Today Hijab Style brings you an exclusive interview with the founders of Inayah; one of the UK's leading brands for modest clothing.
Jana: How did you come to start Inayah?
The seeds of INAYAH were planted by its owners who come from a combination of fields which fuse business acumen with in-depth appreciation and understanding of wide ranging design principles and genres. INAYAH initially started off in 2010 as an accessories brand featuring a large selection of hand crafted bracelets, necklaces, and our signature hijab pins. Our desire to remain in a consistent state of development soon took over and before long plans were underway for a major expansion into the brand seen today.
Jana: How has the business changed over time?
As observant individuals, we noticed a very distinct problem with women (including one of our designers) being able to find modest clothing, dresses and abayas, whilst still incorporating western elements that were also practical by nature, unique and sophisticated. We wanted to offer Muslim and non-Muslim women who were desiring to dress modestly, the option to buy both ready to wear clothing and couture dresses from a company who take great pride in what they make, who operate with a purpose and a heightened level of understanding towards their customers. We do not design or produce any item purely for the sake of design; everything we produce reflects our personal preferences and with hard work, careful and persistent planning, we have found ourselves in a position whereby we can offer the ultimate modest fashion experience inspired by vintage, ethnic and modern elements Alhamdulillah.
Jana: Tell us a little about your design perspective; what most influences you?
We have an eclectic mix of inspirations; architecture, ethnic art, unique elements from different cultures from the past and present and high end fashion. All of these points of inspiration help us offer designs that incorporate balance, unique features and practicality. The Islamic fashion and modest clothing industry currently has an abundance of both low-end and high-end brands who cater for a set target audience. There is a lack of practical modest everyday wear for the woman of 'today'. Our goal as a global mid-end modest fashion brand is to continue to provide practical and real solutions in maintaining a balance and catering for those who appreciate and require good quality, unique design concepts and comfortable modest wear without compromising their beliefs. We strive to offer our customers a wide range of modest clothing suitable for all aspects of life; right from everyday wear, maternity wear to evening and bridal wear.
Jana: What's your favourite piece from the current Inayah collection?
Our favourite item of clothing from our Precocious range has to be the Urbane Abaya. We fell in love with this design because of its fluid versatility. The Urbane Abaya is beautiful and modest, elegant, sophisticated, unique and practical, made from soft modal fabric.
Jana: What can we expect from Inayah in the future?
InshaAllah the future for INAYAH will continue to be based upon our core progressions principles. Expect more beautiful designs, elegant clothing and a brand new and refined evening wear line, featuring luxurious kaftans and dresses. We are also in the process of working on a very exciting new line of embellished accessories, which we cannot wait to reveal!
Check out Inayah clothing and accessories over on their website: www.inayahcollection.com.
Wednesday, 13 March 2013
Today's interview is with the ladies behind up-and-coming Dubai fashion brand liliaiya! Read on to find out more about their designs and how they started their business:
Liliaiya was founded by two childhood friends: Maryam Solati and Noor Salih. Mixing friendship with their love for fashion, coupled with their mutual dream of a clothing line, it was an almost inevitable romance. Both ladies don’t have the typical designer background. Noor, the business brain behind the brand, has obtained a Masters degree in International and European Law from The Netherlands. Maryam, the creative force of the duo, has graduated in English translation but is truly an artist at heart. With both ladies practising photography religiously, they share an eye for capturing beautiful things. The idea for the brand was born out of their own wardrobe struggles, trying to find that perfect statement piece. “Just like the world is changing, so are our needs in fashion. Globalization is interconnecting cultures and we feel the need to accommodate to the multicultural women that we all have proudly become”. The slogan of the label “Designed in Dubai, made for the world” reflects this philosophy. As for the brand name, Lili and Aiya, it is the combination of their daughters’ names, who ironically happen to be best friends.
Jana: What has your experience been like setting up a brand in Dubai?
