‘Modest wear’ for men hits the UK catwalk

Modest fashion is gaining mainstream interest across the board. (Photo courtesy: Jubbas)
Updated 06 February 2018
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‘Modest wear’ for men hits the UK catwalk

LONDON: The concept of women’s “modest fashion” is well established in the retail world, with a plethora of international start-ups tapping into growing demand from modern Muslims across the globe. But this year will see men’s modest fashion come to the fore for the first time, experts have said.
Romanna bint Abu Baker, founder of London Modest Fashion Week (LMFW) and owner of modest fashion marketplace Haute Elan, said male fashion brand Jubbas will make its debut on the catwalk at LMFW in February this year. Ten thousand visitors are expected to stump up the $142 two-day entrance fee to view 40 international collections at the event, she said.
Modest fashion is gaining mainstream interest across the board, with several retailers and brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Uniqlo and Burberry entering the industry and several notable investments driving the sector forward, including Qatar’s Mayhoola investment fund buying French luxury label Balmain and crowdfunding being used to develop a climate-adapting hijab. As the sector gains traction, spend on clothing and apparel from Muslims is projected to reach $368 billion by 2021 – and some of this spend will be driven by males.
Akil Desai, the founder of Blackburn-based Jubbas, told Arab News his company would showcase an extensive collection of tailored “jubbas” (kandoras), prayer hats and mens’ scarves (shemaghs).
Desai said his shops have witnessed increased demand for male garments as Muslim men seek out “traditional but contemporary” clothes. “They want to respect their faith but they want to fit in, so they are looking for traditional clothes with a modern feel,” Desai said.
The Jubbas owner founded his firm just five years ago but has already grown the brand’s bricks-and-mortar presence to three stores in Blackburn, London and Bolton, with plans to open more in Preston, Liverpool and Manchester.
Desai said his male customers range between the ages of 14 to 55 years old. “The younger customers tend to go for the more modern designs, like our denim kandora. The older men, above 45 years, prefer traditional garments,” Desai said. “Interestingly, comfort is very important and Muslim men are realizing that it’s easier to slip on a kandora than to worry about matching trousers or finding a belt.”
The Jubbas owner said Muslim men often seek out his stores for evening dress. “We offer kandoras with lots of detail at affordable prices, so instead of going to a tailor, they come to us.”
According to Desai, Jubbas sold 20,000 garments in 2017 and expects to sell 29,000 garments in 2018. Around 70 percent of the store’s purchases are for men, he said.
“We have started a trend where they [Muslim men] feel comfortable wearing the kandora and don’t feel out of place in society because it’s very modern. It’s traditional but they can blend in and look cool. Our price point is also affordable,” Desai said.
“In a way, it’s like making a statement. Men want to identify as Muslims,” Desai added.
The Jubbas owner announced he is going into retail store partnership with Abu Baker’s Haute Elan brand across his upcoming northern UK stores. “Together we can offer a ‘one stop shop’ for Muslim families who want purchase garments for men, women and children,” he said.
Abu Baker agreed that modest menswear is likely to take off in 2018. “One reason is that some men want garments or jumpers that cover their rear. They also like the modesty of the prayer cap,” she said. “On the other hand, it’s becoming fashionable among Muslims to dress as Muslims. There’s an emerging pride to be a Muslim… it’s a statement of identity.”
However, one major UK-based modest fashion brand owner, who asked to remain anonymous, told Arab News that male modest fashion is “most likely a fad.”
He said: “Our company has plans to diversify from female fashion into halal perfume and even homewares, but menswear, no…”
The source added: “Modest menswear is a bit of a gimmick. When something is in vogue, people tend to want to jump on the bandwagon. And while the modest fashion industry has real legs on it, (male modest fashion) seems a bit opportunistic. They would need a very compelling proposition to make it in the market.”


