Event: Launch of The Hayaa Box | Photoshoot

If you’ve been active on Instagram lately, you are bound to have come across The Hayaa Box – if not, let me fill you in!

The Hayaa Box is South Africa’s first subscription box for Muslim women. Each month, you can expect a beautifully wrapped box containing one of THB’s signature maxi scarves (in a gorgeous colour, of course!), at least one sample-sized (international or local) makeup, skincare or lifestyle product and to top it all of, matching hijab accessories to complement the scarf of the month.

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Spotlight on: Waseema Abdool Khader

Do you remember that breathtakingly gorgeous tulle skirt that I wore and featured in my very first OOTD post, Mostly Monochrome? Well, this post is all about the talented designer that created it.

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Meet Waseema Abdool Khader, creator and designer behind Iridescence Fashion Design and Couture, qualified in Advanced Design and Construction from the Uberglam Fashion Design Institute in 2011, and has been creating masterpieces ever since.

I ‘met’ Waseema during the course of the year and we immediately became friends. I say ‘met’ because we haven’t had the opportunity to meet in person just yet, we just email/FB/Instagram like everyone else out there.

Waseema is honestly one of the kindest and humblest souls that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and you can immediately tell, when speaking to her, that her heart is in the right place. She is always inspiring me and providing me with words of encouragement, and I’m glad to have her as my friend. And having her as my friend means I get to interview/interrogate her for blog purposes too – win, win!

The Interrogation:

R: What was the inspiration behind the name of your design house, Iridescence Fashion Design and Couture?
W: I love colour and iridescence is also a quality of natural elements from rainbows, diamonds, to marine life, butterflies and spiderwebs glistening in the sun, it is also indicative of change and processes that result in this quality and this is exactly what I wanted to be representative of my design house.

On a side note, I intend to consistently and constantly improve and advance in my skills as a designer, incorporating new developments in the design industry, and devloping my own processes and ideas. And in addition to that, providing a service which is friendly, committed to quality and client-driven with close attention to detail and high fashion trends.

R: What do you enjoy most about what you do?
W: I love the flexibility and it such a dynamic career. I get to meet new people from very different backgrounds, which is a great blessing as it brings new friends, design challenges, helps me to grow and develop new techniques.

Most of all, I love having the ability to create beautiful garments from a simple thought, dream or sketch and making that into a reality.
And of course, I love the client feedback coupled with the priceless look on my client’s face when they first lay eyes upon their outfits – it is one of the best feelings in the world . It such an honour for me to have others wear what I have made!

R: Where does the inspiration for your designs come from?
W: My inspiration comes from anything and everything that surrounds me. Sometimes, it is just a random thought or a dream and other times it is inspired by the fluctuating trends, street style, nature and architecture. My experiences and the experiences of those around me also have the ability to inspire a design and sometimes, a design is simply inspired by something that I’ve been eager to create.

R: How did you get into the Fashion Design industry? Was it always a dream of yours or did it just happen?
W: I’m always asked this question and honestly I didn’t just get into it. Ever since I can remember, I have always been interested and curious about everything design related and very much into artwork and creativity. You know the saying, your heart is where your mind wanders to, well I always wondered how I would create the items that myself and others wore and found myself being curious about how things go together and the different design elements.
After I completed my BComm Acc degree and Makeup Artistry diploma, I decided that fashion design will be the next step for me. I witnessed a lot of local designers struggle financially, so I figured that having a business degree was more imperative than a design one.

Most don’t realize this but, fashion designing can be very time consuming, cut-throat, pressurizing and even financially demanding at times. Luckily for me, my BComm degree definitely gave me the strength and willpower to move forward in this industry. It was really difficult giving up all of the benefits that accompanied a position in the corporate world but the excitement and thrill of designing was much more enticing than being stuck in an office job! In a way, designing is more lenient as it allows me to be a great stay at home mum and wife along with a thriving and highly rewarding career.

R: Is fashion design difficult and time consuming? If so, how do you manage your time between being a mom, wife and designer?
W:It depends on how far you want to go. If you stick to creating items you know well and are used to making, it will be pretty easy and gets easier with practice. If however, you choose to venture out into new designs and ideas, the level of difficulty varies greatly. But I guess you could look at it in the way that if it’s more challenging then it’s more rewarding.

