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

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.

Arab style stars front new Michael Kors campaign

Updated 13 November 2018

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.