Adel Salem, Founder and Managing Director of Salem Alta Moda for Couture Fabrics and Textiles.
What made you start Salem Alta Moda?
The fabrics and textiles business has been a family legacy ever since my grandfather first started in 1911 back in Portsaid. Since then, the business was inherited to my father and then to me. I spent all my life in the business with my family and by time, Salem Alta Moda's reputation crossed all over Portsaid reaching Cairo and became a prime destination for the luxurious textiles in Egypt. People traveled especially to get their hands on the premium fabrics imported from France and Italy. The business grew rapidly in scope and I found that it was very important that we operate in the hub of the fashion society. In 1995, I opened our first branch in Cairo and since then, the fashion scene has been affected significantly by the luxurious and exclusive fabrics that we provide. Our name and list of clientele expanded towards the Middle East and that’s why we opened our branch at The Dubai Mall to serve our clients whom have put their trust in our quality of fabrics.
What differentiates Salem Alta Moda from other fabric retailers?
We do not consider ourselves retailers as much as we are perceived as a foundation that serves the fashion society with high end fabrics, as well as a wide network of designers and fashion consultation. What differentiates us from any others is our solid and deep experience with global fabric designing companies all over Europe in addition to persistence in catering our clients with the most luxurious and high end fabrics from global fashion houses such as Elie Saab, Valentino, Versace, Zuhair Murad and others. Our glamorous fabrics are designed by international key players in the fashion industry who have shaped and formulated the global fashion scene.
For decades, we remained the main and prime provider of premium fabrics to fashion designers that have showcased their designs in Paris and Cairo Fashion Week such as Hany El Behairy, Yasmine Yeya Couture, Osama Hathout, Hesham Aboul Ela, Nana's Closet and more. With our joint efforts, we were able to serve Arab celebrities and Middle Eastern socialites with sophisticated designs that appeared on red carpets at Cannes Film Festival, Dubai International Film Festival, Cairo Film Festival and many more.
What was most challenging when trying to reach designers such as Valentino, Zuhair Murad, Emanuel Ungaro, Roberto Cavalli, etc..?
We do not deal with the fashion houses directly; we actually operate with their fabric suppliers, who have been our long term associates and great partners in the development of our textile business. We serve our list of clienteles with fabrics from the fashion catwalk, but with a wider diversity and assortments and not only what strictly appears on the catwalk. Our network with the fabric designing companies enables us to cater our clients with branded and custom made fabrics that would suit their wishes and needs.
For example, we had a bride that loved an available Elie Saab lace fabric for her wedding gown, but she was looking for a specific shade and wanted to add beadings to the lace. Accordingly, we sent her request to the French company and the fabric was delivered in a matter of weeks exclusively just for her. With this professional and deep association, we are able to cater branded luxurious fabrics tailored for each client if possible.
What is the best or highest-demand fabric and why?
Usually with each season you would find a new and different taste that becomes a best seller and highly demanded, however, silk and french lace remain common requested fabric materials throughout the year. And that’s due to the simple beauty and quality in both materials that can make a beautiful gown. For instance, we had a specific rich French lace that inspired the now known as the top bridal designer in Egypt, Yasmine Yeya. The moment she saw the lace fabric she fell in love with it and made out of it a beautiful collection of bridal gowns, that has been the talk of town.
What quick fix tips could you give women when cleaning a stain from their luxurious gowns?
The greatest tip would be that they should treat their gowns delicately. Some women tend to underestimate the fragility and delicacy of the fabric and they either wash it wrong or clean the stain in a wrong manner. I advise they get the consultation from their tailor, who will have a better understanding of the material.
What are the latest fabric trends for Fall/Winter 2015?
Lace and organza are clearly the latest trends and it shows in the collections of many global fashion houses.
For our readers who want to make a dress, what is the golden tip you can give them when choosing the fabric?
We advise them to be quite selective when it comes to the color and material, to fit their body type and skin color. That’s why we always assist our clients with the latest couture catalogues, so they would have a wide variety of designs to check. Usually in our showroom, we tend to advise the clients with what would fit their age and body type.
What advice do you give a young up-and-coming fashion designer when picking out the fabrics of their collection?
We always have new designers coming in and looking through the most popular/high in demand fabrics which is something I am quite against. Even though upcoming designers should be greatly influenced by the success of the big names, they should also have their own taste in the designs and selection of fabrics. Even if they end up selecting base colors, they can always create something beautiful if they have the skill and individualistic taste.