular, Shbib cites the government’s new plans for the fashion sector as an opportunity. “This means that young Saudis can learn creativity, artistic inspiration and a range of skills from the fashion industry without having to move to Paris.
“I think girls of my generation want to be financially independent and successful in business, but they still want to be beautiful, confident and outspoken,” she adds. “We live in a time when self-expression via social media is more important than ever.”
Updated: Aug 26, 2022, 3:21 AM