Born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt, Abeer pursued a successful career in civil engineering before launching SemSem. Her natural inclinations and professional training put her focus on attention to detail, high design, quality, and functionality. Challenging boundaries in a predominantly a male-dominated field, Abeer pushed to make a name for herself while working for Orascom Telecom and soon after that moved to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) To con3nue her work. Abeer thrived as an engineer in Dubai and met her husband, Yousef Al Otaiba, the appointed United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States. They moved to Washington, D.C. where they continue to live. The special bond between mothers and daughters had always inspired Abeer, but it wasn’t until her daughter Samia was born that she felt moved to connect her passion for fashion with her passion for philanthropy. 

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She recognized a void in the marketplace and sought to develop a luxury clothing line that would appeal not only to women but mothers and daughters, while also investing and supporting women and girls. Her Mediterranean upbringing coupled with her time living in the United Arab Emirates is evident in the hand that Al Otaiba brings to SemSem’s designs and woven into the DNA of the collection.

Abeer Al Otaiba’s Spring 2021 collection is a statement on women’s strength, illustrated through engineered lines and geometry.  It is precise, architectural, graphic, bold, and feminine.

For Spring, the brand focused on couture plissé techniques and graphic pyramid-inspired silhouettes.  Leaning on Abeer’s engineering background and Middle Eastern heritage, our New York based atelier meticulously folded precise triangles using silk plissé, textured wool, metallic lamé, and lurex jacquard fabrics.  Beautifully draped gold metallic gowns capture the majesty of an Egyptian goddess.

Bright Emerald jewel tone colors and strong Mediterranean blues are balanced with embroidered white on white textures.  Soft and luxurious silks are meticulously embellished by hand using Swarovski crystals, to create dramatic kaftan inspired looks.

“This season, I felt called to focus on the unwavering strength of women. Given what is currently going on in the world, women are juggling it all – we’re teachers, cooks, caregivers and more.  The challenges this year has presented reminds me women are resilient and should feel beautiful in all of the different hats we wear. It is my hope that this collection encourages women to own their strength and approach each day with confidence.”