You know, it is difficult multi-tasking between being a mum, wife and a professional designer. But thankfully, I have an uber supportive husband and my kids are little so they take naps often. So you would usually find me working when they nap or at night for atleat 3 hours at a time, which is more than enough time to get what I need done. I love my family so much and I love being a mum and a wife so I take it very seriously. Sometimes, I do drop the ball on both counts but I always remind myself that the game isn’t over yet and that I need to turn my setback into a comeback.

R: Where do you see your business in the next 5-10 years? Perhaps, an online store? Or are you content with where everything stands right now?
W: I have huge plans BUT I cannot give them away just yet! I will say though, that I am very happy with where I am right now because I have made huge leaps to be here. I love change and I believe that life is too short to stay in your comfort zone, so I will continue to push forward, take on new challenges or even invent them if need be and make leaps Insha’Allah!

Regarding online, I currently do have a strong presence online and I intend to make it that much stronger in the future. It has been an unbelievable journey and I am very excited about the future of my design career, business and just the design industry itself which is constantly evolving.

She’s brilliant right? Yup, I think so too! If you want the ever so talented Waseema to design and create a garment for you, be it for an occasion or just something casual, you can find her on Facebook under the name Waseema Abdool Khader. She is also a fashion, lifestyle and hijab blogger and you can find her blog here.

Raeesa

Local is Lekker: Alexandra K Jewels

When I started the ‘Local is Lekker’ series on my blog, I never knew that there were so many local brands out there. Recently, I came across Alexandra K Jewels, an amazing brand that doesn’t exist solely for the purpose of making a profit, but is also geared towards pro-empowerment and the uplifting of women.20140522-092030.jpgKate Alexandra Fitz-Gibbon officially launched her local brand, Alexandra K jewels, at the beginning of this year. She creates beautiful, handmade pieces that are simply stunning and very easy to wear. Her current range includes earrings, headpieces and necklaces that incorporate a lot of feathers, crystals, pearls and pretty stones – very dreamy and boho chic, I love it!
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From all of her designs, the headpieces are definitely my favorite! They are extremely handy when you are attending a special occasion or if just want to add little something extra to your look. An added plus is that they work exceptionally well over your hijab, which is possibly the greatest thing ever.
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Kate donning the gorgeous Hot Natured Headpiece

Kate donning the gorgeous Hot Natured Headpiece

The Silver River Headpiece

The Silver River Headpiece

Kate was kind enough to gift me two of her ultimately gorgeous headpieces, the Silver River headpiece and the Hot Natured headpiece, which I absolutely cannot wait to feature in my upcoming look posts! Thanks Kate! The photographs I snapped up did not do the headpieces justice, therefore I decided that I will show you guys the headpieces when I’m actually wearing them. But what I want you guys to see is the manner in which the headpieces were gifted to me – so fab!

I know! It's too adorable for words :D

I know! It’s too adorable for words 😀

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Whenever I chat to local designers/entrepreneurs I always ask them if they’ve had any formal training or if they hold any qualifications in the industry in which they work – be it fashion, jewellery, or baking- and almost always, the answer is ‘No’. Kate is no different. She explained to me that she taught herself how to make all of the Alexandra K Jewels pieces that you see above. She wanted to prove to herself that she can create beautiful items without the help of others or teaching resources – a means of building her self-confidence and self-esteem. After succeeding at this, Kate decided that she wanted to instill the same confidence in others, so the next step was making her brand pro-empowerment.
Kate is currently training her first lady to make the jewels, she is also training her in what it means to have confidence, to know her identity and her talents. She is teaching her values and principles, and how to embrace her destiny, which is all in aid of helping her to be successful in the workplace and to lead a successful life.
By building her brand, Kate is building the confidence of another and hopefully many more women in the future, as the brand grows.may 159

If you are interested in supporting a great brand with an amazing purpose, you can email your order to info@alexandrakjewels.com or you can send a message to the Alexandra K Jewel’s Facebook page and Kate will happily send through a product catalogue!
From the end of May, you can make your purchase from http://www.alexandrakjewels.com, all orders can be shipped to anywhere in SA and soon an international delivery option will also be available. Items are priced from R220 to R650 and there is limited availability on each product to ensure that you can keep your individuality alive – take that all you annoying copycats out there!
And oh yes, if you want to have a quick lookie at more of the pieces available from Alexandra K Jewels, you can find them on Facebook and Instagram.

