‘Modest wear’ for men hits the UK catwalk

Modest fashion is gaining mainstream interest across the board. (Photo courtesy: Jubbas)
Updated 06 February 2018
0

‘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 capital New York considers banning sale of fur

Updated 17 April 2019
0

Fashion capital New York considers banning sale of fur

  • Lawmakers are pushing a measure that would ban the sale of all new fur products in the city
  • “Cruelty should not be confused with economic development,” a sponsor of the legislation said

NEW YORK: A burgeoning movement to outlaw fur is seeking to make its biggest statement yet in the fashion mecca of New York City.
Lawmakers are pushing a measure that would ban the sale of all new fur products in the city where such garments were once common and style-setters including Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Joe Namath and Sean “Diddy” Combs have all rocked furs over the years.
A similar measure in the state Capitol in Albany would impose a statewide ban on the sale of any items made with farmed fur and ban the manufacture of products made from trapped fur.
Whether this is good or bad depends on which side of the pelt you’re on. Members of the fur industry say such bans could put 1,100 people out of a job in the city alone. Supporters dismiss that and emphasize that the wearing of fur is barbaric and inhumane.
“Cruelty should not be confused with economic development,” said state Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat from Manhattan, who is sponsoring the state legislation. “Fur relies on violence to innocent animals. That should be no one’s business.”
The fate of the proposals could be decided in the coming months, though supporters acknowledge New York City’s measure has a better chance of passage than the state legislation.
The fur trade is considered so important to New York’s development that two beavers adorn the city’s official seal, a reference to early Dutch and English settlers who traded in beaver pelts.
At the height of the fur business in the last century, New York City manufactured 80% of the fur coats made in the U.S, according to FUR NYC, a group representing 130 retailers and manufacturers in the city. The group says New York City remains the largest market for fur products in the country, with real fur still frequently used as trim on coats, jackets and other items.
If passed, New York would become the third major American city with such a ban, following San Francisco, where a ban takes effect this year, and Los Angeles, where a ban passed this year will take effect in 2021.
Elsewhere, Sao Paulo, Brazil, began its ban on the import and sale of fur in 2015. Fur farming was banned in the United Kingdom nearly 20 years ago, and last year London fashion week became the first major fashion event to go entirely fur-free.
Fur industry leaders warn that if the ban passes in New York, emboldened animal rights activists will want more.
“Everyone is watching this,” said Nancy Daigneault, vice president at the International Fur Federation, an industry group based in London. “If it starts here with fur, it’s going to go to wool, to leather, to meat.”
When asked what a fur ban would mean for him, Nick Pologeorgis was blunt: “I’m out of business.”
Pologeorgis’ father, who emigrated from Greece, started the fur design and sales business in the city’s “Fur District” nearly 60 years ago.
“My employees are nervous,” he said. “If you’re 55 or 50 and all you’ve trained to do is be a fur worker, what are you going to do?“
Supporters of the ban contend those employees could find jobs that don’t involve animal fur, noting that an increasing number of fashion designers and retailers now refuse to sell animal fur and that synthetic substitutes are every bit as convincing as the real thing.
They also argue that fur retailers and manufacturers represent just a small fraction of an estimated 180,000 people who work in the city’s fashion industry and that their skills can readily be transferred.
“There is a lot of room for job growth developing ethically and environmentally friendly materials,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who introduced the city measure.
New Yorkers asked about the ban this week came down on both sides, with some questioning if a law was really needed.
“It is a matter of personal choice. I don’t think it’s something that needs to be legislated,” said 44-year-old Janet Thompson. “There are lots of people wearing leather and suede and other animal hides out there. To pick on fur seems a little one-sided.”
Joshua Katcher, a Manhattan designer and author who has taught at the Parsons School of Design, says he believes the proposed bans reflect an increased desire to know where our products come from and for them to be ethical and sustainable.
“Fur is a relic,” he said.