SUKEINA CREATES FASHION FOR POWERFUL WOMEN
October 5, 2018
Photos by Mel D. Cole for AFROPUNK
Sukeina designer Omar Salam talks about his vision of fashion and the woman who inspires him. As told to Emil Wilbekin
“This collection was called ‘Open Gates.’ As in opening the gates and just allowing the world to have a first look at it. Just finally opening the door to people to say, ‘Welcome. Come in and share what we have to offer.’ So, opening the gate is a conversation between the world of fashion and people that have watched it and perceived it to be one thing that we would like to be given the opportunity to defer.
“The bullfight was the inspiration [for the head pieces] and really getting the distraction out of the way. It’s the armor, and the armor has a lot to do with getting back to basics. You are blonde. We don’t see it. You are brunette. We don’t see it. You have hair. We don’t see it. You don’t have hair. We don’t know it. So, stripping it to completely to having a uniform, right down to the bone kind of structure. So that’s why it was completely stripped away. Now, the adornment, beyond the fact that it hopefully looked beautiful, was really an armor.
There is an African saying: ‘When you look for peace, you have to be ready for war.’ In having this tribe of woman heading down the street and opening the gates. They are ready, they’re beautiful, but also strong and ready.
“The Sukeina woman is resilient. In obstacle, she finds strength. As she deals with it, she grows from it. She is an ascendant woman—she thinks up and upper. She lives at the top of the building, but her elevator doesn’t go down. She is kind, but she is strong. She is uplifting. She can be intimidating, but she is not there for that. She is just a very powerful woman.
“It could be ideology power. It could be creative power. It could be spiritual power. It could be sense of self-power. But it is a woman that is really strong, but a strength that is also strengthening and allowing other people’s strengths to come about. That is the Sukeina woman.”