“I’ve never been that interested in fashion,” Salama Mohamed candidly admits. “But as I have grown up I have come to realise that it plays a big role in helping me express myself to my friends and loved ones, as well as to my Pearl By S family on Instagram.” Salama says of the jewellery business Salama set up in 2015.
Living in the States for two years while her husband Khalid studied, Salama, who is also a mother to Khalifa, seven, and Abdullah, four, learnt a lot about herself and her capabilities, which inspired her to start the business. “I had to become fully independent as Khalid was studying so hard. It taught me so much about myself and who I am as a woman. I grew more confident, I travelled more, and it built the foundation for the business and the work I do today.”
As for the inspiration for the brand Salama explains, “I’ve always loved pearls. My grandfather, my mother’s father, used to be a pearl diver so the appreciation for them runs in the family. I decided to launch my own collection as I couldn’t find ones that were affordable and that you could wear every day without feeling like you’re in really expensive jewellery.” Pearl By S aims to fuse the traditional with the modern, as well as celebrate something deeply connected with the Emirati culture. “I use freshwater pearls with 18 karat gold and we have the Abu Dhabi seawater pearl also,” Salama explains.
The Emirati culture is one that she is proud of and this is also reflected in her dress sense. “I always feel elegant wearing an abaya, even if it’s just going to buy eggs, milk or my kids’ favourite ice cream from the grocery store. Plus it’s a big part of our culture, which I am always proud to represent,” she tells Bazaar. There’s another item in her wardrobe that she favours, “My Lululemon leggings. I wear them more often than I should...I would live in them for the rest of my life if I had to. Why you might ask? Have you tried a pair on before?” When it comes to footwear, Hermès slippers win out every time; she currently has six pairs. “I developed a passion for them during a visit to Lebanon. I had only brought heels and my feet were killing me. I tried a pair at the airport and fell in love instantly.”
This year, the designer was named as a Pink Caravan ambassador for breast cancer awareness in the UAE and humanitarian work is something she is passionate about. “We regularly visit schools to meet with students and share lessons with them. We also take part in community drives and charity events,” she explains. “My husband and I enjoy giving back to the community and country that has given us so much.”
Salama Mohamed wears an abaya and Manolo Blahnik shoes, her own. Payal New York necklace and ring. Photography: Richard Hall. Styling: Samah Elmeri. Words: Maddison Glendinning. Make-up: Blowout & Go