Scrolling through Imaan Hammam's Instagram feed (currently with 836,000 followers), it's easy to see why the 23-year-old model is at the top of her game. Beyond his obvious genetic blessings there are certain X factors: a willingness to be silly, sincere signs of brotherhood and, of course, impeccable personal style.
It is a mix of casual glamor for children and adult women that, fortunately for those followers, has just translated into a ready-to-use unisex line designed in collaboration with the luxury lifestyle brand Frame.
"The collection is really about me," Hammam tells Alexa, remembering the early stages of the design process. “I just looked at my own style and thought,‘ Who am I? How do I like to dress? "
The answer, he decided, is threefold: informal, elegant and sexy. The 20-piece lineup (priced at $ 125 to $ 1,195) includes everything your average type of center might need, from worn-out jeans and shirts to more polished buttons and crisp tailoring. Hammam's favorite piece? A leather blazer with a torn beak lapel from the 90s playbook, eternally popular. "A blazer on a woman is super classic and elegant, and also very powerful," she says.
The collection debuts next week in line with New York Fashion Week and Black History Month, a confluence that is not lost in Hammam.
"It's a special month," says the beautiful Dutch woman of African-Arab descent. "I am proud to celebrate the collaboration at a time when African Americans are celebrated for their achievements."
Born in Amsterdam with a Moroccan mother and Egyptian father, Hammam's defining moment came when he opened the Givenchy spring show in Paris in 2014 at the behest of Riccardo Tisci, the inimitable Italian designer known for his inclusive taste for the muses.
Since then, he has compiled an impressive track resume, which includes catwalk twists for people like Moschino, Ralph Lauren and Alexander McQueen, and advertising campaigns for Celine, Tiffany & Co. and Revlon. Hammam is also a beloved editorial in good faith, having appeared on the cover of nine iterations of Vogue. Models.com, the best barometer in the industry, currently has it on its "Top 50" and "Sexiest" model lists.
Still, the cover girl's sprint to the top has not come without some obstacles.
"When I started in business, people didn't know what to do with my hair, I didn't know what kind of base to use for my skin. I was ignored for jobs because I was too ethnic," recalls Hammam, who has become both a defender and in an icon of the fashion diversity movement. "At some point, I thought, OK, I'm just going to use my natural hair. This is me. And now people are famous for their natural beauty. And I think it's very important for young children to see it."
Aware of the influence it has on social networks, Hammam is not ambivalent about his responsibility to be a positive model. In addition to showing his support through Instagram for initiatives such as Knot on My Planet, which seeks to protect elephants from poaching and traffic, Hammam recently signed as a global ambassador for She's the First, a nonprofit organization dedicated to combat gender inequality.
"My career has gone well and I really just wanted to give back," says the fashion dynamo, who now lives in New York. "I am at a time when I have a platform that I can use to inspire girls and women around the world, and show them that no matter where you come from or what you have been through, you can still dream big."