Happy Shopping!
Raeesa

Local is Lekker: Clari Design

About 2 months ago, I came across Clari Design on Twitter – and oh-so-naturally, I checked out the images posted on their Twitter profile and the link in their bio – and I was pleasantly surprised!

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Clari Design specializes in handmade jewellery, T-shirts and breathtakingly beautiful crocheted items. This wonderful brand was created by mother and daughter team, Dolla and Chantel, and was born from their shared passion for creating magnificent, handmade pieces. Dolla is the Crochet Queen of Clari Design and is responsible for all of the stunning crocheted bags, iPad and iPhone pouches from Clari Design. Chantel, on the other hand, is in control of all of the aspects relating to the jewellery and T-shirts made and sold by Clari Design. She is also the mastermind and crafter of the adorable, itsy-bitsy handpainted wooden disks that are embedded in silver rings, which you will find in their store.

Hello there, designers :)

Hello there, designers 🙂

Just some of the wonderful products available from Clari Design

Just some of the wonderful products available from Clari Design

Clari Design had been in the making since 2009, but officially kicked off in 2011 after Chantel’s return from the Netherlands (like, why didn’t you take me with? 😦 ). It was her trip to the land of the Dutch that allowed Chantel to experience and view the world of design and crafts from a different perspective – this is what finally got the ball rolling for Clari DesignClari Design has been doing so well that they  have reached as far as Australia, the Netherlands and even America. Wooohooo, go Clari!

As all of the items promoted and sold by Clari Design are locally made here in South Africa, most of the inspiration for the designs, come from South Africa itself. When I asked Chantel to elaborate, this is what she had to say “We love people and what they are made of, what they love, how and why they love it. It inspires us to make people happy. Beautiful surroundings make people happy, and the most beautiful surrounding is nature – so we bring nature into your home, onto your t-shirts and even on your jewellery. If it’s not with a realistic painting or a silhouette, it will be with colours and textures.”

Do you want to know what I love most about the masterminds behind Clari Design? It’s that they are absolutely accommodating. If you’ve seen something online, perhaps a crocheted handbag or a little pin cushion, and you simply have to have it, these amazing women will make it for you. Yup, seriously! All you have to do is contact Clari Design (which is simple, because Chantel is the sweetest pea around!) and provide them with your specifications and they will custom make it for you. Easy as that!
If you like what you saw and read above, then perhaps check out Clari Design out on Mzansi Store, Hello Pretty and they will soon be making their way onto ShopaGift. And if you are one of the lucky ones that live in the Western Cape then be sure to pay their shop a visit, located in the small town of Piketberg. You can expect items to be priced from as little as R30 to a whopping R1000, so there really is something for everyone! You can also find Clari Designs on Facebook and Twitter too, so remember to like and follow!

 

Happy Shopping!

Raeesa

Local is Lekker: Hyde and Seek Leather

Adding a leather piece/item (not leather pants!) to my overall look makes me feel super edgy and sleek, and I guess this was what inspired this post. So when I came across the Hyde & Seek Leather website a few weeks/months ago, I just knew HSL will be a great addition to my Local is Lekker blog series!

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So let us get right into it, HSL was launched in October of 2013, with the aim of providing quality and stylish genuine leather statement designs to the interested consumer. HSL’s mission is to “break new ground in exclusive handcrafted leather apparel in an environmentally sustainable way by embracing South Africa’s local resources and design talent” and their mission is on the right track, as far as I am concerned! I find it so inspiring and rousing when business/brands are consistently contributing to the economy of South Africa whilst ensuring the sustainability of our environment, it doesn’t get any better than that!

