Sophia the Robot set to sit front row at Modest Fashion Week

Sophia the Robot is among the special guests at IMFW. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 25 February 2020

Sophia the Robot set to sit front row at Modest Fashion Week

  • The third edition of the event is set to take place from April 2-5

DUBAI: Designers, celebrities and bloggers from around the world are gearing up for the 2020 Modanisa Istanbul Modest Fashion Week (IMFW), an event aimed to tackle the stereotypes that surround modest dressing by celebrating and showcasing modern modest designers from around the world.

The third edition of the event, which was co-founded by Franka Soeria — founder of Alahijab.com fashion — and Turkish entrepreneur Özlem Şahin in collaboration with modest fashion brand Modanisa in 2016, is set to take place from April 2-5 in Istanbul’s Zorlu Center.

The fashion platform has invited modest influencers, retail vendors and tastemakers from across the world, including Jordan, Kuwait, the UAE, India and Singapore, to partake in this year’s event. Among the special guests is Saudi Arabia’s “global citizen” Sophia the Robot, who will be positioned front row for the runways of Turkey’s avant-garde couturier Özlem Süer, Jordan’s Zeina Ali and fashion blogger-turned-designer Roza Jo, among others.

Additionally, the robot will also participate as a speaker on a panel that explores the growing relationship between fashion and technology.

“Ever since Saudi Arabia first introduced Sophia the Robot to the world, she has become a global sensation. She is synonymous with the future, which is a major theme at this year’s Modanisa Istanbul Modest Fashion Week,” shares event director Havva Kahraman with Arab News. “We are super excited that Sophia will be attending. She will be in the front row taking in the latest modest trends,” she added.

It won’t be the first time the AI creation from Hanson Robotics attends a fashion week. In 2018, Sophia was spotted at Alexander Wang’s Fall 2019 show in New York, wearing Wang’s boxy blazer style, with metal safety pins forming hearts on both of her sleeves, next to artists Teyana Taylor and 21 Savage.

Meanwhile, Sophia isn’t the only star attendees of IMFW can look forward to spotting on and off the runways. Other highlights include hijab-wearing model of Algerian descent Feriel Moulai, who is set to grace the catwalk in Istanbul.




Hijab-wearing model of Algerian descent Feriel Moulai is set to grace the catwalk in Istanbul. (Supplied)

Over the last few years, the fashion industry seems to have tuned into the often-underrepresented demographic that comprises Muslim women and others for whom dressing conservatively is a personal or cultural choice. With the rise of hijab-wearing models such as Halima Aden or Ugbad Abdi, major brands are also keen to be part of the modest fashion movement, which is estimated as one of the fastest growing markets.

Nike has released a Nike Pro hijab, while Burberry tapped hijab-wearing model Ikram Abdi Omar as part of their festive campaign in 2019. Noticing an untapped market, major labels have finally started to advertise and reach out to Muslim women and others who prefer to dress in a more modest manner.

IMFW was first held in May 2016. Since then, the platform has travelled to multiple international destinations including London, Dubai and Jakarta.


‘Hamilton’ makes a successful transition to the big screen

Updated 04 July 2020

‘Hamilton’ makes a successful transition to the big screen

CHENNAI: Cinema sometimes looks to go back to its roots. Some years ago, European auteurs like Lars Von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg and others introduced “Dogme 95” as a new form of moviemaking, which meant using no props, no artificial lighting and no makeup. It did not last long. However, Thomas Kail’s “Hamilton” — released to coincide with the Fourth of July and streaming on Disney Plus — is another experiment that reminded me of the very early days of motion pictures when some directors in India captured a stage play with a static camera and then screened it in remote regions, where it was not feasible to cart the entire cast.

Kail used six cameras to shoot what was originally a theatrical production. Over two nights in 2016, he filmed the play with most of the actors, including Tony Award winners, who were in the stage version. Every attempt has been made to make it look cinematic, with impeccable camerawork and editing. There is a bonus here. The movie enables you to be a front-bencher at Richard Rogers’ stage production. This closeness that allows you to see clearly the expressions of the actors establishes an intimacy between the audience and the cast.

Inspired by Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton, the 160-minute show makes a fabulous musical. The release of the film with its intentionally diverse cast comes at a critical time when race relations in the USA have hit the rock bottom. When Aaron Burr (Leslie Odom Jr) sings that he wants to be in “the room where it happens”, the lyrics are sung by a black man.

Alexander Hamilton (played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, also the creator of the piece) is the least well known of the American founding fathers. An immigrant and orphan, he was George Washington’s right-hand man. Credited as being responsible for setting up the country’s banking system, Hamilton was killed in a duel by Burr.

The musical is inspired by Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton. Courtesy of Disney

The story is narrated through hip-hop beats. Thomas Jefferson (Daveed Diggs) sings his speech to Congression, and the debates he has with Alexander Hamilton are verbalized through lyrics. Hamilton also has a lot to say about America’s immigrant past. In one scene French aristocrat Marquis de Lafayette tells Alexander, “Immigrants, we get the job done!”

Performances are top notch. Miranda is superb, and evokes an immediate connection between the film and the viewer. King George III is brilliantly portrayed by Jonathan Groff, and Hamilton’s wife, Eliza (Philippa Soo), is an endearing presence who has a calming effect on her often ruffled and troubled husband.

“Hamilton” is a great, if subjective, account of early American political history for those not familiar with that period. It must be said, however, the musical makes a long movie, which might be a trifle tiring for those not used to this format.