Dr. Lama S. Taher

Fashion designer

Lacking in financial assistance but armed with grit, perseverance and passion, I launched my own brand while pursuing further studies, and succeed in both.

I was born and raised in Riyadh where I grew up in a family that encouraged determination and commitment. My mother and father worked hard to provide me and my older sister, Maha, with the optimal education. They made sure to also focus on building our characters and raising strong girls. 

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I was lucky enough to gain them as friends, as well as mentors. They created an open, friendly, honest, and warm environment where anything could be shared between us. 

Their philosophy about life, shared views & profound values will forever be embedded in me. Their perfect balance between parental guidance and respect of our personal decisions created an indescribable friendship between us. Their unconditional support generated a sense of security & comfort in me, while their unquestioned trust helped me grow feeling proud.

I moved to London in 2004 to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree, followed by a Master’s degree in Mental Health. My upbringing motivated me to pursue my dreams, achieve more, and work twice as hard, and most importantly to become resilient and persevere. With their support, I spend about 12 years in London, where I earned my bachelors, masters, and PhD in Psychology. 

When I started on my Ph.D. in Psychology, I felt compelled to go into fashion design. Armed with grit, perseverance and passion, I took the plunge and launched my own brand, LUM, in May 2010.

I had no financial assistance and no fancy business plans — but I believed in it. No one else did, except my older sister who stood by me.

In spite of its humble beginning, the brand was well-received in the Kingdom and the Gulf region. But my father, a physician, was not convinced. I placed a bet with him, vowing to make substantial sales and revenue within one month. On July 1, 2013, I won that bet, making him my number one supporter.  In 2016, I achieved my academic dream, obtaining a Ph.D. in psychology at City University London.  

But it was not easy. Enduring sleepless nights and homesickness, I persevered to meet high academic demands. Meanwhile, the LUM business continued to flourish.

People asked why a successful fashion designer would pursue a doctorate in psychology. I was constantly asked to pick one — but my heart was in one and my mind was in another. 

I moved back to Saudi after graduation. Since then, I have worked as an assistant professor at Dar Al Hekma University in Jeddah, supervising award-winning researchers, then trained as a clinical psychologist to enrich my clinical practice, while simultaneously closely managing my business, working hard throughout the years to grow it and LUM can now be found in the GCC, New York and Los Angeles.

Few believed I could achieve both. At times, I too doubted myself. I’m currently doing my second masters now and I look forward to growing through the joy of learning, giving back, creating bigger dreams, and turning them into reality. 

I share my story to empower women to pursue their dreams, to believe in themselves, to fight for what they want.

People still ask: “Why both?” 

I reply, smiling: “Because one dream was not enough.” 

Follow Dr. Lama S. Taher
Twitter: @lum_bylamataher
Instagram:  @lum_bylamataher
Facebook: @lum.riyadh

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