Lana Talks To: Ceem Haidar, founder&designer of Chafai

1) Good morning Ceem. It’s good to have you on L’Armoire De Lana today. Let me start by asking you: how and when did you start off Chafai?
Good morning Lana, glad to be here.

We kicked off Chafai back in 2007, my mother, sister and I. We all have an innate creative streak that we were eager to channel into something tangible. So we started with customized jewelry and bags… and order by order, it picked up and went regional… And that’s when we decided to turn it into a brand – now known as Chafai. The brand name, ‘Chafai’ (pronounced sha-fay), is actually a fusion of all our initials into one.

Ceem Haidar, founder and designer of Chafai: Lebanese accessories and bags brand

2) Is there anything in particular that inspires you or is it different for every collection?
Our inspirations for every collection are derived from our surroundings, all that we see, feel and experience. Some collections build on previous themes, and others are completely fresh and new.
3) I also noticed how great the quality of your products is, which isn’t always the case in Lebanon for other brands. What’s your secret?
The Chafai ‘brand promise’ if you like, is commitment to quality…. With three women running the brand, you can imagine how picky we can get. We aim to create products that are lifetime accessories, not just seasonal fads. And thankfully, up until now, we have delivered on that promise. I have friends who bought customized Chafai pieces over 5 years ago and still wear them today, and they send me pictures when they do. That makes me really happy.

4) Do you have a style icon? If yes, who and why?
I believe everyone is a style icon in their own right… and everyone has bad style days… Take the celebrities that look glamorous on the red carpet, but look like ‘ahem ahem’ on their days off. I admire the assortment of styles that we see around us every day.

5) What are you favorite trends for Spring Summer 2013?
I’m loving the bright colors and prints, metallics and plastics. The black and white block color pieces are also interesting. I have an obsession with shoes – so I can’t wait for the summer to whip out some bright shades!

6) What can you tell us about your latest collection? What inspired you and why?
When we sat down to design the latest Chafai collection (and all our collections for that matter), our aim was to cater to the feminine side of women, but give them a way to express their inner rebel. Some of the Chafai cuffs have delicate designs on them, but are so chunky – they’re a walking statement. The bangles have sayings such as ‘love is cheaper’ and the earrings and rings are all inspired from everyday elements such as the kaff, feather and ribbon (which symbolizes so much in today’s world).

As for the bags, coming up with the new collection is such an interesting process – because again, we are three women, each with a different style. So each bag fuses a piece of each of our characters, from the colors, materials and embellishments chosen. We get inspired from the diversity in our everyday lives.

L’Armoire De Lana is LOVING Chafai’s SS13 thick gold cuffs

7) What is your favorite piece from your new collection?
My personal favorite from the ‘Chafai Bijouterie’ line is the feather ring… and from the bag line, I love the Pocket Handbag in pink leather and print plastic, with a long chain strap.

Feather Ring

Pocket handbag in pink leather, print plastic and long chain strap

8) How would you best describe your personal style?
It would depend on what day (and time) of the week you ask me that question on J

9) Do you read fashion blogs? (if yes, please specific which) Or are you more of a magazine person?
Magazines used to be the ultimate go-to fashion guides… I still remember when we used to ‘ship’ back the latest Cosmopolitan UK, or Vogue US editions just to browse through the trends. Today, we have seen a rise in brilliant local fashion magazines (like U Magazine), as well as fashion blogs that speak directly to us… your blog’s design, detail and structure is really appealing.
10) Last but not least, what are your future plans for Chafai?
A few weeks ago I got an order from a fashionista in the US, for a customized Chafai cuff with her name written in Arabic. Just reaching out to people from different cultures with our local heritage translated through our designs, is really inspiring. Based on that, I’d say future plans for Chafai are ‘going global’ (InshAllah).
PS: Chafai is exclusively available at Leanna’s Boutique in Saifi Village.
Fashionably yours,
Lana xx 

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