Meet Shereen Mohammad, a NYC-based model, creative muse and the visionary and independent designer behind the precious Zaira crochet tank. We first found Shereen on Instagram and became instantly enamoured with the quiet warmth she expresses, as well as her deep appreciation for beautiful, intentional and quality clothing which she translates into every crochet of her handmade garments. Eventually we reached out to Shereen to become New Classics' first made-to-order independent creator. So to commemorate this, we had a conversation with Shereen and discussed the first garment she ever made, what slow fashion means to her, the process behind making one of her Zaira tops, and what beauty and skincare products she swears by.
Who is Shereen Mohammad?
A woman who quit her job a year ago, took a trip overseas and cleansed her soul by the shore, while discovering self and mediation. I started believing the idea that my life, destiny and my perception of myself is in my own hands. Now I’m here, in New York City, doing what I love, creating garments, trusting my intuition and learning along the way.
Can you tell us about the first garment you made?
I created a loosely structured crop top in a blood orange color, mimicking a crop top that was priced at $900. I learned how to infuse fabrics, attach spaghetti straps, line the top and finish a clean hem. My first garment taught me patience and diligence throughout the process.
If you had to describe your personal style in three words, what would those words be?
Delicate, Chic, Feminine.
What do you love and dislike about living in New York?
I am a native New Yorker, so living here is home and that’s what I truly love about it. In New York, you’re surrounded by opportunities to mold yourself to be exactly who you want to be. You’re constantly exposed to different jobs, activities and social groups. Sometimes I think it’ll be necessary for me to leave NYC for a short period, maybe in my 30s. I see the benefits of a slower paced city-like environment and appreciating the concept of truly living versus surviving. But we’ll see!
What does slow fashion mean to you?
Slow fashion offers a strong appreciation for any designs made by hand. I am a self- taught sewist, and I take my time creating each garment as I hone into my craft. Slow fashion is like tangible art and my most favorite characteristic of handmade garments is the imperfections and beauty it carries from a human’s touch. As I continue to create garments, I’ll be sure to add much love to each stitch.
Who or what are some of the influences you draw from for the clothes you design and make?
Classic films/series, my circle of friends who continue to inspire me, my cultures/ upbringings and my favorite independent designers.
Can you tell us a bit about the process of making one of your Zaira tops?
While having so much time during the pandemic to relearn one of my favorite crafts, I sheltered at home and spent weeks learning how to read vintage crochet patterns while redoing the piece 3 times to ensure the fit and structure flattered my body frame. My Zaira top has been one of the most time consuming projects thus far, but I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and learned from creating this top.
What are some of your favorite ways to wear/style your Zaira top?
I love wearing the Zaira top with a maxi gathered or pleated skirt. It’s super versatile and can be paired with neutrals or bold solids/prints. I also like wearing my top with my pleated handmade trouser by Franca Studio or calf length leggings.
What is something that recently challenged you?
Creating and selling handmade pieces has been a challenge. It has embarked a new beginning for me and for the first time in a while I have courage to push myself to learn and experiment. It is one of the things I’m proud to say I am still learning because I still have the capacity to grow. There isn’t a right or wrong way to grow a business, but I’m delighted to show the beauty in garments produced by hand and I’m overwhelmingly excited to see where this journey will take me.
Do you have any new designs or ideas you’re working on at the moment that you can share with us?
I’m excited to finalize patterns for a top and pleated skirt set! My new top is simple, but so special to me. It’ll carry a subtle peplum cotton silhouette, similar to my crochet design.
Beauty and skincare products you swear by?
Lesse, Chanel Beauty and anything shea-butter related are my go-tos.
What are some of your favourite photos on your camera roll right now?
Film photos of my boyfriend and I in Europe together. <3
What item of clothing makes you feel most like yourself?
Hard to choose one, but I’d say a soft, flowy skirt that hits above my ankles.
What is the legacy you hope to leave on this world?
I hope I can lead by example and show everyone that you can truly be whoever you like to be. As cliché as it may sound, your past traumas, lack of experience/resources does not define the future you. I hope everyone find ways to balance, create and find joy.