1) What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Hannah and I’m originally from Tunisia, now living in Richmond, VA.
2) When did you know you wanted to be fashion industry?
It was never so much the fashion industry that captured my attention but it was rather vintage fashion. Vintage fashion is an art, where each piece truly holds a piece of history, so I was definitely captivated by that and by the originality of each piece.
3) Who are you biggest inspirations?
I’m not so much inspired by individuals but more of the time period. I absolutely love the 1960’s and 1970’s in fashion and my style is largely influenced by that. Individuals that I would say influence my style are Frida Kahlo, Pam Grier, Bianca Jagger, and Lisa Bonet.
4) Are you a full time head buyer or are you involved with other creative jobs?
This is not my full- time, as I am still in school, graduating August, studying Sociology and Gender Studies. My biggest passion is social work, which is what I dedicate most of my time to. I currently mentor with an organization dealing with victims of sex trafficking, I am working in a poetry program at the Richmond Jail, and am starting a non- profit, ARK, that deals primarily with under- privileged youth in DC, along with Cordelia Cranshaw.
5) What has been the most rewarded achievement for you as being the founder/head buyer?
My most rewarding achievement with this is really just the fact that I have done it. My career as a buyer started with another vintage clothing company which really was draining and (briefly) took away my passion, so I realized I needed to just take my own path creatively. I’m proud of myself for setting a goal to do this and actually accomplishing it!
6) Where would you like to see yourself in five years with your brand Soul.eil?
In five years, I want to see Soul.eil and ARK both touch people’s lives! 5% of all proceeds go toward the non- profit. Also, as I grow, I want to feature underground poets, musicians, and artists on the site, as well as feature the clothing and jewelry of emerging designers. Soul.eil is all about supporting the local and unknown!
7) What message do you want to give out to the world with your fashion line Soul.eil?
My primary message with the line is that you do not need to fit the “mold” to be fabulous and beautiful! You don’t have to follow trends and instead should feel comfortable expressing yourself in things you have always wanted to try. Also, I love featuring women of color, international women, because we are often very under-represented in the fashion world. The beautiful women that are part of this company are expressive, intelligent, strong, AND socially- conscious— that is the really the essence of Soul.eil.
8) Do you have any advice for someone who wants to be in your shoes?