Boss LadyFeatures 29.06.2020

Woman with a vision | Zainab Salman

BY Asif

Zainab Salman is a head strong personality, who embraces all things creative. An ace fashion designer, a doting mom to two wonderful kids, a workaholic and a fitness enthusiast.

Did you stumble upon your career or was it something that you always wanted?
Writing had always been one of my strengths and I had always imagined myself to be a fiction writer. After reading Harry Potter, I was convinced that I would be the next J.K. Rowling but that never happened and I became a fashion designer instead. However, by becoming a designer, I have found another platform and avenue to express my creativity; designing clothes helps me look for beauty in every little thing I look at. It is a very liberating feeling to be able to translate something people visualize to be very boring or bland into something absolutely beautiful and that is what makes me love my profession even more.

Who has been the greatest inspiration in your life?
As a fashion designer, I have always thought Sabyasaachi’s success story to be very touching and inspiring. It is remarkable how he became one of the world’s most proclaimed designers and how he has remained faithful to his true aesthetic till today.

When was time you felt completely discouraged and how did you push through it?
Right before our showcase at FPW two years ago, we had a theft in our studio and everything was wiped out. Every single piece was stolen! It really brought my morale down. Regardless, we started from scratch and managed to pull a decent show together.

What was the best advice that your mentor gave you?
Always be humble

What are the top 3 things you cherish in your life?
It may sound cliché, but my three boys (my kids and my husband)- my life revolves around them. My work – my studio is in my house so I literally live in my office. And my family including some of my best friends that I can’t imagine functioning without

What is #1 thing that is yet to be ticked off your bucket list?
There are still a lot of things that need to be ticked off. This is just the beginning!

What does nobody tell you about being the boss?
Being a boss comes with a lot of responsibility. You are responsible for all those people working for you. As a boss, one needs to learn how to listen, comprehend and execute effectively to be able to run a team. It’s not an easy job!

Name one boss lady that you admire and how she still inspires you?
My older sister Amina, who’s a lawyer in New York, is one woman who I absolutely admire. I see her juggling her professional and private life meticulously and that really makes me look up to her. I am inspired by her work ethic. She’s always taught me to be comfortable in my own skin and empower other women around me like a real boss woman.

Describe a day in your life
I start my day off with breakfast with my kids before I go into my office. I look after design, production and execution in first half of the day. After school duties, we all have lunch together and I get back to work. I am gym-a-holic so going to the gym is mandatory for me. That’s my “me time” after work. I usually eat early with my kids before putting them in bed. Most days involve late night office runs. It feels very calming to be in the studio later at night when most of the office staff is gone. Having the space to myself gets my creativity flowing.

Complete this sentence: To me, a #BossLady is…”
To me, a boss lady is an extraordinary woman who doesn’t settle for anything less than the best

What did you learn from your biggest failure?
Don’t let anybody’s insecurities and baseless criticism over power you. Stay positive in what you do. You must be doing something right to be where you are today.

Which world leader would you most like to have dinner with?
I would like to have dinner with Justin Trudeau because he is a multi-cultural personality who respects all cultures, religions, ethnicities, races etc. I love how humble he is.

What advice would you give to young girls out there who have dreams and goals like yours?
There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise. Don’t ever underestimate what you can achieve. Keep at it, start over if you need to – you will eventually get there.