5 Quick Fire Questions With… Tala Samman!

As one of the most successful and prominent fashion bloggers in the Middle East, Tala Samman is now a household name. Tala Samman is the Chicago-born Syrian former fashion editor, DJ and stylist known for creating the UAE’s first style blog, My Fash Diary. With a love for edgy accessories and attention-grabbing cuts and silhouettes, Tala always stands out in a crowd. We sat down with this Syrian beauty for a quick chat on her journey, her take on fashion trends and sustainable fashion.

Image: Tala Samman in the Halston Heritage Silk Green Sheer Dress (XS)

You’ve had so many amazing experiences since starting your ‘style diary’ back in 2009, from interviewing top designers to collaborating with the likes of Net-A-Porter and ASOS. What’s been the top career highlight for you and what would you like to conquer next?

My dream was always to work in the fashion industry. I went to the London College of Fashion for four years. While I was studying, I interned at Grazia Magazine and I also worked at the Tom Ford headquarters in London. I also lived in New York for a while and worked in the Halston offices while Marios Schwab was the designer and Sarah Jessica Parker was designing the Halston Heritage collection. The first job I had, out of university, was being the fashion editor at style.com arabia. The greatest thing was being able to work with brands I had always admired and grew up loving.

We love this quote on your blog: “Fashion is what others declare is in. Style is what you declare is in” Please can you tell us a bit more about that and how you came to find your own style?

When I first started, I was obsessed with fashion growing up. For the longest time, fashion to me was what the latest trends are and being up to date with the latest trends.  When I worked at style.com, it always revolved around "What is in fashion now?" or "What colours are big?" or "What prints should we be wearing?" As I grew older, I started to realise that it's not really about that. It's about styling what looks aesthetically great for you, not necessarily what's trending at the moment. Even if you're wearing trendy pieces, it's important to make them your own.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a summer of travel this year, we’re sure you’re the same! With this in mind, what will you be packing in your suitcase?
I am actually the worst packer ever, haha! I am the utter worst to give tips on this! This year, I've made it a point to try and get better. I always used to pack very heavy and not in a smart way. I've been a little more organised this year. I bought some packing cubes from amazon.com. It makes packing convenient, it makes it easy to unpack when you arrive at your destination. I put all my work out clothes in one cube, I put all my basics in one cube, I put all my track suits in one cube. When I arrive at my destination, if I need to find a particular item then I just unpack the specific cube I need. 

If I'm going to pack an item, I need to think of at least two or three ways I can wear the item. If not, it's not smart packing, unless it's a really light top or dress.
Having a packing checklist is also very handy! You can buy or download packing checklists online, I use them all the time. When you're travelling you have so much on your mind, it's very easy to forget to pack some key items, so I really depend on my lists!
Starting your packing early is always great as well! I always find myself removing things, adding things right till the very last minute.

Image: Tala Samman in the Three Floor Coral Lace Dress (Small)

Let’s talk about preloved fashion for a minute. What’s your favourite secondhand style steal, where did you buy it and why do you keep coming back to it time after time?

I love Thrift For Good because it's a place where people can buy second hand items that are in good condition. I used to buy second hand items from markets in Notting Hill and Brick Lane whenever I travelled to London. A lot of these items are still with me and I feel less inclined to give them away because they are such unique pieces. I do like looking at cool thrift stores for little gems. I'm trying to be a better shopper and hoard less and have less clutter at home. The more items you have, the less you see them and you forget about the items you have if you don't see them on a regular basis.

And finally… you’re stranded on a desert island. What three things would you take with you and why?

Probably my phone! I do everything on my phone, from work to keeping in touch with friends. I would also bring my chlorophyll water, because I'd die without my water! And I love chlorophyll water, it flushes all the impurities out from your body and it really helps my skin stay hydrated. A really good lip balm or bronzer would be my last item!

Let’s Talk About The Tala Collection…
What are the pieces you have donated and do they have a story?

I decided to do a wardrobe cleanse to cut down on the number of items I own. The goal is to give these beautiful items to people who would appreciate them and give them a second life!

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