In My Soul, by Rabia Basri.
SHAWL DU JOUR: THE KASHMIR COMPANY
Ever since I visited Kashmir last year, I’ve become obsessed with Kashmiri embroidery! I love the thick, bold and vibrant thread work, especially when contrasted sharply with neutrals.
I’ve been eyeing up these shawls from The Kashmir Company for ages - they’re all hand embroidered in Kashmir, and are made from pure wool or silk. Its a shame they’re so damn expensive! I’m gutted I only picked one up when I visited Srinagar; they were a lot cheaper there!
Whilst you might have seen these draped over auntyjis, pairing any printed shawls with a plain neutral top or dress is a contemporary way to incorporate some brownness into your style.
- A x
MAHMOUD FARSHCHIAN: ARTIST
An artist, with the blessing of his art, can be in a state of constant love and connection with the One.
Farshchian’s works are a skillful blend of spirituality, mysticism and Persian poetry. Every piece of his art has an ethereal and dreamlike ambience, whether it’s the smoky seams of a woman’s robe, or the cloudy tufts of Shams, Hafez and Rumi’s hair.
A lot of Farshchian’s work is also cultivated from the Shia tradition; Eve of Ashura (1st image) and Shelter (last image) depict the day of Ashura and Imam Ali’s orphans, illuminating aspects of Islamic history through an artistic lens.
Click here to watch Farshchian speaking about the art of creating. His belief, that painting brings him closer to the essence of God, is incredible, and parallels the sentiments of Baraka Blue and Mos Def who also perceive the creation of art as an act that brings them closer to the Divine, Al-Khaliq (الخالق), the Creator.
- A x
NOYZ - THE ZOO
“Took a village to raise a child, that much was transparent,
My afternoons were spend with uncles, aunts, and grandparents,
Cousins, huddled over stove-tops, three generations under one roof,
With juxtaposed thoughts of what was left behind, and the grind for a better life,
But what was better was inconclusive, elusive,
Whatever it was, we just knew it wasn’t where we were,
So we scattered ourselves over continents, and found solace in faith, but often felt that was misplaced,
When it was shaken by tremors and pressures, that were perceived as foreign to us.
Made our homes using hands with arthritic bones, Mom’s shifted from graveyard to graveyard,
And Pops survived the last round of layoffs, but held his breath until the next time,
And confines and limitations, interfering in the war between identity and assimilation,
Conflicting concepts of preservation, so, we were measured against standards of beauty and intelligence that were not our own,
So the same freedoms unafforded by everyone, and that means home is never really home, we just accept what’s around us, to survive and make do, much like animals in a Zoo.
And were the offspring, born captive and subordinates to masters, so we use our music with choruses adapted like,
Slave songs leading us to coordinates of passage, away from this, the only environment we’ve ever known,
Which has grown to become claustrophobic,
And below the stoic façade of an all-tolerant god, exist the Zoo Babies,
Now go and marinate on that for a minute…”
BAREEZE: SPRING/SUMMER 2013
Look at how beautiful Bareeze’s Summer collection is! I love the summery, warm glow of the photos and the ethereal silhouette of the outfits.
I’m generally not a huge fan of floral designs, but Bareeze’s bright floral embroidery really couples well with the crisp neutral colour palette.
Definitely going to be heading down to Bareeze soon and stocking up on some fabric for my desi summer!
Is it weird that this collection makes me think of if Zara did Pakistani fashion?!
- A x
SUKINA PILGRIM: FOR THOSE WHO SEEK GOD’S FACE IN THE CITY
Ever since I witnessed Sukina performing about a month ago at SOAS, I cannot get over the beauty and power of her words.
A sharp and profound message is cradled in each of her poems. This ode, performed at The Blessed Hubin Manchester, is dedicated to those of us who try to see and connect with the Beloved in the darkest depths of a city, and is one of my favourites.
For those who practice
the fact that this whole world is a masjid
so make sacred spaces wherever they see fit
laying down prayer mats behind buildings that scrape the sky
Their bodies exist in the metropolis
but their souls have found bliss.
- A x
p.s Listen to the full version on Sukina’s soundcloud, here.
Abida Parveen coming to Manchester in July?!
AVANI - THE ALTERNATIVE BRIDE
I love seeing brides rocking totally different looks for their wedding ceremonies. Just goes to show that being non-traditional doesn’t mean you have to cop-out on culture and design!
Avani chose this vibrant Masaba Gupta dress for her engagement ceremony.