So I had a lookie at all of the products that HSL has on offer, and it was pretty hard to choose just one favourite piece, as both their bags and accessories are super cute! But, I’ve narrowed them down to the  3 items that I just couldn’t stop thinking about, so here they are:

 

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I know all of thee above are clutches, but they are just so gorg! How could they not be my fav?? I totally love them! BTW, apologies for the images above being so close to each other, they refused to give each other space! I tried, it just didn’t work. Perhaps, they are BFF’s for life?

 

Being curious about these amazing pieces, I decided to have a little chat with the mastermind behind HSL, just to gain a little more insight on the background and beginnings of HSL. So here’s what I learnt:

  • HSL is the brainchild of Alleyah Kader (see pic below), a Cape Town based business analyst with some mad creative and design skill;

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  • With the completion of a pattern making & design course, a degree in Business Management and qualifications in Project Management & Business Analysis, she has managed to plan, integrate and execute the infrastructures for HSL as well as all the supporting processes that make the wheels turn. She’s uber talented, I know! I’m slightly jelly :(.
  • She has a passion for working with leather and loves creating fully handcrafted leather pieces that are unique and sassy, making HSL more of a creative outlet than a business to her.
  • Her business partner/ husband (a qualified CA) guiding light when it comes to making  financial decisions for HSL. Uhm, a total YAY for us accounting lovers, we totally rock! 😀
  • The inspiration for the design of the HSL ranges come from anywhere and everywhere. Alleyah is most inspired when she sees/experiences something new but the ability to create a chic and unique masterpiece from solely an idea created in her mind is simply her biggest inspiration!

So if you like what you read/saw, HSL’s full range is available on their website and orders can be placed directly with them at hello@hydeandseekleather.co.za or via any social pages! And they deliver nationally and internationally too, woohoo! So go on over to HSL’s website, Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram and check them out!

And oh yes, HSL has recently partnered with Zhoosh! Australia and are currently in the process of forming partnerships in Germany and the US, so watch this space!

 

So that’s that! Until next time!

Raeesa

Local is Lekker: Rings & Things

The love of jewellery is common amongst all girls, mostly because we know that an outfit just simply isn’t complete without that totally amazing statement necklace or that super cute cocktail ring – and this is where Rings & Things fits into the equation!20140312-170446.jpg

Rings & Things is this super cool online store that I discovered whilst on my random Twitter searches for South African online shops. So these guys retail fashion and fine jewellery and have something for everyone! From vintage and quirky to edgy and bulky, they really do cover their bases!

I’m more of a vintage and quirky jewellery lover and I think that’s why I’m really fond of this site. Some of my favourite pieces from their online store are:

 

The moustache watch!

The moustache watch!

The infinity bracelet

The infinity bracelet

The arrow bangle

The arrow bangle

 

Considering my appreciation and love for their products, I took the time to learn a little bit more about Rings & Things, about the designers and just basically how Rings & Things was born. So here are some interesting facts:

  • The mastermind behind Rings & Things is Erika Fourie, the designer and manufacturer. Yup, she’s a woman, so like a total YAY for girl power!
  • Erika has a certificate in Art, as well as a B-Tech degree in Jewellery Design and Manufacture from the Department of Fine and Applied Arts at the Tshwane University of Technology. Yup, she’s amazing.
  • After spending a few months in the Big Apple, she returned to SA and worked part time as a fine jewellery lecturer at a private jewellery school, and then as a trend forecaster and fashion accessory buyer for a company who supply a chain of local fashion stores.
  • Due to her creativity, experience and love for fashion, she decided it was time to build her own brand and that’s how Rings & Things was born!
  • Her designs are inspired by everything and anything including blogs, magazines, her friends, architecture, movies or even from some stranger walking down the street.

 

That’s basically all there is to know about Rings & Things, so go ahead and check them out on their website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on Pinterest.

If you like what to see, ordering is as easy as 1, 2, 3! Select your items, checkout and pay! And no stress, they guarantee secure payment methods, so your money is safe! And if you are in Europe, Australia or America Rings & Things offers International shipping too! How frikkin’ awesome is that?

