Nadine Sami – Mutable Style and a Sense of Self

Personal style trumps all.

Nadine Sami – Mutable Style and a Sense of Self
Nujoud Oweis

NAME: Nadine Sami

NATIONALITY: Egyptian-Lebanese

OCCUPATION: Fashion designer and content creator

STYLE ICON: Darcy from the Winx Club




WINTER AFFIRMATION: “Layers and textures and then some more layers.”


Nadine Sami (Instagram), an Egyptian-Lebanese fashion designer and content creator who embraces a distinctly personal sense of style, has long had her own, unique approach to fashion, one that’s rooted in choosing pieces to speak to her, pieces that she entirely understands.

Nadine Sami

You have such a distinctive style, can you share the journey of how you discovered it? Was it a process of evolution?
I was always fascinated with clothes and I used to sit by my mother while she sewed the most intricate, colourful designs when I was a kid. When I came to Lebanon, I had to wear a strict uniform to school for 11 years. We got scolded for wearing the wrong colour of socks, so this did not mix well with the slight problem I had with being told what to do. Every time I was not in a uniform was a time for me to shine (they didn’t let me wear my juicy couture fringe boots to school). This eventually escalated to me wanting to buy the things no one else wanted to buy and enjoying the reactions I got from doing that. I leaned to more unexpected shapes and colours and slowly started developing a personal visual style away from just wanting to see people’s reactions, but I do believe separating my choices from what other people expected from me was a great way to kick start my fashion world building. It was, still is and will hopefully always be, an evolving process. I’m a very mutable person and I enjoy seeing things like my personal experiences, my interests, the city I’m in, affect the way I dress.

Nadine Sami

In your view, what defines the ideal winter wardrobe?
A nice, sometimes borderline absurd, amount of layering of different textiles, fur with leather, lace, knitwear… And then elevating the overall outfit by making it monochromatic! Writing this sentence alone just made me fantasise about the nearest winter storm.

Hailing from the Middle East, does your fashion challenge stereotypes or norms?
I believe that anything that steps outside of ephemeral trends challenges fashion stereotypes in the region, so I definitely think that my visual language is challenging to the normal landscape, but so many of my peers also share that experience. I started buying unusual cuts and colours at local stores when I could first afford to, and I remember getting weird looks from the employees. I also got a couple “you’re the first person to even try this on” from those employees, which was the quickest way for me to finalise a purchase. I do believe I gradually grew more interested with elevating my own expression, as opposed to it being a simple act of rebellion

Nadine Sami

What story or message do you aim to convey through your personal style? How does it reflect your narrative?

I really want to find more ways to reflect elements of our culture in an elevated and accessible way. I think we have relied on visuals from the other side of the world for long enough, it really is time to look inward and notice what’s right in front of us. That is the ultimate essence of the visual style I would like to see myself portray easily and effortlessly. Our regional identities are so interesting and it’s unfortunate that we are almost used to turning our backs to it when it comes to our creative expression, especially in fashion.

Nadine Sami

Can you offer any guidance for individuals seeking to explore and find their own style identity?
Don’t be apprehensive about intimidating people, especially yourself. Experiment with elements that are unexpected to even you and then see what sticks. A very fruitful piece of advice I got from an amazing instructor in fashion school is that simply liking something is not enough, you should understand why you like it. Is it the colour, the cut or the way the fabric falls? Does it remind you of a childhood memory, a shirt your mother wore? The answers you can get from just asking yourself ‘why’, a question many are unable to answer, can be very insightful. This has been very useful to tune out the things that don’t speak to me personally. At a certain point it will be so easy to own only the things you absolutely love. Looking further than trends that won’t last more than a few weeks is also necessary, because it stands in the way of your own world building.


For more stories of regional fashion, like this interview with Nadine Sami, visit our fashion archives.