SMR: handbags for classy, trendy women



Rima Al-Mukhtar

Published — Wednesday 14 November 2012

Last update 5 December 2012 2:11 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

Samar Sharbatly sees herself as a citizen of the world; she has been living abroad since she was a little girl. The Saudi fashion designer used to live in London and now lives in Beirut, which she sees as one of the most cultured cities of the world. It inspires her, and Sharbatly believes it perfectly combines the East and the West.
Arab News had a one-on-one with the Saudi handbag designer, asking her about her start in the fashion world and what attracted her to it.

Arab News: How did you get your start in designing, and what have you learned over the course of being a designer?
Samar Sharbatly: “I have always been interested in fashion and style. Fashion has an unbelievably seasonal fast track of trends. It’s very expensive to keep up with these trends, so I got the idea of creating a timeless collection with long-lasting value and endless style, which can be dressed up or down depending on the outing or occasion.

Did you have any background in design or manufacturing before you began?
Yes, I had a previous experience in designing a line for handmade clothes, which was called “S Couture”, where I used to create different designs and prints, followed by embellishing the pieces with Swarovski crystals.

What sort of comments do you get about your designs?
It depends on the item. Some say elegant, or stylish yet classic. Others say trendy, fashionable, and reasonably priced.

Why did you start doing what you do? And why did you choose to design handbags instead of clothing?
I wanted to do something different that blends with and compliments today’s lifestyle and fashion trends, yet keep the classiness and luxury of the exotic leather goods I use, such as crocodile and python skins.

What made you decide to start your own line instead of going the more traditional path of designing for an existing label?
I’ve always dreamed of having my own line in fashion, and I believe that when you represent your own company, which holds your name and reflects your identity, you consequently work very hard to make it grow and glow no matter how hard it gets. The results of creativity and effort are what matter to me the most.

Tell us about your design process from concept and production to the shelves.
The process starts with choosing the crocodile and python colors and skins. Secondly, I start the designing process with all the measurements and details to thread the color to the interior finishing. After this process is done, each item is carefully and delicately made by hand.

From your opinion, what are the essential requirements handbag designing companies need to take care of?
They should take care of the quality of leather, perfection of the design, comfort, and making sure the collection is fashion forward yet suitable for all seasons.

How do you think your brand has developed?
It has developed immensely, since there are more styles and more stockists from different parts of the world every season.

What’s your best seller right now? Tell us more about it.
My best seller bag is called “Lady SMR”. It is a bag that can be carried during the day and in the evening.

When dressing for a night out, what comes first for you: the outfit or the bag? What is your personal style?
The bag, because I believe that simplicity is the key to an outfit, so I like my bag to stand out.
How can you predict which designs will be in most demand in the future?
I think life’s pace is getting faster as we speak! Ladies want to look elegant and stylish, but can’t spend as much time getting ready to go out as they used to, so they want an easy-to-wear bag with a twist. This is the bag of the future.

What fashion faux pas do you avoid?
I avoid being overdressed. I believe simplicity is the key to sophistication, and as they say: ‘Less is more!’

How do you feel seeing someone random wearing your designs down the street?
I feel very happy, and all the stages of creating that bag cross my mind. It makes me feel very proud of my work and its results.

Which celebrity, dead or alive, would you like to see wearing your bags the most? Why?
I would’ve loved to see Lady Diana carrying one of my bags – I absolutely admired her – as well as Queen Rania (of Jordan). I love her style and how elegant she was, and she carrying my bag would’ve made it known internationally.

Which city in the world epitomizes you and your designs? Do you plan for your handbags to reach there?
London with being funky and daring, and also Paris with being elegant and classy. Yes, I’m planning to expand everywhere.

What inspires you and your designs?
Everything in life inspires me: family, friends and street style.