 

Happy Shopping!

 

Raeesa

New blog series: Local is Lekker

So, I’ve been contemplating for a while, on whether to do this series or not, and I’ve finally decided to stop thinking about and just do it!
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The purpose of this blog series is not to brainwash you into thinking a certain way, it’s just an avenue for me to create awareness of the amazing Proudly South African brands and locally manufactured products that are available for you to purchase, if you want to purchase it!

We are all guilty of purchasing imported goods, particularly those that are Made in China, or Taiwan or India, that’s why I thought that this series will be a good idea! For each post in the series, I will be focusing on a different South African brand that I have come across, discussing what products they offer, where you can purchase their products from and any other information that will be relevant to you.

I think it’s great to support our Proudly South African brands – after all, local is lekker! And no, this doesn’t mean you should solely support South African brands, I know that’s difficult to do, not even I can’t do that! But perhaps, slowly get into it and hopefully we will make it a habit! So don’t forget to look out for my Local is Lekker posts, to get all the info you need on your amazing, local products😊.

Please note that I am not getting paid by any of the brands that will be featured in this series, this is just a self-initiated blog series to create awareness for my readers.

Raeesa

Local is Lekker: Sowsan Scarves, An evolution of style

Thanks to The Al-Ansaar Souk last year, I was exposed to a few amazing Hijab brands. And no, I’m not talking about the Kashkas and Hanayens but proudly South African, locally produced Hijabs, one of which being Sowsan Scarves. 20140311-090605.jpg

Truth be told, the only reason I visited their stall was to get a closer look at the amazing embroidery on their table cloth – I know, that’s like so random, but it was so cool seriously. I just had to! It was like calling out to me, like ‘Come Raeesa, come have a look at this fine and beautiful embroidery’, so I listened and walked over there.
Now, to make sure that I didn’t make my true intentions too obvi, I started having a looky at their Hijabs and getting a feel for them and I think that’s when the bug bit.

Their scarves are super soft and are of that kind that don’t need the normal, under chin pins, you know? They just stay in place with the help of one/two straight pins, which is great for me, since I’m always losing/breaking my pins. Overall, it was just chilled and easy to wear Hijabs, which everybody loves.

I was totally intrigued by the Sowsan brand and so as soon as I discovered their Twitter account, I immediately asked for info to include in this feature, which the lovely and ever so beautiful Sumaiya was kind enough to share!

So here are some interesting facts about Sowsan:

Sowsan Scarves was launched about a year ago, in March of 2013, after much persuasion by the family of the Sowsan Masterminds 👇.

Sowsan Scarves is the brainchild of the smart and creative Shereen (green & black hijab), qualified fashion designer and genuine sweetheart Sumaiya (purple tribal aztec hijab), the soon-to-be fashion designer Saudah (sherbet aqua hijab) and the youngest of them all, Siddiqa. And the face of Sowsan is Mishka, featured in the sherbet peach/coral hijab.

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•The 2 S’s facing each other in the Sowsan logo, represents all of the Sowsan masterminds and embodies the brand Sowsan.

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•The word Sowsan is of Arabic origin, meaning ‘Lily of the Valley’,

•The Sowsan Scarves/Hijabs are made of 100% stretch cotton fabric – this is awesome, because it will keep you cool in Summer and warm in Winter, double yay for transitional items!

•The designs for Sowsan Scarves are inspired by nature, Africa’s wildlife, the multitude of ethnic groups and tribes and of course, current and global fashion trends.

Sowsan Scarves are intended for all age groups, funky and colorful designs for the younger generation and simple but stunning designs for the more mature ladies.

So now that you know probably everything that there is to know about Sowsan Scarves, you can go ahead and check out their Hijabs here:
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

If you like what you see, you can email sowsanscarves@gmail.com, they offer fast and reliable door to door courier service country wide (unfortunately, no online store yet!) or you can check them out at the local fairs in Durban. Oh yes, Scarves range from R150 to R180, excluding postage fees, just in case you needed to know that!

Here’s to supporting locally manufactured brands ☺️☺️, I hope you enjoyed this post!

Raeesa