Indonesia’s leading Muslim fashion designer jailed for fraud

Indonesian fashion designer Anniesa Hasibuan takes a final walk on the runway for the Anniesa Hasibuan collection during the New York Fashion Week in February last year. (AFP)
Updated 30 May 2018
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Indonesia’s leading Muslim fashion designer jailed for fraud

JAKARTA: An Indonesian fashion designer who shot to global fame with her Muslim-themed collection was sentenced to 18 years in prison Wednesday for a multi-million dollar fraud and money-laundering.
A court near Jakarta convicted Anniesa Hasibuan, 31, and her husband of cheating customers who booked pilgrimage trips to Islam’s holiest city Makkah through a travel agency they operated.
The pair were accused of bilking thousands of clients out of at least 848 billion rupiah ($60 million), a steep fall from grace for Hasibuan who had become a household name in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country.
In 2016 Hasibuan’s collection was shown at New York Fashion Week where all her runway models wore hijab head scarves and Muslim-inspired designs, a first for the prestigious event.
Hasibuan and her husband Andika Surachman established Jakarta-based First Travel in 2009 to operate trips to Saudi Arabia. But it had not sent any clients to Makkah since early last year despite being paid for them, the court heard.
The court fined Hasibuan 10 billion rupiah and sentenced her spouse to 20 years in prison. He was slapped with the same fine.
Prosecutors had demanded 20-year prison terms for both.
“(The defendants) have been proven legally and convincingly guilty of committing a criminal act together,” said presiding judge Sobandi, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
Hasibuan’s works have also been featured at shows in London, Istanbul and Cannes, but New York Fashion Week cemented her status as a rising star in the fashion world.
She is also well-known for her lavish lifestyle, regularly posting pictures of herself and her husband traveling abroad and wearing expensive clothing.


Arab style stars front new Michael Kors campaign

Updated 13 November 2018
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Arab style stars front new Michael Kors campaign

  • Lebanese beauty queen and model Jessica Kahawaty takes the lead in the Michael Kors campaign
  • The special-edition Whitney bag will be unveiled on Nov. 14

DUBAI: Fashion powerhouse Michael Kors (MK) has enlisted the region’s style icons to unveil an exclusive Middle East design of a limited-edition shoulder bag.

Lebanese beauty queen and model Jessica Kahawaty takes the lead in the elite portrait series showcasing a special-edition of the Whitney bag, set to be unveiled at an exclusive event in Dubai on Nov. 14.

The beauty queen took to Instagram to announce the stint, where she posted a picture of herself along with other Arab fashion icons strutting the newly redesigned Whitney bag, including Dubai-based influencer Leena Al Ghouti, fashion blogger Ola Faharat, and filmmaker Lana Al Beik..

“So honored to be fronting this @michaelkors campaign for their new Whitney bag. My MK family is here in Dubai all the way from New York for the celebration this week and I couldn’t think of more powerful ladies to share this photograph with,” Kahawaty wrote.

Dubbed as the Whitney, the compact bag is one of the newest additions to the fashion label’s exclusive accessory collection. The bag is crafted in panel-quilted lambskin, accompanied by a sleek chain strap.

“We were able to incorporate a very subtle M-shaped outline, something I’ve been sketching since I was in middle school,” American designer Michael Kors himself said.

The Middle East edition will be released in a rich blue, which Kors described as “the perfect blend of sophistication and luxury for our customers” in the region.

Kors has expressed how the Middle East is an important region for his fashion label, saying “our customers in the Middle East truly love fashion and glamour, which makes it a fun and exciting place to be as a designer.”

MK, widely known for its premium leather handbags, recently bought luxury designer Versace for $2.05 billion, bolstering its position against its larger European rivals.

“With the acquisition of Versace we have created one of the world’s leading fashion and luxury groups,” said John Idol, chairman and CEO of Michael Kors Holdings.

This came a year after it also acquired British stiletto-heel maker Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion.