Salama Khalfan is the epitome of the investment shopper. With 20 Birkin and Kelly bags in her closet, the Emirati explains that in addition to their timeless style, the bags will never lose their value. “They even sometimes appreciate in value, depending on leather type and colours. I never think twice before buying one,” she says.
But it isn’t all about designer wares for the founder and creative director of fine jewellery brand Alezan by SK. “When I travel, I go to the flea and antique markets every other weekend, at least. I love the sense of discovery, and it also gives you a good idea about that city or country’s history, lifestyle and culture.”
It’s her appreciation of the unusual and original that has seen her excel in her work. Awarded the Ebda’a Design Innovation for Daytime Jewellery accolade last year, and with her pieces sold throughout Europe, the USA and GCC, Salama says it is her late father’s advice that keeps her constantly motivated. “He would tell me, ‘You are enough’.” It’s a quality she hopes to pass onto her future daughter when her turn to become a mother rolls around. “I will instil in her the conviction that she is ‘enough’, and that she can be anything she wants to be. There’s something magical that happens in our hearts when we know that we are enough.”
It was this confidence that saw her step outside the comfort zone of the UAE and discover the world. “In this part of the world, we grow up very sheltered from the cruelty of what happens outside – we have help, we live in an extremely safe environment, we have ease of transportation and communication. We have everything.”
Determined to experience a different life some years back, Salama says that while in France, she bought a Bullet Train ticket to the farthest possible destination. “I’d get on with a duffel bag and travel for hours, from north to south. Whenever I saw a landscape that suited me, I’d make a stop at that station, hop out and search for a place to sleep that night.”
Salama says that experiencing the world, armed with the confidence her father instilled in her, continues to inspire her. “It made me notice and appreciate the small pleasures in life, to cherish the fortune we have, and to honour my soul’s constant pursuit of discovery.”
Photography: Richard Hall. Styling: Charlotte Blair. Words: Kerrie Simon-Lawrence. Make-Up: Sarah-Jane Thompson for Shiseido. Location: Arabian Nights Village