Nemer Saade brings male fashion to the Arab world
London - An undeterred determination to “create beauty amid all the ugliness around” is the driving force behind the creations of Lebanese designer Nemer Saade, the Arab world’s foremost male fashion designer. He has capitalised on a trend encouraging Arab men to invest more in their looks and style.
A descendant of a long line of tailors, Saade discovered quite early on a penchant for tailoring, cutting his first patterns at the age of 16. He says that after graduating from Beirut’s fashion design school, Esmod, he felt “it was time to bring special attention to the Arab man”.
“Inspiration for a designer can come from anywhere anytime. What typifies a designer is an inherent touch, lines that contour these designs, unique features and imprints,” Saade said.
More Arab men, especially in the last decade, have stepped out of the traditional structure and adopted the “cosmopolitan” look. They have always looked elegant and stylish in their traditional dress but the concentration on women has made designers ignore the opportunity of dressing men.
The increasing appreciation that men can have many unique styles like women, spurred demand to catch up. Saade’s fashion house is the first to dedicate all its work to men, to establish the trend and make it a mission to highlight their brilliant heritage, culture and versatility.
Special groom tuxedo designs were the first to put the Saade designers under the limelight. A fashion show back in 2005 launched its slim-fit suits and shirts ushered in a new era in the Arab world, typifying the unique touches of Saade.
Saade established his brand name, Nemer Saade Haute Couture for men, shortly after having the first male fashion show from the region, which was broadcast live on Fashion TV network, helping him gain international exposure and “raise awareness” about his designs.
Arab singers Wael Kfoury, Fares Karam and Ragheb Alama wore his clothes and helped spread the image, Saade said. But the turning point came in 2010, when he was singled out to dress international celebrities such as musician Slash from the band Guns N’ Roses, singers Tonex and Usher for the Grammy Awards, and the American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert.
This catapulted Saade’s brand into the wider world of entertainment that liked the difference of being dressed by the first Arab male designer who comes from Beirut.
“Stylists of celebrities always look for diversity and the perfect match that makes the celebrities they work for to be uniquely presented,” Saade said, commenting on his first international exposure.
“It was exceptional to say the least… knowing the level of exposure and competition to deliver the best when critics give credit to elegance and anatomise every detail when they can slash you to pieces if you fail.”
“The amount of research, the endless days of seeking inspiration and the detailed study of the career and personalities of the celebrity we opted to dress was voluminous,” he added.
Saade said he knew that he had set higher standards for himself and needed “to achieve more to move to the next phase”.
“Success is always contested, challenged and competed with. Once you manage to place your brand among the great in the field, the rules of the game change. You are continuously under scrutiny; even the slightest hiccup is exaggerated,” Saade said.
Saade said he is proud to start the trend but also welcomes anyone who has a vision and can add to the industry to deliver unique style and definite quality to the Arab world.
Recently, he released a unique thematic collection called Stop the Wars as part of La Mode à Beyrouth Fashion Week last November in Beirut. He presented 45 new styles as evidence that the Nemer Saade Haute Couture will continue to produce innovations in men’s fashion and that it won’t be deterred by the unstable political situation and volatile security in Lebanon.
“We wanted to demonstrate the ugliness of conflict and war and that the devastating effects should never lead us to desperation and surrendering to defeat,” he said. “Beauty and willingness to embrace life should always lead us to challenge difficulties.”
While continuing its expansion in the Middle East and around the world, Nemer Saade Haute Couture diversifies its line to meet growing customers’ demand. In February 2014 it launched a line of made-to-measure shoes shortly followed by S-line, a collection of bespoke shirts.