‘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.”


Bella Hadid ‘unrecognizable’ in Versace campaign

Updated 14 August 2018
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Bella Hadid ‘unrecognizable’ in Versace campaign

LONDON: Supermodel Bella Hadid just dropped an image from a new campaign for Versace. Fans were quick to note the 21-year-old American-Palestinian model “looked different” in the image, with some suggesting an uncanny resemblance to sister Gigi Hadid in the campaign.
“I thought you were @gigihadid for a second,” wrote @weirdosdelrey.
“She doesn’t look like herself!! Too much editing,” added @tala_fuqaha.
“You’re almost unrecognizable,”@_abhipsha__ said.
The image shared on social media features Bella flanked by two other models. It is actually part of the Italian fashion house’s longest-ever advertising image featuring 54 models, including sister Gigi, standing side by side. The Versace fall-winter campaign “symbolizes inclusivity, a key value for artistic director @Donatella_Versace and her vision for the brand.”
The campaign, hashtagged #TheClansOfVersace, is “a true representation of clans that embody everything Versace stands for — diversity expressed together with innovation in the fearless representation of what it means to be daring.”
Bella, whose real name is Isabella Khair Hadid, is dressed in the brand’s yellow and blue layered skirt paired with a matching scarf and white T-shirt.
“I couldn’t tell you how much I love the @versace family and how happy I am to be a part of this campaign. Thank you to my forever idols #StevenMeisel & @donatella_versace… Love!!!!” Bella wrote alongside the image.
Donatella, the vice president of Versace Group, was quick to return the love. “We love you too,” she wrote in the comments section.
In a video posted on Instagram recently, the Hadid sisters and Kaia Gerber joined Versace to reveal the correct pronunciation of the luxury brand’s name. Rather than “Versa-chay,” the models speak one after the other in the clip to point out the label is actually pronounced: “Versa-chee.”
Meanwhile, Bella recently put an end to months of speculation regarding the status of her relationship with The Weeknd when the on-off couple were spotted attending Kylie Jenner’s 21st birthday party together. A source told US Weekly that the duo is “great and happy together now.”
Bella and the “Call Out My Name” singer, 28, previously dated for nearly two years before splitting in November 2016. They began to fuel relationship rumors again when they were seen together at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April.