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.
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