“As I paraded around the studio, in my funny patchwork garb, Yashwin said I looked like a magician,” Avani laughed. ”See the love in that statement?! In fact ‘love’ has been our main inspiration throughout our wedding planning… We celebrated by being who we are – colourful, artistic and madly in love!”
Check out the rest of the photos from the ceremony here. (the shots with their cat are the cutest!)
Ive always found that the majority of Islamic fashion brands are centered around a contemporary muse, with bright colours and trendy prints, so the classic elegance of INAYAH’s collection Precocious instantly captured me. I love the draping, deep colours and sophisticated fluidity of their designs.
After an interesting discussion with Seetal about Islamic fashion, I thought I’d speak to INAYAH and see what they thought about style and modesty…
What do you think are fashion issues that Muslim women are faced with?
It would be unfair to presume a standard response for the diverse community of Muslim women in the world today, but there are a few points we have noted and experienced first hand.
A major problem is the fact that Islamic clothes and abayas are often constructed so poorly, and companies end up churning out repetitive and unoriginal designs.Most items in the Islamic clothing market are also largely targeted to an older age group.
Having this barrier makes it extremely difficult for women to shop for quality products, which are stylish, fashionable and modest.
What makes INAYAH different from other fashion labels that are aimed for women who wear the Hijab?
Modesty extends far beyond the confined lines of a head scarf/hijab. Our desire is not restricted to one particular group and both Muslim and non-Muslim women are our target audiences.
We want all women to have the option to buy modest ready to wear items.
How would you say Precocious differs from your previous collections?
We wanted to create a line that toned down bright and loud colours. Form and and an emphasis on an elegant silhouette was a major factor in the Precocious Range.
The line consists of sophisticated garments that stand as classics in their own right.
I love the fact that INAYAH as a company have such a strong brand ethic. They came across really open minded, especially with their comments about modesty transgressing physical symbols like the Hijab. Their answers revealed how small and naive my own thinking was about women and Islamic fashion - oops!
It’s important to remember that everyone translates ‘dressing modestly’ differently. Some women like to wear bright prints and bold colours to express their individuality, whilst others prefer a more muted and refined style. Some women are in between, or a mix of the two! There really is ‘no standard’, as INAYAH said, and we should be accepting of all different styles instead of judging and enforcing our own standards of modesty upon other women.
Browse the collection over at www.inayahcollection.com
- A x
VIDYA BALAN - CANNES FITTING WITH SABYASACHI MUKHERJEE
Some cute and candid shots from ‘behind’ the red carpet as Vidya is styled by Sabyasachi.
“What Vidya Balan represents in film, I represent in fashion. We’re both successful in a mainstream way, but we’re not mainstream people. Our middle-class upbringing has given us unshakeable values.”
What a perfect collaboration.
We all love Warsan Shire. Her name has grown and grown this year in the online community and it’s so great to see her winning prizes such as the UK’s Brunel University inaugural prize for her incredible, poignant words.
In this short radio interview for BBC Warsan talks about her reaction to the prize and recites “Conversations about home in the Deportation Center” in her sweet and powerful way.
“I’ve never been to Somalia, and I’m Somali. So the poems for me are a way of creating a connection to a country I’ve never been to. I don’t know how it feels to belong, or to be home or anything like that.”
Like Warsan, who was born in Kenya to Somali parents and now lives in London, I’m sure many of us who are children of immigrants can identify with the themes and memories in her poems. I guess she addresses so much of the unfamiliarity in our lives in such a familiar way.
We hope Warsan keeps rising from strength to strength - her work is truly wonderful.
TEA PLUCKERS - LAURA MCPHEE
Love the depth in Laura McPhee’s shots. These remind me of some of the weathered faces Aaminah and I saw in Kashmir and that I saw while travelling in Nepal.
My favourite stills from Midnight’s Children, directed by Deepa Mehta. I cannot get over how poised and regal Emerald looks in the first image! Kudos to costume designers Dolly Ahluwalia & Rith Kumar for choosing the most incredible outfits for her! The actors Mehta chose to play Amina (Shahana Goswami) and Emerald (Anita Majumdar), are so stunning and classically beautiful aswell - they beat mainstream Katrina and Kareena any day!
If you haven’t already, watch Midnight’s Children; you might not be a fan of the story (or Salman Rushdie :/ )but I guarantee you’ll love the film’s aesthetic!
- A x
Thank you, I sure hope I do! Keep me in your duaas :)
BRB going to go burn my notes.
- A x