Beauty and the Bisht: Hana Samman celebrates tradition with her designs

Rima Al-Mukhtar | Arab News Staff

Published — Wednesday 7 November 2012

Last update 7 November 2012 6:22 am

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Saudi designer Hana Samman started her designing career in an early age when she couldn’t find anyone who would design a navy blue abaya for her. She decided to design her own just to have the liberty to wear what suited her and looked good on her.
Her fashion sense drove her to design her own abayas before people around her asked her to design theirs as well. Thirteen years later, Samman now is one of the famous and well-known names in the fashion industry in the Kingdom. She leads a very stylish life and travels from one country to another to find inspiration and buy her exclusive and luxurious materials.
“No one can imagine how much I love the Saudi abaya. I believe they are a very decent coverage to Muslims and I love the fact that I can play with designs and make them stylish, decent and well covered at the same time,” said Samman. “Women who wear hijab do not have to look dull and wear an all-black cloak. They can have a good mixture of color and still look decent and covered up in a stylish abaya,” she added.
The designer started her brand as a hobby. “I only went to school to study fashion design after I established the brand and after I got familiar with the fashion design scene in the Kingdom,” said Samman. “I wanted to learn the possibilities and impossibilities in making clothing. I have a team of tailors that helps me make the abayas. I do all the designing and purchase the materials and fabrics they use,” she added.
“I studied at Burgo — an Italian fashion institute — for two years, and I learned so much about stitching and designing. I must say it was a good advantage for my brand,” said Samman.
Samman designs are known to be unique for she uses different kinds of fabric in one design. “I usually include two to three different materials in one abaya. I like using silk, lace, crepe, cotton and velvet,” she said. “My recent abaya collection contains gold and silver threads with a rich fabric,” she added.
Samman’s recent collection is based on Saudi traditional clothing but adds a modern twist. “I chose the collection to be like the traditional bisht, a well-known cloak made for men and I added small changes to it and made it fit for women,” she said. “I made sure that the abayas are made in a traditional way with a twist of femininity,” she added.
Samman designs two collections a year. So far she released 26 collections in the Gulf market. “I make abayas for different occasions and seasons and I just released my summer collection which are all cold cottons with light stitching and there is the weddings and night celebrations collection,” she said.
“My designs are very smart and there is something for everyone. I always make sure to make different designs so I can satisfy all my costumers,” she added.

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