See.Mas is a ready-to-wear fashion brand that was launched in 2018 and aimed at the Saudi market, offering “modern and practical” apparel that is carefully tailored to fit the shape and lifestyle of women in the region. The brand was chosen by the Saudi Fashion Commission to participate in the Saudi 100 Brands program and is now positioning itself for an international expansion.
Here, Her Highness Princess Nouf bint Bander Al-Saud, founder of the company, talks to WWD about the brand’s attributes and target customers as well as what informs its designs.
WWD: When was the brand founded? And what was the impetus behind launching it?
Her Highness Princess Nouf bint Bander Al-Saud: We started in 2018 with a need I witnessed and experienced personally — focusing on women’s body shapes and improving sizing.
I enjoy fashion and am inspired by many different brands, but shopping here can be frustrating as our market is often heavily stereotyped and segmented. I wanted great fitting garments in high-end fabrics that represented my aesthetic and lifestyle.
WWD: How would you describe the See.Mas design aesthetic? Is it a form of “modest fashion?”
N.B.A-S.: Thoughtful, premium, minimal.
I wanted beautifully made garments that evoke the duality of approachable luxury, simple and chic. It’s very challenging to create clean and modern designs that are also innovative and appealing. We invest heavily in our in-house R&D and consistently edit and evolve ideas as a team.
We do serve the modest market but in a fresh way. It’s not about hiding or being invisible. It’s about self-respect and an individual’s choice to express her style.
The clothing is very universal, fresh, and easily paired across looks to mix and match the whole capsule. In Saudi fashion, there is space for both traditional and progressive perspectives to coexist.
WWD: Who is the target customer, and what is she looking for in fashion apparel?
N.B.A-S.: She’s distinguished, feminine and empowered with choice. She’s turned off by overworked and heavily promoted trends and prefers a simplistic and personal approach to smart dressing. We approach everything in a real environment to validate these statements — and avoid static profiles in preference of sisters, friends, mothers, professionals as authentic muses sharing direct input. She values heritage and innovation and expects top quality.
There is an appropriateness we seek and overall awareness of the culture and lifestyle.
WWD: What else informs your designs and collections?
N.B.A-S.: I’m very inspired by relationships in the world around me: Nature. Saudi spirit. Family culture.
Our team is diverse and global; so it’s great to see the alchemy of layering our ideas together to create a unique story. Our brand is infused with practical details that add to the love of each garment-like deep functional pockets in skirts, dresses and shirts.
We invest heavily in R&D and partner closely with our mills and suppliers to create the best raw materials. Our fabrics and trim are the core of our lifestyle and have to pass rigorous testing to be approved for garments.
Every component is very thoughtfully selected for both its beauty and function.
WWD: What is your approach to online merchandising? What is the online shopping experience like?
N.B.A-S.: Customer service and direct connection to our base are paramount. Our online experience is easy, intuitive and personal. With many international customers, we focus on promoting diversity within our models to showcase the universal ability of these pieces to flatter all.
WWD: Tell us about inclusion in the Saudi 100 Brands. Why is it important to be included?
N.B.A-S.: This is a huge win for the country and global industry — and an inclusive opportunity for our talent to be recognized and celebrated.
This is the first national incubator launched and offers a bridge to cultivate a modern perspective. It’s an honor to collaborate with renowned experts and also give outside markets a chance to see inside our lifestyle and better understand Arab culture.
More and more, we discover we are all more similar than different to one another. It’s been a reviving experience and motivates us to keep moving forward as we navigate business challenges amplified by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
WWD: What is next for See.Mas?
N.B.A-S.: Beyond controlling growth, we have several ongoing initiatives, such as practical sustainability and supply chain transparency. We support other groups empowering female entrepreneurs and are engaged in our community.
We are playing the long game and take a slow and steady approach. We set the pace and will not compromise on core values. We are our only limit.