What are the pros and cons of being a handbag designer?
The pros are seeing SMR brand become successful and known, given all the competition going around. I don’t see any cons in being a handbag designer. It’s great to be busy and exploit talents. The worst thing that can happen to a handbag designer is being copied, but looking at it from the bright side, I see it as a sign of success and recognition.
Do you follow international trends, or do you come up with your own trend?
I have to keep up with the trends going on internationally, yet I try to be different. I also exclusively custom make any model a customer requires, from handbags to accessories.

Are you adept at handling different forms of materials?
I’ve only worked with exotic leather, such as crocodile and python, which were the identity for SMR since I started. I’m working now on new designs with Ostrich skin, and hopefully I’ll be introducing different materials soon.

What are the various types of materials you require for handbag designing?
Apart from the skin, we use cow leather and suede.

Samar is now working on designing luggage and office accessories, which will be launched next summer.
SMR can be found in “Mahat” (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), “Avenue Collection” in Al-Aali Mall (Bahrain), “Label Queen” (Beirut, Lebanon), “Maria Pino” in ABC Store (Beirut, Lebanon), “Kulte” (Beirut, Lebanon), and “Dados” (Doha, Qatar).

Email: [email protected]

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The Saudi Traffic Department has denied that it is introducing new license plates for cars.It said hackers posted pictures of the supposedly new license plates on its Twitter account on Sunday. The department said the news, which went viral,...
JEDDAH: The Al-Haramain Train project is described as the largest public transportation project in the Middle East. This vital and strategic project is one of the implementation schemes of the mass expansion of the Saudi railway across the country.Th...
JEDDAH: The number of marriages between expatriates and Saudis has dropped 84 percent to 1,928 since the start of this Islamic year that began on Oct. 24, compared to the same period the previous year.The Ministry of Justice said that there were 12,0...
JEDDAH: Unofficial marriage is a refuge for a divorced mother to lead a married life while keeping her children in her custody but without the knowledge of the former husband who could demand the custody of the children if he learned about the ex-wif...
JEDDAH: Makkah’s health department has set up a committee to verify the sick leave certificates of employees.The department stated it would apply government regulations on sick leave, which includes people providing the address of the facilities wher...
RIYADH: The directorate of roads and transport has registered 20 cases of violations worth SR24,500 in Al-Qassim, where the transport ministry continued its surveillance drive against the companies in the transport business.According to the directora...
RIYADH: The implementation of an integrated health plan to combat MERS has resulted in a sharp drop in cases, with only one out of 736 samples testing positive for the contagion in the Kingdom in the last six days. Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Khal...
RIYADH: Muslims must cut traditionally high electricity use during Ramadan in line with the principles of austerity and self-control they are supposed to adopt in this month, economists say.Economist Al-Sadeq Idris said energy use increases during Ra...
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry will begin next Tuesday to check whether companies are complying with new laws requiring them to place proper price labels on all their products.It is mandatory for companies to stop using phrases such as...
RIYADH: Minister of Islamic Affairs Saleh Al-Asheikh chaired the first meeting with Yemeni scholars to exchange ideas on how to strengthen their role in restoring peace in their country.The first Saudi-Yemen scholars meeting, dubbed the “outreach sch...
RIYADH: To cope with the growing number of applicants (boys and girls) at technical colleges that reached 126,023 last year, a state-run organization launched an online unified portal to ease the enrolment procedures.According to the Technical and V...
RIYADH: A senior government official from Dhaka, who visited Riyadh last week, has sorted out technical issues to expedite issuing 1.5 million machine readable passports (MRP) to Bangladeshi expatriates in the Kingdom. Information and Communication T...
JEDDAH: Jeddah municipality is keen to provide health and food security to residents and visitors of the city, and they are continually conducting inspections of food stores, restaurants, markets and food storage facilities to avoid any violations by...
JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has been awarded a top international prize for his contribution to the propagation of the Qur’an.He was named the “Islamic Personality of the Year” by the Holy Qur’an International Memorization Or...
JEDDAH: Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy premier, minister of defense and chairman of the Economic Affairs and Development Council, held a meeting in Jeddah on Monday with Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed, deputy national security advis...

Stay Connected

Facebook