Sunday, 19 March 2017

DESIGNER MODE: Natasha Kamal

I've been following this designer for about a year or two, and have been loving her designs - Natasha Kamal has a love of formal and semi-formal pret which I love because they look trendy, stylish and yet classic enough to be able to wear for a few years without looking outdated.

I also like that they have a comfort factor to them - most of their outfits have clean cuts with embroidery to them that looks like it won't catch or ruin easily - a problem we've all suffered with!

There's quite a few different styles in the Natasha Kamal range, which have caught my eye. These are a few of the embroidered outfits that I love - admittedly some of these are similar but I think that this is part of the brand's signature look. I love that I can see myself in all of these, the colours are simple and classic and these are perfect for Eid, family functions and dawats.

There's also a few outfits which come with a cape - I very nearly bought one of these last Eid (but didn't because I left it too late to ship in time!) - don't they look stylish?

I've noticed that a lot of the later designers by Natasha Kamal have included a cut-out style which looks very pretty, and is a great alternative to the embroidered or heavily-embellished look.

There are also a few heavier outfits with beading on them, again this looks great because it's not too heavy and the colours work well with the outfit.

There's also a wedding range which the designer has released, which is mostly lengha-outfits - I'll be honest and say that these aren't as appealing to me as the formal outfits. I do like the colour range used here and have seen these being worn on Instagram by a few fashionistas, but personally they don't do it for me.

I think my current two favourite pieces are these two (and yes, they're both white/cream pieces!) - I love the damask-style embroidery on the left outfit, and the pretty cut-work style on the right piece. I've seen a lot of replicas of the cut-out outfit but I think Natasha Kamal still has the best version I've seen yet!

At present you can buy directly from the Natasha Kamal website (which seems to ship to internationally to quite a few places) and also Brand Central, who also carry a range that definitely ships to several countries like the UK.

I'm hoping to get one of these soon (if I manage to order in time for an appropriate event!) - if I do, I'll be sure to post. What do you think of this designer's style?

Friday, 10 March 2017

COPYCAT DESIGNS & DRESSES #14: The Elan Silk Collection Replica

I haven't done one of these in ages, have I? I'm guessing because I haven't bought many outfits in a while, let alone replicas, and there's so many vendors out there booming across Facebook, Instagram and various online forums that I wouldn't know where to start these days! I've also tended to lean less towards replicas these days - partly because half the time a copy of a designer outfit (especially a heavy one) costs the same or more as the actual designer piece sometimes, and also partly because I hate bad copies of outfits which I end up not liking, especially when I compare it to the original.

I also think that there are enough reasonably priced outfits out there which are unique and not copies, which look amazing, and always look to support smaller businesses and affordable prices.

Having said that, sometimes I do get the urge to splash out on a designer outfit which catches my eye - unless I can't get hold of it, of course! One of outfits I really wanted to buy last year was a piece from the Elan Silk Collection, which was released a few days before Eid and was impossible to get - online orders were terrible or kept selling out, and I only saw an actual piece in real-life in a local shop about a month ago - way after Eid!

Nevertheless, I've always loved the designer below, which I've been keeping an eye out for - I love the colour of the outfit and the stylish print, which I think is perfect for warm summer days.

I've seen a lot of replicas of this collection all over the internet and all over the stores, and some of them were pretty crappy or just not worth price. My sister and I went outfit shopping about a week ago, and I stumbled across a copy that I loved - it was a mostly printed cotton outfit with some embroidery at the bottom and colourful pants and dupatta - and looked pretty much the same as the original to me.

This is my version, bought from local store Dhanak Fashion, at a bargain price of just £30! There were a few other designs in the store (such as Maria B replicas too) but none of them really appealed to me as much as this.

Here's a close up of the kameez - I love that the printed details doesn't look 'off' like some outfits do, or look badly made. Although the original outfit collection is made of silk, and this is made of cotton, it's a very nice, soft cotton which feels lovely on and is still ideal for warm weather. I also love that the back had a great design to it as well - not exactly the same as a original but it works for me.

