Though the weather shows certainty of low temperatures, we have opted to meet at local smoothie shop, Clean Juice. She sits across from me wearing a cropped jacket and cargo pants, both courtesy of the clothing line she owns. “She” is Gabby Hakim- a recent UNC Charlotte graduate and even more recently, an online boutique owner. She has turned a passion into a business and is learning quickly what it means to be self made.
Over the years, and more prominently now in the age of social media, online retail has become a booming industry. Women and men alike can find inspiration and make purchases all in one gesture from social media. We have seen the impact of many online boutiques, with similar influence and following, take mass media by storm. Now, we see the emergence of a new brand that can feel close to home but posh simultaneously. This brand is Chama, a women’s clothing line launched in 2018 by Charlotte native, Gabby Hakim.
“Chama” is the slang word for “girl” in my native country, Venezuela. I have always wanted to be a part of the fashion industry, an industry with no limits for self-expression and creativity.” -shopchama.com
As we picked over our açaí bowls, I picked over my list of questions to ask Gabby about her brand, herself, and this huge industry she hopes to make a mark on.
How did you initially get the idea to start your brand?
“After attempting to get a job after college and sitting through interviews, I never really felt like I belonged in an office. I never knew I would feel that way until I was in the process of getting a job. The idea of this project was one I always thought of, as my love for the fashion industry began in my high school fashion business courses. I wanted to be a part of the industry somehow and also bring my personal style to our area as I am inspired by European clothing. The best way for me to join the industry and have freedom with it was by starting my own business. Also, people always ask me where I get my outfits so I wanted to put stuff together so people wouldn’t have to just ask me but would have a place to buy it.”
Who is the “Chama girl”? Who is this brand for?
“The Chama girl is any girl who wants to step out of her comfort zone with her style. I want young women to feel like they can pull anything they want off. I always have girls say to me, “that looks so cute, I could never pull it off” and I hate hearing people say that. Our clothes are a form of expression and we should always be confident in how we dress, so I want young women to be able to do that when they shop at Chama. I also want girls to be able to shop somewhere affordable with good quality!”
Lastly, where do you see Chama in 5 years?
“In 5 years, I want Chama to have grown to be a brand girls all over the country, and maybe world, love. I hope that I will still be able to provide girls with great clothes and looks and inspiration. I want this clothing line to be a household name someday and I hope in 5 years I will be on my way to being that.”
Chama brings something new to our city and is a brand to take heed of. The European influenced style and minimalist approach make it refreshing among similar trends we are use to. It’s attainable for the girls who may feel overwhelmed by many beauty brands. It’s where beauty and sophistication meet. If you take nothing else from this article, at least make sure you visit http://shopchama.com.
Follow Gabby on Instagram @gabbyhakim.
Follow Chama @shopchama.