The UK's consumer shows are helping to nurture a budding Islamic economyCulture & Entertainment
- 14 April 2017
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The UK’s buzzing Islamic economy is being driven by the country’s expanding calendar of trade shows. The last two years has seen the arrival of several well-attended consumer shows that are helping to drive the market, from the London Halal Food Festival to the Muslim Lifestyle Show and Muslim Lifestyle Expo.
Thousands of visitors are expected to roll through the doors for the second Muslim Lifestyle Show (MLS) hosted this weekend at London’s Olympia centre. The show is set to take up 40 per cent more floor space than the previous year.
The event will showcase businesses aimed at the rapidly growing halal consumer market. Worldwide, the sector is forecast to be worth more than £2 trillion by the end of this decade, according to the State of the Global Islamic Economy report, and is growing at nearly double the rate of the global economy generally.
Over 200 businesses from 14 countries will set up their stalls at MLS on 15 and 16 April. Exhibitors will include producers and suppliers of halal food brands, toiletries and cosmetics; modest fashion; travel; Islamic finance; entertainment; and greeting cards and toys. More than 20,000 visitors are expected to pay the £10 entrance fee.
Abdalhamid Evans, founder of UK-based halal research firm Imarat Consultants, told My Salaam, “These kinds of trade shows are really important for galvanising the Islamic economy in the UK. They help to establish the reality of the Muslim market. The energy of last year’s event was upbeat because we got the feeling that the industry is finally on the map.”
Evans also predicted that the UK government is likely to turn its attention to the Islamic economy and launch more initiatives to support entrepreneurship. “There is a buzz around the Islamic economy. It hasn’t arrived in the mainstream yet, but the industry is taking significant steps towards it. Events like these help to normalise the idea of a Islamic economy.”
Imran Kausar, co- founder of the Haloodies food brand, which will be exhibiting for the second time at MLS, said, “There are very few larger scale consumer-focused events aimed at our target market in the UK, so MLS is crucial for Haloodies to cement our brand awareness and to engage with customers.”
He continued, “There is clearly a demand for these types of events. The Olympia is an excellent venue as it’s central and easily accessible.”
Photo: Muslim Lifestyle Show founder, Waleed Jahangir
The show’s founder, 39-year-old Waleed Jahangir, said that this year’s MLS will be more international than the previous year’s. More than 35 per cent of exhibitors are non-UK based, and the number of Malaysian stalls has doubled since 2016.
“We’ve seen a huge increase in fashion exhibitors this year, and many of them have flown in from abroad. London is known as the fashion capital of the world, and that is proving to be a magnet,” he said.
This year’s MLS event will offer a bigger fashion focus with the launch of the London Modest Fashion Week (LMFW), which starts this Friday. The event is hosted by Turkish modest-fashion giant Modanisa and will showcase clothing trends from a mix of established and emerging designers from over 20 countries, including Britain, France, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
Franka Soeria, the Modanisa event organiser and a co-founder of Think Fashion, said, “We’ve come to London because it is a city that is very open and welcoming for modest fashion. The city has lots of modest-fashion lovers and the industry is really growing. Modanisa has lots of customers in the UK.”
The Turkish modest-fashion expert said that the LMFW will showcase the latest collections from designers and host talk shows and panels with influential speakers in the industry. “From bloggers to designers to the media, this event is all about showcasing modest-fashion talent.”
Waleed believes that the UK capital is an international magnet for fashion entrepreneurs and emerging talent. “London has the pull to bring businesses here. We aim to be a gateway for entrepreneurs to grow and flourish. MLS is hosted in a credible venue because we want to promote the credibility of the industry and help push it into the mainstream.”
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