A Ramadan fashion collection with a heart

Up your style stakes while giving back with this ethical fashion brand. (Photo courtesy: Kaleidoscope by Mimi)
Updated 06 June 2018
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A Ramadan fashion collection with a heart

  • Kaleidoscope by Mimi ensures everything is hand crafted by artisans from under-privileged communities
  • The brand was was created in 2012 by Mimi Shakhashir

DUBAI: Ramadan is an important season and collection for UAE-based Kaleidoscope by Mimi not only because they specialize in kaftans and kimonos, but for another, more significant reason — because the Holy Month’s spirit of charity truly resonates with the community-focused ethical fashion and accessories brand.

Created in 2012 when founder and head designer Mimi Shakhashir couldn’t find unique, interesting clothes for her daughter Jana, Kaleidoscope now encompasses a whole range of products, from dresses and separates, to pouches, jewelry and other accessories. Everything is hand crafted by artisans from under-privileged and displaced communities in countries such as India, Jordan, Lebanon and Morocco.

“I try and buy locally made and ethically sourced materials from my travels and make everything in workshops, not in factories,” Shakhashir told Arab News. “I want this brand to make a difference, no matter how small.”

While the entire brand has been conceived around Shakhashir ‘s travels, the Ramadan 2018 collection is inspired by 1940s Hollywood — particularly Hedy Lamarr in the film “Zeigfeld Girl” — with celestial objects being a recurring theme across the various modest garments. Floral prints and patchwork patterns make an appearance in the abaya-kimonos while clients can customize their metallic kaftans with hand-embroidered moons and stars.

These handmade creations are the work of a group of young girls from the Sanipani Muni school at the Food For Life Foundation in Vrindavan, India, for whom the learned skills of embroidery and sewing provides an avenue for income generation that can help sustain their families. It is just one of the several foundations and NGOs the brand works with. Kaleidoscope by Mimi seeks to ensure all the artisans and tailors are paid well over fair trade rates, to help them find a way out of poverty.

“We at Kaleidoscope help these girls learn their craft and, at the same time, earn for their families at home,” Shakhashir said. “At first, I used their traditional designs in my products, then started fusing a more fashionable approach with more funky designs and ideas, while encouraging their own creativity and artistic ideas.”

The success of the designs, and with it, the growing demand has led to the initiative being expanded to accommodate young mothers of the schoolgirls, empowering them in the process.

An active part of the global fashion alt movement, ‘Who made my clothes,’ Kaleidoscope by Mimi can trace each of its pieces back to the smiling faces who are responsible for their creation. So this Ramadan, if you’d like to like to tick both the high fashion and benefaction boxes in one go, buying into this brand is a great idea.


Beyoncé wears Tunisian-French design in viral video

Updated 20 June 2018
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Beyoncé wears Tunisian-French design in viral video

DUBAI: Beyoncé and Jay-Z stunned fans by dropping a surprise joint album this week, and the artistic video for the lead track, “Apes***,” sees the Grammy-winning queen of pop wearing a turban by French-Tunisian milliner Donia Allegue.

The nine-track album “Everything Is Love” dropped Saturday on the Tidal music streaming service that Jay-Z partially owns, before the couple released it on Spotify on Monday.
The pop diva and hip-hop superstar announced the album from the stage in London as they wrapped up the British leg that opened a global tour.

The couple also put out an elaborately choreographed video that takes place inside the Louvre museum in Paris for “Apes***,” AFP reported.

The video opens with the couple standing regally in front of the “Mona Lisa” — Jay-Z in a light green double-breasted suit, Beyoncé in a lavender pantsuit — and features a squad of scantily clad dancers moving sensually in front of Jacques Louis David’s “The Coronation of Napoleon.”

In a later scene, Beyoncé dons a floor-length black turban by Donia Allegue with a nude-colored bodysuit by French design house Cadolle. According to Vogue Arabia, Allegue revealed that the headpiece took eight hours to create and is made of six meters of tulle.

“Honored and proud to have adorned Queen @beyonce (with) an exceptional headpiece for her grandiose clip,” the design house posted on its Instagram page this week.

The video is a veritable treasure trove of sartorial high points chosen by stylist Zerina Akers, who scored the latest designs from international runways, as well as custom pieces from various high-end brands.

Fashion aside, the album, driven by warm, sultry soul with a largely hip-hop cadence, marries the styles of the two artists but is more consistent with the recent direction of Jay-Z.
The two stars have recorded together previously, notably on the Beyoncé-led single “Drunk in Love,” but the album comes after an especially public window into their marriage.
Beyonce on her last solo album “Lemonade” in 2016 revealed infidelity on the part of Jay-Z, who a year later asked forgiveness on his own album “4:44.”

This year, as the title of “Everything is Love” implies, their relationship is apparently swell.

On the final track, the joyously brassy “Lovehappy,” the two acknowledge past pain but also their efforts to reconcile.

“We’re flawed / But we’re still perfect for each other,” Beyoncé sings.

As two of the most prominent African Americans in pop culture Jay-Z and Beyoncé have played increasingly visible political roles, from campaigning for former president Barack Obama to championing the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Everything is Love” offers a paean to African American identity in “Black Effect,” which opens in Beyoncé fashion with a monologue about self-love before a haunting soul sample.
Jay-Z on the song name-checks Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old African American shot dead in 2012 by a neighborhood watchman in a Florida gated community, and raps, in a twist on performers’ rote calls for crowd gesticulation, “Get your hands up high like a false arrest.”