As we stepped out of the sleek lift onto the 35th floor, we were immediately greeted by an unrivalled panoramic view of the city of London. The Shard, the crowning jewel of London’s skyline, was the fabulous location chosen for The Modest Fashion Awards 2015. Our event was to be held on The Shangri-La hotel floor, the ultimate luxury setting for the prestigious fashion show hosted by Haute Arabia. Self-dubbed the ‘Fashion Incubator’ of modest fashion, Haute Arabia is an online hub for luxury creatives, the Harrods of the modest fashion world if you will. Not only does Haute Arabia showcase established designers such as Amal Murad, and Homa Q Abayas, but their experience in working with high-end fashion, has set them in a unique position to nurture up and coming talent.
This years event saw just that with a special lineup of promising designers showcasing their work to esteemed guests, fashion bloggers, fashion enthusiasts, budding designers, and press. As we made our way down the gold winding staircase, the holding area below was buzzing with guests enjoying the city views, free (dry) bar, and browsing the pop-up shops. We spotted Haute Arabia’s CEO Romanna Bint AbuBaker being interviewed by press, as well as Celebrity make-up artist Zukreat, chatting with guests. Zukreat, founder of Artist of Makeup cosmetics oversaw her team who beautified the models for the fashion show. We loved the fact that there was a chance for guests to network and swap contacts with like-minded people, and share creativity.
Image taken from the Haute Arabia Facebook account, photo credit Rooful Ali
The Modest Fashion Awards were sponsored by Bahraini designer Shaima Al-Monsoori, who opened the show, see @monsoori_official for more of her collection. The show was flawlessly put together and highly professional. After having followed the fashion extravaganza that is London Fashion Week on instagram recently, it was a great experience to be able to attend such a celebrated fashion show as this. The high quality of designers that were selected for the show was evident in their runway pieces. When it comes to modest fashion, designs can easily become repetitive since the basic cut variations are limited. However, the creativity that we saw on the runway was a testament to true artistry. Innovation certainly isn’t dead!
Image taken from @dsldn Instagram account with the express permission of the account holder
Waqaas Ahmed, the creative mastermind behind Aywa London exuded his chic and unique style through his abaya designs on the runway. Speaking to Sunrise Radio, Waqaas explained the inspiration for his latest collection, “we went to a place in Morocco, a place called Tangier. We looked at colours that were completely different to what you normally see on abayas, traditionally black, but we looked at very sandy colours…” For us, the latest Aywa abayas have a definite African element with some pieces being reminiscent of West African prints from afar. We loved the off-white abaya with gold edges, that can be seen below. It’s fresh and elegant with a clear Moroccan vibe; a definite Spring-Summer must-have. This take on the abaya is completely unique and we love it! Waqaas’s first collection was resplendently bursting with colour too, yet there were also designs for a more evening-type look, such as the ones we wore to the fashion show. We can’t wait to pick up our favourites from his latest collection! See @aywalondon on Instagram for the latest collection and how to order pieces.
Image taken from @wwags Instagram account with the express permission of the account holder
K wearing Aywa London at the event
Another line that caught our eye were Ghain Ghada who closed the show. Afterwards, we met with the girls behind the brand who were so gorgeous and sweet! They were completely knackered after such a long day of showcasing but still had energy and passion when talking about their brand. Showg Al-Mudhaf the designer, and her cousin Mais Al-Otaibi told us that the brand is named in honour of their sister and cousin, Ghada, who passed away, الله يرحمها ويغمد روحها الجنة (God have mercy on her.) The girls who are from Kuwait flew into London especially for the event. “We love London! The vibe here is great”. Mais told us, “the brand is a modern intake of Kuwaiti traditional dara’a / dresses, with a young vibe”. Ghain Ghada’s latest pieces are simply stunning. Light, airy and very feminine. There is also a geometric element in the collection which is a hit with us. We particularly loved the long skirts and short top combos, and the prints were very in-line with the latest fashion. The ethos behind the brand is definitely one that we admire. “No matter what size a girl is, the finished look when she is wearing Ghain Ghada will be the same.” We love this! Ghain Ghada is available in stores in Kuwait, and Dubai, and their designs can also be seen on Instagram @ghain_ghada.
Duaa Boutique, Mizaan fashion, and Aab were amongst the other brands to showcase for the evening and we were impressed by the elegance of the dresses they premiered. Also present at the event was Soufyan Ahaddach, the man behind the BySoufyan collection. His fashion has a strong ethical conscience and we admired his twist on the big fashion names such as Celine and Yves Saint Laurent. Fashion is all about creative expression and is therefore free for all, in all perspectives. That’s what makes it so alluring, that anyone can take a message or a cause, or a mood, or a feeling and create an item of clothing that captures that sentiment. Soufyan’s highly popular shirts are the epitome of a fashion statement. You can shop his collection here.
Images taken from @wwags Instagram account, with the permission of the account holder
If you missed this year’s event fear not, you can see all of the best moments of the evening on the Haute Arabia Instagram account, including Waqaas Ahmed’s touching acceptance speech as winner of The Modest Fashion Award (@hautearabia). Waqaas, designer of Aywa London was voted designer of the evening, winning £3000 and £1000 for a charity (award sponsored by Monsoori). On hearing his name announced he was stunned as he didn’t even know there was a prize to be won. When one does something with passion, they put their heart and soul into it regardless of the outcome. All of us present could feel his humbleness as he stood on stage, and it was clear that his motivation stems from a pure love for creating unique, and quality pieces . Waqaas was moved to tears, crediting his win to his team, (@wwags, @imogenleroux), his wife and family as well as his supporters. His win was truly deserved and we wish him success for his future endeavours. The Haute Arabia team managed to pull off another hit sell-out event that encouraged innovation, and cohesion, all for the love of fashion!
Waqaas Ahmed is wearing BySoufyan accompanied by one of the models wearing his new Aywa collection.
Image taken from @wwags Instagram account
Stay tuned for our exclusive feature with Waqaas, and more about his brand, Aywa London. Visit http://www.hautearabia.com for the latest in modest fashion and keep up to date with their future events.