“It’s a bit of Michelle Tanner meets Sporty Spice meets ’90s London punk,” said Sama and Haya Khadra. The question was about their personal styles, and in one sentence, the twin sisters of Palestinian heritage proved why the fashion community at large has long been so enamored with their every move: They are the very definition of cool. The models/creative directors/DJs, who grew up in London and Dubai, care less about what’s in right now and more about expressing their unique sensibilities in a fun and fresh way. It’s no wonder, then, that they’ve been sought-after subjects of fashion week photographers since the mere age of 14!
So what happened when we passed over the reins and gave the girls complete creative freedom of their own shoot? Picture racks filled with one statement-making piece after another, Rihanna’s new album on repeat, and a playful nod to one of our favorite decades! This is our February Styled By exclusive.
Who What Wear: Tell me about the looks you put together for your shoot.
Haya Khadra: The first look was more London ’90s punk; the second was a Michelle Tanner vibe meets Sporty Spice.
WWW: What did you love about them?
Sama Khadra: How themed they were. We love dressing in themes; it keeps things exciting. If I wake up in the morning and say “Today I’m going to do ’70s,” it makes the whole day more exciting.
HK: We really just selected the pieces we liked, and they came together in a cool way!
On Haya: Valentino jacket (similar style); Versace Crepe de Chine Fringe Top ($675) and Transparent Skirt With Lace Detailing ($1150, 888.721.7219); Zana Bayne harness; Chanel bracelets; Christian Louboutin Piloutin Clutch ($1650); Robert Clergerie Contrast Panel Brogues ($650).
On Sama: Saloni Rosa Jacket ($795); Versus Versace LS Lettering Knit Top ($495, 646.595.1907); Zana Bayne harness; Vivienne Westwood trousers ($525); A.L.C. neckpiece; Chanel necklace ($1350) and bag ($3000); Robert Clergerie shoes (similar style).
WWW: What’s the best way someone can tell you two apart?
SK: Everyone has his or her own ways of telling us apart. It’s so entertaining to some people. We just get a laugh out of it.
HK: I don’t think we look that much alike. I guess the best way is to spend time with us, and then it’ll be a no-brainer. All my friends can tell the difference in a split second.
WWW: When did you first discover fashion?
SK: I grew up with a family who has an appreciation for and collect art, so we grew up developing an eye for art and fashion.
HK: We grew up around it. Definitely started with our mom.
WWW: We read that you were buyers for your mother’s store in Saudi Arabia, The Art of Living. How old were you when you started doing that, and where would you source pieces?
HK: We were around 14 when we started helping our mom out with buying. Our main thing was to find cool new designers to stock.
SK: We would go with our mom to the showrooms, help her out, and observe. We were really intrigued by the world of fashion at the time. During my free time, all I would do was look at editorials online and in magazines. Then when we were about 17, we started doing our own appointments with designers. It was really cool, because a lot of big designers would make exclusive pieces for the shop, so it would be a collaborative effort between the designers and us to make something for the shop.
WWW: How old were you when you first attended fashion week? What was that experience like for you?
HK: We were 14. I remember loving it so much, loving the energy surrounding it.
SK: I just remember being in awe of everything: the world of buying, the shows, models, the designers. There wasn’t even really the whole spectacle of street style photographers when we first went; there were maybe one or two. I remember going to the Junya Watanabe show when I was 14, and I was amazed by the fusion of art and fashion in the clothes, as well as the production of the show. I also used to love going to the Jil Sander showroom in Milan when Raf Simons was there. It was a machine; very efficient.
WWW: Who are the stylish women who inspire you?
SK: My mom and my little sister.
HK: The women who inspire us are the ones that exude a certain kind of coolness, effortlessness, and confidence. Those women are considered stylish to me. I always prefer style over fashion. Style to me includes all those things, and that certain attitude. My little sister, for example, is one of them.
WWW: Tell me more about your personal styles: How would you describe it?
HK: We like to just play around and not take it too seriously, take advantage of our youth. A lot of ’90s London influences, sporty, kawaii…
SK: Overall, it changes up a lot, but I guess the through line would be an element of punk or rock.
WWW: What do you admire most about each other’s style?
SK: That’s a tough question, because we have the same style. It just depends on the day, the theme, and the mood.
HK: I feel like we have a very similar style. Anything she’d wear, I’d wear, and vice versa.
WWW: Would you say one of you is more adventurous than the other?
SK: We’re both adventurous in different ways.
HK: She’ll sometimes talk me into things, and I’ll talk her out of things, and vice versa.
WWW: Is there a trend you won’t try?
HK: Yes, the really trendy trends. I tend not to be drawn to things that are “of the moment” cool.
SK: Trends usually are things that everybody has, so to me, there’s nothing interesting or exciting about that.
WWW: What’s the piece in your wardrobe that is getting a ton of play right now?
SK: These motorcycle pants I ordered from online. Everyone says they’re a little loud, but I always like to take advantage of my youth and push the envelope a little bit.
WWW: You used to have super-curly hair, but we’ve noticed you’ve been wearing it more straight these days. Is there a particular reason?
HK: Not really; it just happened that we did it on the one-off occasion, and it then continued.
WWW: Fashion month is coming up. How do you pack for a trip like that? Do you get better at packing with each season?
SK: I used to try to be more organized about it, but now I just put in the pieces that I love and want to wear and figure it out later.
HK: To be completely honest, I think I just got lazier. I just throw in all my favorite things in my bag and hope they magically come together in a fun way.
WWW: What shows are you most looking forward to this season?
SK: The Saint Laurent show here [in Los Angeles] at the Palladium.
HK: I always look forward to Chanel. Miu Miu is also a fun one, because the architecture of the space they use changes with each collection, and the soundtrack is always interesting.
WWW: You did a jewelry collaboration with Jacquie Aiche. What kind of future collabs would you be interested in?
HK: I definitely want to do more design, whether it’s clothing or jewelry or even shoes. I have too many ideas!
SK: We want to collaborate with everything from fashion to music to technology to endless industries. There’s always room for creativity.
WWW: You’ve traveled the world in the name of fashion. What’s your favorite place, and why?
SK: Usually for fashion, I go to the main cities, Paris, London, New York, and Milan. The fact that I leave each city with a completely different experience is what I love about each one.
HK: Each city has its own charm, but one of my favorite places in the world is definitely Jamaica. It’s good for the soul.
WWW: You are going to USC for a fine art and film degree. What are your plans after graduation?
HK: Just continue what we’re doing right now but in a larger capacity, since we’ll have more time to focus on it. More creative collaborations in not only fashion but also music.
Photographer: Jenna Peffley; Hair: Derek Yuen; Makeup: Nicole Walmsley; Market Editors: Dani + Emma.
Who would you love to see in our Styled By series next? Sound off below!