This is the hem of the outfit, which also had some embroidery. The original doesn't really have any embroidery but this doesn't look odd but it blends it well and just adds a touch of embellishment that I like.

So this is the suit I got from Dhanak Fashions - I love that pants look the same and the dupatta too. I'm also glad that there's no lace inserts or tulip salwars for this outfits - I love lace pieces but it's not always modest for my preference, and I'm not a huge fan of tulip salwars for every outfit.

I'm sure I'll get an opportunity to wear this very soon, and will post when I do! It's pretty rare these days for me to find a cheap outfit which isn't cheap quality - these days my sisters and I find that the good outfits are never below £80-100 for even a casual piece, and the designers are always more. I'm looking forward to summer time when I'll get to pull this out, and I'm sure that the colours will look great.

Some people have said in the past that it's not fair on the designers to have replicas in the fashion industry, and I do agree with this where it hurts their business, or where credit for their work is stolen. However I also think it's not fair on customers to have to pay a high amount to get a designer outfit they like - which is why the replica market has been created in the first place. Replicas will always be a contentious issue - however I am very careful about who I approach if I was to get one, and would always recommend to readers to check who they are buying from before they pay.

All in all, I did think I got a good bargain with this outfit though - what do you think of it?

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Things I've been doing: January/February Edition

It feels like it's been a busy month for me in January and February (I think because after nearly two weeks of hibernating and binge-eating chocolate Santas over the Christmas break, I felt very sociable!) I meant to post this a few weeks ago but got busy, so thought I'd combine January and February together!

I've been doing a lot of random things, but am hoping to catch up with some of my blog posts, and be a little more productive!

Things I did in January

Visited Dalloway's Terrace
This is a beautiful restaurant which I thought was worth a mention! The restaurant is unfortunately now closed until May for the summer greenery, but I'd recommend a visit because of how lovely the restaurant and ambience is (not to mention lovely food!)

Winter Lights Festival at Canary Wharf
I love light shows and every now and then, there's a big one around London which my sister and I always try to visit. This year it was set in Canary Wharf and did not disappoint - you can see my full post about it here!

Interview with Saira Rizwan at Tehxeeb London exhibition
I was lucky enough to meet and interview Pakistani designer Saira Rizwan, as well as look through her gorgeous bridal collection in London boutique Tehxeeb London.

Went Sale Shopping!
I didn't go too crazy this year, as I didn't really see many things I liked and also have been trying to save money for holidays for this year. I was a little more selective this year, and got a couple of dresses and scarves and some comfy shoes from the sales (the Christmas chocolate doesn't count!)

Things I did in February

World Hijab Day Pre Love event

This was a charity event sponsored by Malaysian hijab company Aidjuma, in celebration of World Hijab Day. I'll be positing more about this, but here's a little peek!

Went to Dominique Ansel Bakery
This is a famous bakery from New York named after the famous chef, and home of the famous cronut, not to mention some other seriously yummy desserts. I went here with a friend of mine who recommended it, and enjoyed every bit - we may have gone a little crazy and ordered a whole bunch of stuff!

London Modest Fashion Week
This was a modest fashion event with fashion designers from around the world, showcasing their designs on the catwalk and also exhibiting for people to buy - you can read my post about it here.

Pancake Day!
This is a little silly but I had to include it, my friends and I indulged in some pancakes and crepes with Nutella and strawberry for Pancake day, which was great fun.

I'm looking forward to the warmer weather, as I can imagine it getting a little busier, not to mention getting a chance to wear all my pretty summery stuff! Hubby and I have a few things planned over the next few months too, so here's hoping I'll have more to post about very soon!

Thursday, 2 March 2017


Last week I attended the first London Modest Fashion Week, which has been something that has received a lot of publicity recently, as it was the first of its kind in the fashion calendar. Organised by fashion house Haute Elan, it ran for a weekend in the Saatchi Gallery, London, and included a whole host of exhibitions featuring designers selling their clothes, hijabs, makeup, jewellery, henna and natural products and services. There were also a group of catwalk shows from 40 designers in the modest fashion world who showcased their latest collections. There were also workshops, talks with designers and business-women, as well as opportunities for those looking to invest.

