Passion, an eye for innovation, and business know-how are all key elements for any successful fashion designer to have…and Denver, Colorado based fashion designer, Salwa Owens exudes all those and more. Salwa’s unique take on fashion was evident in her collection presented at Fashion Week San Diego 2014. Salwa designs beautifully wearable clothes that women of any background can feel confident in. Everything from her custom made prints to her fresh take on classic silhouettes showed just how much Salwa is dedicated to her craft and to the women she designs for. 

METRO LIVING ZINE NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: Eartha Hubbell, photographer

Eartha Hubbell: We’ll start with a fairly simple question, when did you start designing and how did you go about pursuing your design career? 

Salwa Owens: Being a fashion designer was a childhood dream of mine. I decided to turn that dream into reality after graduating from high school. I started by going to UGA to study International Business and French, knowing I wanted to have a Global Fashion Business and not just treat fashion as a hobby. After graduating from UGA with my BBA, I went to FIDM in LA to study Fashion Design. I slowly started my business upon graduating from FIDM in 2007, on a small scale, making one thing at a time for people. Having to move a lot for my husband’s job and having 3 babies really close together in age, forced me to have to be efficient with my business. As much as I wanted to launch my clothing label, I focused one size fits all items such as swim suit cover ups, scarves and bags, which were easy to sell online.

METRO LIVING ZINE NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: Eartha Hubbell, photographer

In summer 2013, once my youngest of 3 kids turned 1, I decided to go all out and launch my clothing label, which is ultimately my dream. I now have a line I produce locally on a made to order basis, a line that is mass produced in LA, a special occasion dress line hand made in India, and accessories I sell through my online boutique as well. I have been very blessed in growing my business in the past year and working towards turning my dream into reality.

EH: What were your inspirations for the collection you showed at San Diego Fashion week, 2014?

SO: My Spring/Summer 2015 Collection was inspired by a custom made print fabric that feels like a mix between a luxury silk and pajamas. The pajama / lingerie trend is huge for S/S 2015 so I wanted to have fun with that and create a line that is the perfect blend of chic, clean lines, and lounge and resort wear. It is a capsule collection, meaning the 11 different pieces can be mixed and matched to create SO MANY looks. I wanted to give women quality and versatile pieces that are worth investing in. I also incorporated 4 of my evening dresses into the collection, which were inspired by the movie, “Sex and the City 2”. Cliché as it may sound; the girls’ trip to Abu Dhabi was dreamy and like a Vogue spread in motion to me. I wanted to create my own lavish dresses that are classic, yet young, and fresh, and have detailed work with a Middle Eastern flair.

EH: How do you select the materials you work with in your collections? 

SO: I like to work with materials that are unique, feel good, and have beautiful movement. I also like to incorporate something classis and timeless into my collections. Once I chose my materials, I feel like things fall into place and the collection comes together very organically.

EH: Working in the fashion industry can be very demanding and intense at some points, what motives you and drives your work ethic?

SO: I have 3 small children so demanding and intense jobs are my life, 24/7. I am a multi-tasker and wearing many hats makes me feel fulfilled and like I am working towards my purpose in life. I am motivated by the fact that I believe in my brand. I believe in what I stand for and what I want to represent in the fashion industry. My mission statement is “To empower women through the joy of fashion” and I feel like my intention is very different from many brands out there. My true passion for fashion keeps me from slowing down because even through the bumps in the road, I know this is my purpose and what I LOVE to do.

EH: For our final question, is there anything special you would like our readers to know, either about your FWSD collection, plans you have for the future, or even words of wisdom for inspiring fashion designers? 

SO: I always strive to make clothing that women WANT to wear. I could spend 3 months making the most amazing show piece but my business mind set always makes me question, “who is buying this and where are they going?” Because I genuinely care about women and how they feel in their clothes, I try to be very accessible to my shoppers. I am here to answer any questions, or give my styling advice about which of my pieces will suit them best. My goal for my S/S ’15 Collection for the next couple of weeks is to show it to buyers and get it in stores. Right now my Fall ’14 collection is available on my website, but come 2015 my S/S ’15 collection will also be available.

My words of wisdom to women are to go for your dreams! Make no excuses, stop apologizing for not fulfilling traditional “female roles” and go BIG!

To aspiring fashion designers, don’t lose your voice. It’s hard not to look at what other successful businesses are doing and think, “Maybe I should do that too.” But in doing that, you are simply chasing the gold at the end of the rainbow and losing the real treasure, which is your individual style, voice, and creativity. Stay true to yourself and your market will find you.