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Meet the Founder

Welcome to our very first blog post. Part of new things to be added to Almaarie this year. Can you believe it's second week of March already!? Doesn't time fly! Almaarie was founded in 2017 by myself, Dr. Sheila Kazi. Before launching Almaarie, I was working as a principle engineer in a major blue-chip company. This was my dream job since I was a very young girl and I had worked very hard to get to that point.  However everything changed in 2016 when I had to make one of the most difficult decisions of my life, to give up my job, to give up my dream. This was because around late 2013 I had been diagnosed with debilitating chronic illness and by the end of 2016 I could no longer carry on working. I had to give up my dream of high flying career and move back in with my parents. 

However being a workaholic, I couldn't just stay at home and do nothing and wallow in my sorrows. It just wasn't going to happen. This is when the idea of Almaarie came to me. Having my own business where I am able to work around my health conditions. I knew it was going to be very difficult and will take a lot of hard work to make it a success, but I have always loved a challenge and always been a workaholic. So in June 2017 I registered Almaarie Limited as a company with Companies House in the UK. 

Fashion has always been something I was fond of. However I have always struggled to make mainstream fashion work for me. This is because my faith requires me to dress in a modest fashion. To dress modestly yet fashionably with your own unique style required spending many hours, going to various different shops to find items to layer even in the summer. As I progressed in to my engineering career, this became even more difficult due to lack of time. Often I ended up wearing a cardigan on top of a pretty sleeveless top. I loved it when waterfall cardigans became all the rage. Nevertheless this was extremely frustrating since how we dress does affect how we behave and perform and how others perceive us. You know, power dressing and all that. It's not power dressing if you're not comfortable in it! 

Given my experience and frustration with fashion, it was a no brainer to build my business around fashion, especially around modest fashion. Despite what many people think, modest fashion is not the opposite of 'immodest' fashion. Neither does it describe the garb of any particular religious group. It is simply a type of fashion like office wear, evening wear, sports wear, minimalist fashion etc. What constitutes modesty in fashion varies from person to person and is often influenced by various factors such as faith, culture, personal style and even the weather. There are people out there who follow modest fashion without realising that is what they do.

As I mentioned earlier modest fashionistas are diverse in their faith (or absent of faith), culture, style and reasons behind their choice of apparel. Hence modest fashion by proxy is about diversity. Being born and brought up in the beautiful multicultural city of London and as child of a migrant, diversity is very close to my heart. It is not just the architecture but the mixture and influence of the people of various races, religions, colour and cultures who call London home that make London the beautiful place that it is. My vision for Almaarie is to celebrate the unity between people whilst respecting, enjoying and learning from the diversity.

 Sheila at London Fashion Week 2019

Little bit more about myself. Before my new modified lifestyle, I was one of those people who are into trying various adventurous activities. These included indoor climbing, gliding, hiking, caving, hot air balloon ride... you get the gist. I was also training for a half marathon. Other not so active interests included travelling, jewellery making, art and craft, collecting antique makeups oh and reading. I don't read books anymore, I now listen to books! Very funny, I know. By the way, I have an 1897 edition of Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I had an even older copy of Pride and Prejudice, but alas I don't have that anymore. The last thing I absolutely have to mention is that I have two beautiful cats called Buttons and Oscar. They are the apple of my eyes. There you go, you now know as much as my friends know about me. Can we be friends?

Jokes aside, now you do know more about where Almaarie comes from and what it stands for, I hope you will support us. In return we hope to be a brand that you will be proud to be a part of. Let's be honest, without you and your support Almaarie is nothing but just another dream.

Dr. Sheila Kazi, Founder and CEO



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1 comment

  • My Very dear Sheila,
    I say this because I am really really touched by your story and I have a heavy heart.Let me give you a warm hug.I hope you are doing well and that life is treating you fairly.You are a fabulous person and I already feel that I want to get to know you.I bless you with all my heart and shall pray for you.Hats to you for all what you have achieved and the way you carry on.
    Modesty in fashion!You are a sweet lady and this is my choice to dress as well.I adore some of your full skirts but I am a size 22/24 depending on fabrics.Would you consider doing slightly larger sizes?I do not want to be frumpy but like stylish clothes and good fabrics.Would you help me in this?I would be extremely grateful.
    I really want to purchase(they are in my basket)the Frank Herval Coleen earrings and the Elyne Parallel long necklace.I registered and you sent me a code for 20% off and I have just realised that it has expired.Can you possibly reinstate this code for me?PLEASE!I love these.Are These the best prices?
    I really hope that you will reply and I REALLY want to get to know you.Bless you and do have a good weekend and stay Safe.
    With kind regards and best wishes,

    • Mrs Naseem Richards