Fashion Forward Dubai pop-up store returns to Saudi Arabia

Fashion Forward Dubai will present a carefully curated selection of the best apparel and accessory designers from the region. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 23 May 2018
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Fashion Forward Dubai pop-up store returns to Saudi Arabia

  • FFWD will present a carefully curated selection of the best apparel and accessory designers from the region
  • The pop-up is driven by Fashion Forward’s mission to promote, celebrate and develop the region’s leading fashion talents

DUBAI: Fashion Forward Dubai (FFWD), the Middle East fashion platform, returns for a second edition of their pop-up store in Saudi Arabia’s Rubaiyat department store in Jeddah from May 25 to June 15.

FFWD will present a carefully curated selection of the best apparel and accessory designers from the region including Anaya, Atelier Zuhra, Arwa Al Banawi, Baruni, Beige, Bint Thani, Hessa Falasi, Lama Jouni, Nasiba Hapiz, Sara Altwaim, Shahad Rehami and Sarah’s Bag. 

The pop-up is driven by Fashion Forward’s mission to promote, celebrate and develop the region’s leading fashion talents. Endorsed by the Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC) and supported by Dubai Design District (d3), the initiative is dedicated to supporting the evolving regional fashion ecosystem in its pursuit of attaining commercial success and widening reach into new markets.

“Fashion Forward has decided to partner with the prestigious Rubaiyat for its second edition as we firmly believe in the synergy that this partnership brings to all parties involved. We were thrilled with the success of the designers in last year’s pop-up and are enthusiastic about the opportunity to continue nurturing our designers in growing retail markets, such as KSA,” said Bong Guerrero, CEO and co-founder of FFWD.

ANAYA: Named after the designer’s daughter and inspired by her creativity and drive to follow her dream of building a fashion empire for the power women of the new era. In 2010, Chathuri won the International Young Fashion Entrepreneur award from the British Fashion Council at London Fashion Week for her startup company ANAYA. 

ATELIER ZUHRA: Atelier Zuhra was established in 2015 under business entrepreneur Mousa Al-Awfi, who supported her dream to build a couture atelier in Dubai and dress up women with glamor and perfection. Zuhra passed her dream to her daughter Rayan Al-Sulaimani, who raised the bar by scaling up the designs to a more sophisticated and outstanding quality. 

ARWA AL BANAWI: Like her eponymous label, Saudi-born designer Arwa Al-Banawi is an eclectic mix of contrasts. Designed for the subtle woman, her aesthetic is both classically cool and feminine — earning her recognition from Vogue.com and a finalist position at Jeddah Vogue Fashion Experience.

BARUNI: Created by Fadwa Baruni, the Baruni brand is strongly led by regional and local cultural influences as well as the colors and textures of nature, developing a signature style for the Baruni collection. 

BEIGE: Launched in 2017 by Muna Al-Othaiman, contemporary womenswear brand Beige fuses clean silhouettes with impeccable tailoring, evoking timeless modernity. 

BINT THANI: Inspired by art and architecture since its inception in 2012, BINT THANI offers curated collections that amplify the brand’s DNA of feminine and wearable styles for an international, design-orientated customer. 

HESSA FALASI: An Emirati brand established in 2011 in Dubai and inspired by Arabic culture, where traditional abayas are given a modern twist with a variety of high-quality fabrics, a kaleidoscope of colors in on-trend fashion. 

LAMA JOUNI: Lama Jouni is a high-end ready-to-wear label created in November 2013 in Paris. The name of the brand represents the designer and founder of the company. 

NASIBA HAFIZ: The woman who wears Nasiba Hafiz is not afraid to try new things and is not restricted by background, place or time. She has traveled the world and knows how to inject her heritage into a style that is particularly hers. 

SARA ALTWAIM: Born to a family of art lovers, Sara Altwaim has a passion for everything artistic. She took up writing poetry as a hobby and fashion design as her life’s passion. 

SHAHAD REHAIMI: Shahad Rehaimi’s Abaya collection is extravagantly unique and caters to trendy women. She aims to demonstrate every woman’s perfection through different fashionable styles.  

SARAH’S BAG: Dynamic, passionate and determined, with an epicurean’s delight in beauty and art, founder and creative director Sarah Beydoun designs handbags and accessories that are known for their intricate craftsmanship, attention to detail and vibrant, high-spirited appeal.