New London-based modest label aims to diversify fashion industry

The label was co-founded by Mugel Al-Harazi, Breshna Hemati and Hind Mahdi. Supplied
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Updated 06 July 2020

New London-based modest label aims to diversify fashion industry

  • Owners of ELHM say the label aims to cater to the western Muslim market
  • The brand launched its first modest evening collection this month

DUBAI: After making its brand debut with a collection of hijabs earlier this year, London-based modest label ELHM has released its first evening wear line on Wednesday. 

The Spring 2020 evening dress collection includes six embellished, high-neck and long-sleeved maxi dresses in pastel shades. The collection also includes an “exclusive bridal gown” that features delicate bead work and sequined details on chiffon fabric.    

“When we started creating this collection, we wanted our dresses to stand out from what has been seen before,” Breshna Hemati, co-creator of ELHM along with Hind Mahdi, told Arab News. “We are proud to say that we have put together a collection for modest women that does not sacrifice elegance and timeless style.”

The Spring 2020 evening dress collection includes six embellished, high-neck and long-sleeved maxi dresses in pastel shades. Supplied

The ELHM store is also releasing a set of hijab caps made from “soft breathable material” to protect hair from breakage and skin irritation, along with the label’s new “EID Hijab collection” for the upcoming Muslim holiday.

Co-owner and business partner Mugel Al-Harazi claims ELHM’s new hijab caps will bring “an end to one of the biggest problems for hijab wearers.”

The brand’s co-owners say that the label was created with the aim of “enriching” the modest fashion industry.  

“As a woman who dresses modestly, I know the struggle of finding good stylish pieces while staying modest. I found looking for clothes online difficult. I always felt that what I found was not suitable or that it didn’t allow me to express my style, making me feel as though my outfits were boring and not trendy,” Al-Harazi said. 

The ELHM store is also releasing a set of hijab caps made from “soft breathable material.” Supplied

Al-Harazi explained the fashion industry can no longer be “tone-deaf” to diverse needs, and recent pushes for inclusion have raised international expectations of brands to be socially and culturally aware.

This was one of the inspirations behind the label, as the owners of the all-female-run business explained. “We want to give women of all backgrounds who wish to stay modest stylish and elegant choices by offering one platform that caters to all their fashion needs,” they said.  

Muslim consumer spending on clothing is expected to reach $368 billion by 2021, which would be a 51% increase from 2015, according to the “State of the Global Islamic Economy Report,” produced by Reuters in collaboration with DinarStandard.

“The ELHM store is a family created by girls who knew the struggle of finding stylish yet modest clothing,” Mahdi said. “What kept us driven was the thought of girls who needed more choice and quality in their closets.”

REVIEW: US remake of ‘Utopia’ comes up short

The cast of 'Utopia' (Amazon)
Updated 22 October 2020

REVIEW: US remake of ‘Utopia’ comes up short

  • Lavish conspiracy drama misses the spark of the UK original

LONDON: Adapting a UK show for US (and, thanks to the reach of streaming platforms, international) audiences is a risky proposition. There have been far more misses than hits, with the British style of programming often proving difficult to recreate with anything other than the original cast, setting and tone.

It’s even more of a surprise that a US remake of “Utopia” was green-lit when you consider that the original 2013 UK run, though now regarded as something of a cult hit, was a divisive mix of graphic violence, head-spinning conspiratorial doublespeak and terrifyingly brilliant dystopian foreshadowing. Indeed, the original incarnation of the show was cancelled after just 12 episodes.

So how does the US version stack up? The premise is largely the same. A group of online friends, obsessed with the idea that a mysterious comic book has been predicting the world’s catastrophes, meet in real life when word leaks out of a newly discovered second volume. The misfits, each with their own distinctive foibles, find themselves on the run from a sinister organization that is hellbent on getting the book back. The only person they can turn to is the enigmatic Jessica Hyde, the ‘star’ of the comic book’s first volume.

In many ways, the US version simply transplants the action, characters and plot from the original, albeit it with the high-gloss buffing of modern TV production dollars. Sadly, in most cases, the 2020 version doesn’t fare well – Sasha Lane’s Jessica Hyde and Christopher Denham’s Arby, for example, lack the charisma of Fiona O’Shaughnessy or the horrifying blankness of Neil Maskell from the UK show.

Sasha Lane as Jessica Hyde in 'Utopia.' (Amazon)

There are some nice nods to the more modern setting – not to mention horribly unfortunate relevance, given the current global pandemic – and some big names making up the supporting cast (John Cusack and Rainn Wilson), but more often that not, the 2020 show lacks the claustrophobic menace that pervaded the UK original.

“Utopia” is still an enjoyably uncomfortable watch, and is (at times) still chillingly sinister. Those who missed the UK original might find something here, but those who caught the show first time round may feel a little underwhelmed.