Brit designer Kiran Fathima Ayub is bringing urban wear to modest fashion
- 24 April 2018
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Correction: Removed earlier reference that Kiran Fathima Ayub participated at Dubai's Pret-A-Cover Buyers Lane.
Kiran Fathima Ayub is one of the new league of British-Muslim designers who are fusing modest fashion with urban-style trends in the UK. The 24-year-old wowed the Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) in 2016 and has since unveiled her designs at the London Modest Fashion Week (LMFW).
Kiran told My Salaam that she is inspired by “stories” and takes inspiration from contemporary Iranian photographer Shadi Ghadirian, who juxtaposes everyday objects from her environment. “She tells such strong stories; I found myself designing clothes around [this principle]. I realised through her that that strong stories lead to strong fashion concepts too.”
Her brand Kiran Fathima was launched in June, 2017. The story that inspired Kiran’s first collection was her British urban childhood. “I wanted a collection that represented us playing in the streets. We were like a little crew that protected the streets. That’s where the idea came from and the name of the range, ‘Who Runs Your Hood?”
The designer said that she focused on the juxtaposition of luxury fabrics with urban, street themes, tied in with sports-luxe and modesty themes. The overall effect, for her, is edgy and strong. Kiran also experiments with non-traditional colours for traditional Muslim wear, such as navies and royal blues.
“Muslim fashion is generally becoming more urban because Muslim designers are following mainstream fashion trends, which have heavy urban influences,” said Waleed Jahangir, CEO of Algebra Consulting and Director of London’s Muslim Lifestyle Show, Modest Fashion Live and the Eid Shopping Festival. “Also, urban wear is more practical for modern working Muslims than flowing gowns and abayas.”
He added that urban designers are experimenting with “different cuts” for modest-fashion designs. “Muslims want to go out, and they want to feel confident and blend in. There’s a lot of streetwear out there in mainstream shops such as Topshop and Selfridges. Muslims in the UK are Westernised and follow mainstream trends more than they do in other countries, so brands like Kiran Fathima are filling in the gap.”
For her next collection, which will come out in spring/autumn 2019, Kiran is using the world’s first hijabi ballerina, Stephanie Kurlow, as her muse. “I’m inspired by her life. It’s rebellious and not typically Muslim, because Muslims don’t allow dance,” Kiran said.
In another divergence from typical modest-fashion designs, this forthcoming Ballerina collection will feature pinks and tutu-inspired designs. “I don’t want to fall into the trap of doing what everyone else is doing,” Kiran said.
Although the designer has already showcased her designs, buyers won’t get their hands on her first collection until September this year, when the designs have been manufactured. The designs will be priced at mid-range, around £250 pounds per item, with a limited run of 10 to 20 pieces per design.
Kiran said that she saved for years to fund the production process herself. “I have a part-time job. Since I graduated [from the University of Salford], I’ve been saving ... it costs £28,000–£30,000 to manufacture a collection from my CAD designs.”
She added, “At college I was used to wearing trousers and shirts but then I didn’t want to just wear black. I wanted to wear something colourful. Social media has allowed to people to see what’s out there and also ask for what they want. Muslims are very exposed to social media, and this is partly why the modest-fashion industry has grown.”
(Reporting by Alicia Buller; Editing by Seban Scaria firstname.lastname@example.org)
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