Meeting up with Salima Erref

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Typically, when someone thinks of Moroccan kaftans, one would automatically associate them with royalty, red carpet events and very high price tags. But what most people seem to forget is that kaftans and djellabas are meant to be everyday wear for ordinary Moroccan women who cherish their heritage and who are keen on looking modestly chic.  To balance such an equation of practicality and traditionalism, having reasonably priced and elegant designs is out of the question. Sally Kaftan Designs is one of those few Fashion Houses out there that have been making unique and high-quality Kaftans accessible for women worldwide.

Established by Salima Erref, a Moroccan expat living in the US, Sally Kaftan Designs started off as an Etsy store to a fully established brand with multiple designs and a strong potential to serve the needs of women worldwide.

Erref is a happy mom, travel addict and a very smart woman with a Business Administration degree. After years of being involved in the operations of an apparel multinational company, she has moved to the US where she has decided to pursue her dream as a Fashion Designer.

I’ve had this heartily interview with Erref where she talked about her passions, business and future plans.

Thank you Salima for this interview! Tell me, how did you get into the design field?

Well, my family has played a crucial part in such a step; my father is an architect and my grandpa was a well-known local tailor grandfather. So, I inherited a skilled eye for design and artistry. I started cultivating my knowledge inside my grandpa’s atelier where I used to spend my free time helping him with the handwork. Few years later, my passion for fashion has started growing.

Why did you choose to specialize in designing kaftans?

Designing Kaftans has always been my passion. I used to design for myself, my family and my closest friends. I became more obsessed with kaftans especially after moving to the Unites States. I wanted to represent my country by introducing the Moroccan Kaftan with its rich handmade work to American women and bring it closer to the Arab community. Now, Sally Kaftan Design is not just dedicated to the US market, but I have also customers and fans all over the world.

You’re based in America. Tell us, how do American women respond to your designs?

American women like to try new and different things. Some of them were excited to wear the Moroccan kaftan, specially the shorts ones even before they knew where it was coming from. For them it is like being a princess in a fairytale.

What makes your brand different from any other Kaftan Fashion house?

Grace, elegance and simplicity! I do love simplicity but in a way that elevates women’s elegance and beauty. My designs are also Orient-inspired that mixes the Moroccan traditional handmade work with modern patterns.

What’s your biggest dream as a designer?

Participating and showing my designs at the most prestigious fashion exhibitions and runways in the world.

What are some of the hardships you faced in your career? How did you defy them?

One of the hardships I have faced is selling Kaftans online via my website. It was hard in the beginning because many ladies want to touch and try the kaftans before buying them. But, gradually I stood up to this challenge with the best customer service and listening to my customers’ needs. I started making online sales and receiving very nice feedback from my customers all over the world.

Tell us about your latest collection?

My latest Hareem Sultan Collection was designed for ladies looking for unique and chic Moroccan kaftans. The collection is entirely made of the finest materials, such as French laces, designer silk fabric and embellished with one of a kind trims, lace appliques,  Swarovski crystals and 3D flowers. I designed also trendy belts especially for this collection.

Moreover, my new collection has Bridal Kaftans that come with very nice matched veils.

Where can people find your designs? 

Mainly through my website or my Etsy boutique. Currently, there are ongoing many negotiations with important fashion online platforms that are about to be finalized.

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Noha Rahhal

Noha is the Founder & Editor in Chief of Sans Retouches. Apart from her obsession with glossy stuff, Noha is a hardcore bookworm and a music addict. If you happen to spot her in any of Alexandria's hot spots, you'd find her either pouring her thoughts on a chic notebook, picking a political argument with some fellas or even enjoying an exotic meal to keep her full for days.

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