It was a pretty exciting event, as a lot of modest fashion and even the normal fashion bloggers were attending the event - it was really great to see a unified effort to bring awareness to modesty-wear and the market which has developed. I managed to get a ticket for one of the days to attend, which was great fun as I saw such a lovely variety of bloggers and designers and managed to speak to a lot of them while we explored the event.

The first thing I did was explore the exhibitions, which was spread out over three floors of the gallery, and had plenty of things to see and buy.

There were a lot of brands from various international countries like Turkey, Malaysia and Dubai, as well as British brands who were looking to promote themselves. I loved that there were so many styles of outfits available, and had my eye on a few beautiful hijabs and dresses but didn't get them in the end as they were slightly pricey for me. Below is just a snapshot of some the brands I saw - don't they look colourful?

We also saw plenty of henna being done - I did fancy getting some jaguar henna done but unfortunately wasn't able too, but did manage to pick up some white henna cones!

There were about 4 main catwalk shows which ran throughout the weekend, although I only managed to see one. The outfits were a good variety of modest, loose abayas to dressier ensembles, casual pieces and gorgeous statement pieces.

Here's a few of my favourite pieces from the ramp below, the models were walking pretty fast so some of the photos aren't brilliant!

Leenaz Design

iiLA Collection



Maslea by Sakura Malaysia

There were plenty of reknowned influencers, designers and bloggers present at the event, many of which have promoted modest fashion and have helped to bring it to the fore - including fashion designer and blogger Dina Tokio, makeup entrepeneur Zukreat, fashion designer Rabia Z, lifestyle and fashion blogger Mara F, fashion blogger Aana Nourin , blogger and designer NabiilaBee and many more. I managed to speak to a few of them and loved how friendly they all were, as well as exchange a few fashion tips!

And I can't post a Modest Fashion event without showing what I wore! I paired a silk jumpsuit from Zara with a printed jacket and a bright yellow bag - it felt very flattering on and I got a lot of compliments on the day.

The event being at the Saatching Gallery, I couldn't resist hgaving a walk around to lookeat the beautiful art on display (I know I wasn't the only one to have this idea because a lot of other bloggers and customers did the same thing!). There were a lot of beautiful art prints available to sell as well, which I thought were gorgeous, particularly the beautiful Islamic art for sale by Siddiqa Juma.

I was also lucky enough to get a goody bag from Haute Elan to take home with me, which I thought was so thoughtful. Inside were some jelly beans from Haute Elan (which my husband helpfully ate for me), a beautiful mug from gift company Mubarak London and a gorgeous jersey hijab from Naelofar, a lovely Malaysian brand.

My only criticism of this event was that I think that more could have been done with this event - there were only stands to buy from and catwalk shows, and I really think there should have been more workshops and opportunities for bloggers and non-bloggers to interact and learn how they could help the modest fashion cause. As much as I loved that there were so many modest fashion brands, I thought some of the things available were too pricey - I had a discussion with a friend who also went to the event a day later who said she would prefer to buy things from a normal high street store because the value for money was better.

I also noted that a few bloggers who had attended LMFW stated they felt a little snubbed or ignored by the bigger bloggers - unfortunately this does happen a lot at fashion events, and it can be a little upsetting. It can also be difficult to get to speak to everyone you want to speak to - this event had hundreds of photographers, bloggers, designers and marketing staff, which made it crazily busy. I think in this context, the organisers of the event could have made it easier for people to interact and introduce themselves to each other.

All in all, I had a really fun time at this event, and feel pretty proud that I managed to be a part of London's first modest event like this on a large scale. It's nice to think that this could be a regular part of the fashion calendar in the coming years, and it also shows the effect that wearing hijab has had on mainstream fashion.