Right before we entered the month of May, the CFDA and Vogue announced the finalists for the 2022 Fashion Fund – a grant/mentorship program established to help emerging designers and cultivate the next generation of American fashion talent. Amongst this year’s finalists was Omar Salam, founder of Sukeina, who was one out of ten chosen designers.
In addition to becoming a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, this year also marks a decade since Salam established Sukeina – we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to catch up, reflect and discover what’s ahead for the fashion house.
“We’re super happy and extremely humbled to be recognized by two of the largest fashion institutions for what we are, who we are and the work we have been putting in – it’s a great time,” Salam tells ESSENCE.
As a finalist, Salam will receive funds and mentorship based on the needs of his business. He says, “The areas of growth we’re focusing on have less to do with the fund itself and more to do with the platform. I think it’s super important to remain true to our ethos, our philosophy and our identity. Being a finalist gets us closer to breaking down the walls between us and who we are trying to serve. I think the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund really does help amplify the voices of the creatives and I’m super excited about that.”
According to cfda.com, Sukeina is known as the “best-kept secret” of the fashion world. In today’s era of hype collaborations and news overload, the luxurious womenswear brand is one of few that works quietly until things are fully complete and ready to share. However, we know with Salam’s track record that whatever he’s working on next will be well worth the wait.
Sukeina’s last collection, which was inspired by the Bantu people in Africa, was also a collaboration with supermodel Coco Rocha – the first of its kind for the brand. On future collaborations, Salam says, “I’m very interested in anything that can spark a vision and bring ideas into the world that make women feel more connected to their inner self and sense of confidence. I’m open and welcoming collaborations with brands and people.”
And speaking of the brand’s SS22 collection, Salam will soon present Sukeina’s Fall/Winter 2022 collection. “I’m super excited about it and I’m happy we broke away from the ‘norm’ that everyone thought we needed to follow,” he says. “We made a very deliberate decision that the only thing that was worth being committed to was to create something that is true to who we are and something of value. In about a week or two, we will release the new collection that further speaks to who we are.”
After countless celebrity clients, magazine placements, several collections and to now become a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, Sukeina has conquered a mountain of success in just 10 years. However, Salam says this is just the beginning of what’s ahead.
“I feel that we are just starting. It took a long time to develop the roots and all of the building blocks, which I think is extremely important because a tree is only as strong as the sturdiness of the roots. I think the first 10 years of Sukeina was making sure that before the work was out there, we solidified an idea of what our true goals and intentions are.”