Dubai is the Paris of the Middle East, fashion-wise. With lots of brands emerging, from abaya to jewellery and haute couture designers, the Arabs are successfully leaving their mark on the fashion industry. Liliaiya has been received with open arms right from the start. In less then four months from the launch of the first collection, it has been stocked in four boutiques across the region: Dubai, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. We believe its success is in the fact that it is filling a gap in the existing market. It aims to accommodate both covered women who want to look modest without compromising their sense of fashion (and let's face it, it's sometimes just too hot for layering). As for everyone else, they can simply wear it as a statement piece on its own, with leggings or a short skirt.
Jana: Who or what do you have in mind when working on your designs?
Liliaiya caters for the distinctive, fashionable, multicultural woman. Bold, with an absolute ease about it. Effortlessly elegant. The innovative idea here is that in the design process we have the multicultural woman in mind. We take that woman’s perspective as a starting point; her boundaries are respected and incorporated in the early stages of the design process. However, that same woman is fashionable and will not settle for less then a cutting-edge design. It’s a way of thinking beyond the box. Transcending designs for women across cultural and religious boundaries. We strive to offer fashion that is suitable for every woman. Leaving the categorizing behind to truly cater to the diversity of beautiful women out there.
Jana: How do you like to style your shirtdresses?
Styling is an individual reflection of personality. The capsule collection features 7 styles of shirtdresses, each unique in its own way. They are original, comfortable; yet stand out in any crowd. It takes little styling to achieve an exceptional look. Pair them with black trousers, a neutral coloured scarf and your favourite coloured flats for a sophisticated yet laid back look. For a sporty take on it, high top sneaker and shorts or leggings give it a young and edgy vibe.
Jana: What's next for lili.aiya and how can we get hold of your designs?
The future seems bright for Liliaiya. The success of the capsule collection has given us the motivation and courage to work on a larger collection. Geometric prints, nudes with golden nuances and beautiful constructed fits are what should be coming your way! Stylish, yet breathable fabrics are a prerequisite of Liliaiya. A signature hand-constructed design is our cherry on top. Inspired by Maryams’ painting skills, we are replacing the canvas with fabric and putting some fun into this particular design. Being perfectionists we like to take our time tweaking the final bits and pieces together. Since we are not following the conventional seasons for releasing the collection, it will take another few more months for the big reveal. Liliaiya can be found online on www.liliaiyastudio.com or on our Facebook page.
Friday, 8 March 2013
Haute Hijab have brought back the Demure Pleated Essential Top in black, white and retro print.
Zeena have launched a new range of modest swimwear on their website.
Offers and Sale Alerts
Abaya Addict have just launched their new website and are giving $5 off your order (including sale items) when you spend $50 USD, using the code AddictLaunch. Valid until March 10th 2013.
Bellissima Scarves currently have a sale on many of their scarves.
Resham Collection have a sale on selected scarves, jewellery and hijab pins.
SixteenR is one of those companies you can always rely on to come up with unique concepts and projects involving the scarves they produce; from collaborations with street artists to hijabs with headphone prints. This time, I was sent the Little Ripples scarf in blue to review.
To start off with, this scarf is not simply an accessory; it is much more. Founder Nancy Hoque says: "One of the founders of Little Ripples contacted me a few months ago about making scarves for the teachers of preschools out in a Dafuri refugee camp in Chad. I found this request to be very interesting because Little Ripples was not only building early-childhood education for the children of refugees, but they were also employing Muslim refugee women as teachers and wanted to give them specially designed hijabs. That very act was inspiring and very generous.
I have two kids who attend preschool. It is of great comfort to me to know they are in a safe environment when I go to work. Because Little Ripples is building these preschools, the women at these camps have a safe place for their children to learn and have something to eat, while they go work. By wearing a specially designed Little Ripples scarf, the teachers will be recognized for having overcome so many obstacles, and how they are educators in Little Ripples schools."
The scarf itself is a bright blue colour with the Little Ripples logo printed in white. It measures 215 x 70cm, with tassels on the end, and is made of a lovely super-soft pashmina fabric. As the scarf is quite large and the fabric thick, I personally found it more comfortable to wear around the neck. The Little Ripples scarf is also available in purple on the sixteenR website; check it out for your chance to support this worthy cause! For every hijab that is bought from sixteenR, a hijab will be donated to the Darfuri refugee camp teachers.
