by Zaria Sims for Urban Mindz
Omar Salam leads the high-end fashion house, Sukeina, with progressive feminism ideals and empowering fashion designs that cultivate confidence and strength for women on a global spectrum. Established in 2012, Sukeina is widely recognized by its incredibly beautiful gowns, garments, and exquisite materials. Sukeina was named after Salam’s late mother, which means "bright light." His intention for creating high-end, vibrational women's wear is to accentuate the natural radiation of light that innately grows from within a woman.
Salam’s Senegalese descent combined with his early childhood explorations of Europe influenced his love for elegant fashion, designs, and creativity. However, it was not until he began his education in screenwriting at Old Dominion University that he learned the best stories can only be told non-verbally. He switched gears into the fashion industry and graduated from Parsons School of Design in 2001. Now, his unique fashion shows and extravagant collections speak their own stories of style and culture for themselves. The purpose of Sukeina’s gowns are to tap into the subtle power of feminism and bring more of its visibility to the world.
Salam’s runway show for Essence Fashion House NYC that took place in September 2019 was a magical expression of fashion beyond reality. From its incorporation of over-the-top feathers, state of the art ruffles, and signature origami folds, Sukeina embodies a fairytale like spirit of opulence and glamour. Salam’s fashion house exhibited bright colors of orange, red, and lime green as a representation of womanly charm and appreciation. His exquisite craftsmanship and pure attention to detail personifies hard work and a love for the truest art of fashion.
Taking note of all the seemingly, unimaginable ways Salam has innovatively broken barriers within the fashion world, he still has an agenda for embedding African culture deeper into the core of every day Eurocentric beauty standards. While it is true that the motherland of Africa has the richest culture of beauty, fashion, creativity, and rhythmic essence, many of the components of African fashion have been culturally misappropriated, assimilated into oblivion, misrepresented, and/or neglected. Salam has never forgotten about his heritage, roots, and upbringing that has been influenced by his Senegalese culture. As the African cultivated landscape of fashion continues to grow and thrive in Europe and America, he intentionally strives towards creating a more inclusive fashion scenery through mentorships and leading by example.
As an emerging fashion designer, Salam predicts the microwaveable trends of cheap fashion and labor will slowly fade out of the fashion industry forever. As he states, “Sustainability is the future. Fast fashion is yesterday, and real beautiful, beautifully feeling garments is what is going to stay. The fast fashion has happened and we’ve seen it but when women understood that they could have a dress for half the price of lunch they understood that it didn’t mean much after a while. And now they are going back to that black dress that may be costly because of the amount of time put in to it, but it means something to them.”
Fashion is meant to serve as a timeless statement, not a fleeting seasonal trend, and Omar Salam has positioned Sukeina to become a permanent, avant-garde fixture in the fashion world forever.