Loai Naseem is a Saudi fashion designer, graphic designer, publicist by trade turned entrepreneur and successful businessman. He is known for establishing Tafaseel International Trading Limited company (Lomar) back in 2002. Lomar was founded by Saudi entrepreneurs and couple Loai Nassem and Mona AlHaddad to innovate and modernize the design of the thobe, a long dress worn by men in the Gulf, without giving up on their heritage. Started as a brand to cater to men, in 2014 they launched a new line for women that rethinks the abaya as well. The Luxury Network KSA’s Narges Raiss talks to Loai Naseem about his professional journey, opportunities for growth and Saudi Arabia’s fashion scene.
1. Tell us a bit more about your professional journey and how Lomar came to life.
After receiving my Diploma in Graph- ic Design from the Art Institute of Houston in 1994, I worked in the advertising industry in Saudi Arabia forover a decade; first at Leo Burnett and then at 3Points Advertising. Lomar began by chance when I decided to design my own thobes that speak to my contemporary Saudi identity. The thobes garnered attention and many of my colleagues wanted to wear the designs. That is when I and my wife, Mona AlHaddad, started the company from home in 2005.
2. How was the journey from its hum- ble inception until current success?
It was an enjoyable journey with many hiccups and moments for learning but also an opportunity to discover exciting new ideas cultures.
3. What is the ethos behind the brand?
Lomar aims to represent Saudi culture from within, straddling the line between tradition and the contemporary aspirations of our diverse nation.
4. How does Lomar stands out in SA’s fashion scene?
Unlike many fashion brands, Lomar is a larger creative endeavour.
We also collaborate beyond the industry, supporting creatives in various fields and projects for community and social responsibility.
5. What are the inspirations behind your designs?
The inspiration comes from our everyday life stories as global citizens, expressed in a culturally relevant and appropriate aesthetic.
6. From starting small to becoming a powerful fashion house, tell us more about how did that happen?
It started from our home to one branch, to a large institution and fashion house. It was a long journey fuelled by love, collaboration, leadership, determination, and a shared vision between me and my wife.
7. You started with men fashion and then expanded years later to wom- enswear, what prompted you to do so?
It was an organic growth into the market. We noticed that women had a big influence in how their spouses are dressing, so we saw the potential in expanding. It also gave us much more room for creativity. Today we have products for the entire family, including children, and not limited to clothing only.
8. What differences did you experience when expanding to women’s wear?
It’s a completely different target audience in every aspect, from mentality to sensibility. It created many new challenges, but also endless opportunities for growth and inspiration.
9. What are the key factors behind your popularity?
In addition to being a pioneering and trendsetting brand, the love story behind it and its deep roots are very relatable to many people. It represents much more than just a fashion company.
10.How do you define Saudi’Arabia fashion scene?
Saudi Arabia’s fashion scene today is ever expanding. The increased openness of society, paired with the huge economic growth and vision, creates an unprecedented opportunity for every creative in the field.
11. What is one piece of advice that you live by and who gave it to you?
Keep moving forward, don’t look back, and you MUST fail in order to learn. That is what life has taught me.