Saturday, 2 March 2013
The sad news is, this is the last giveaway Hijab Style will be doing for the foreseeable future, as I will be sitting finals exams and going abroad for a few months! But the good news is that Hijab Style is giving you the chance to win 5 beautiful square scarves from Haute Hijab! They include (from left to right) the Red Lizard, Seeing Spots, Cherry on Top, Tangerine Dream and Pastel Paradise scarves.
In order to enter to win all 5 Haute Hijabs, you must:
1. Follow Haute Hijab on Instagram and get 5 of your girl friends to follow Haute Hijab as well. E-mail your username in addition to the username's of your 5 friends to firstname.lastname@example.org to enter.
- OR -
2. Subscribe to Haute Hijab's e-mail newsletter AND share this photo from the Haute Hijab Facebook page. Be sure your settings are set to public so we can see you've entered! E-mail email@example.com to let us know you've subscribed and shared!
- OR -
3. Tweet the above (promo) picture with the caption "I Love @HauteHijab because (fill in the blank)." Include the hashtag #LoveHH in your tweet.
You may enter more than once by doing all 3 options! The deadline for entries is midnight GMT on Saturday 16th March 2013.
Don't forget to tell all your friends and family too - the giveaway is open to entrants from all countries!
Monday, 25 February 2013
The Barjis show at London Fashion Week took place on February 15th 2013. It was attended by people from a range of backgrounds including bloggers, academics, press and fashion buyers. I had the chance to catch up with familiar faces and meet new ones, including the lovely Aamina, who won tickets via the competition here on the blog. I also had the chance to ask Barjis Chohan a few questions about her latest collection, and you see can see what she has to say below. And not to worry if you weren't able to attend, the show was filmed and you can catch all the action in this video:
Jana: Congratulations on your successful show last Friday! Can you tell us a little about how you got involved with LFW and what goes into planning a show like this?
Barjis: Thank you Jana! I have always wanted to showcase at London Fashion Week as London is my home town and I was getting a lot of interest from the public to do an event in London. It took us around 3 months to plan this event. It is time consuming if you want to get it right. Most of the time was spent on getting the sampling right. It's not easy putting together a show.
Jana: How do you see Barjis' relationship with mainstream fashion and retailers?
Barjis: I always knew that Barjis has potential to penetrate into the mainstream market. I was working on a made-to-order model for over a year and waited for the right time to venture into wholesale. I think my work and the craftsmanship needs a physical outlet so that customers can feel the garments and appreciate the beauty of the pieces. Having an online store is great to reach a wider global market, but nothing can beat walking into a store and trying out a Barjis. Hence I am in talks with boutiques to stock my label. However these outlets will be vetted to ensure that my brand is positioned well in the market.
Jana: Your latest collection 'Journey of Times' featured a wider variety of pieces like skirts, jackets and trouser suits. What made you want to diversify your collection?
Barjis: Public demand and also a natural progression to develop my line. Abayas are great but not everyone wears one. The Turkish, Lebanese and Western markets want modest dressing but more mainstream clothing.
Jana: Which is your personal favourite piece from the collection?
Barjis: I like the screen printed velvet jacket. It's a versatile piece that can be worn with jeans or you can dress it up for a more formal occasion.
Jana: When will your new collection be available to buy from your website?
Barjis: We hope to start production in late March and it will be available to buy in July (before Ramadan).
Friday, 22 February 2013
Aab have recently launched their Spring collection of abayas.
Haute Hijab have lots of new scarves and wraps available.
Inayah have added new hijabs and pins to their website.
Offers and Sale Alerts
Abaya Addict have a Spring sale on many items on their website.
iLoveModesty have a sale on all their basic hijabs.
Thursday, 14 February 2013
This month's workwear picks are based around two classic prints - spots and stripes! Although the pieces below are all monochrome, try adding some colour by pairing with red, yellow or green accessories!