Fashion entrepreneur Sumaya has created a new collection called Fab Noir. The launch will celebrate the beauty of Black women by encouraging them to embrace the melanin in their skin. The exclusive T-shirt line will feature quotes to help uplift women of color and Black culture. Sumaya has a knack for style and fashion. She grew up reading the latest magazines to help keep her up-to-date on current trends since she didn’t have the proper education for the industry. Despite not having top-notch experience, she continued to follow her passion as a fashion designer and info-preneur with Black Female Founders, a resource and platform for Black female entrepreneurs and business owners that will make its debut very soon.
What is your background in fashion?
I never went to school for fashion or studied it, but I grew up on fashion magazines and was very much into fashion and style from a young age. My first introduction was probably at home where my mother had a sewing machine since I was a kid and made clothes for us, so I learned a little here and there. That and a high school fashion/sewing class was probably the most education I got. In school, I was always studying something else completely unrelated, but pursuing some type of fashion related venture.
What was the tipping point that made you decide to become a fashion designer?
My memory is horrible, but I would probably say college is when I took it the most seriously. When I realized that it was possible to still pursue it in some way and still get my education, which didn’t feel realistic to get in a fashion degree at the time (something I put on myself). The formal education would have definitely helped but even more helpful is knowing that that enormous debt that would have ensued was not necessary to still go forward in this direction.
What’s the worst fashion trend you ever bought into? Biggest fashion regret?
Spice Girls era platform shoes. I’m sure there are others too since I don’t typically stick to classics and rock whatever current trends I like at the time.
What is the weirdest thing that inspires your work?
Quotes! Does that count as weird for a label? And anything inspirational. Music, definitely. Also current culture, pop culture, black culture(s), history.
How do you go about selecting materials for the latest collection?
While this line consists of T-shirts, majority wise, I still wanted to pick the best quality, with the best ethical standards for its industry. Upon doing research, American Apparel seemed to fit the bill with its reputation for quality along with ensuring their products are made sweatshop free.
What is your biggest fashion pet peeve?
By far the biggest fashion pet peeve, like nothing will ever come close to this: Appropriation. Word to Amandla. It just seems to be getting worse every day lately. Can black women and people get credit for anything nowadays?
What do you like most about fall fashion?
I’m not one of those people who looks forward to “sweater weather” although I’ve always been surrounded by them and it annoys the hell outta me. I do, however, love the types of sweaters that have been coming out these last few years — like the big, bulky, comfy sweaters and cardigans, and the boots. Especially the boots.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I’m a self-help junkie and have been for a long time. I’m always trying to grow and evolve and get motivated (I can be very lazy). Before social media, it was all about the books, and the quotes. Now, I’m getting inspiration from every type of account, everywhere, all the time, because if they’re inspirational, then I’m probably following them (think Rob Hill Sr. and Alex Elle type of accounts to name a few). Themes that stuck with me as of recently, is probably to persevere, and to (although this is so common, it’s cliche) grow from mistakes and failures because they all lead to here and now and the capability to handle whatever life throws at me, and still focus on the direction I want to go in.