Friday, 30 December 2011


The Bird of the Year 2011 Award (posthumously) goes to Fluffy the Bird.

Fluffy was a complex bird. He was a brilliant bird. Like most geniuses, no one ever really understood him; he sometimes would not even understand himself.

Notable life achievements:
  • Heading a coup to overthrow the alpha male, which nearly worked.
  • Beating up other birds to impress and win over one Jameela the Bird, a highly desirable bird.
  • Trusting humans in front of other birds, making the other birds more trustworthy of humans.
Fluffy would always do his best to help other birds. He would not always be appreciated, but he never needed anyone’s appreciation, it just made him happy to feel like he was contributing. Maybe we could all learn something from Fluffy.

Fluffy the Bird: 2008 – August 2011.


Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Fashion, Muslims and Irony


The word  "fashion" usually conjures up images of  almost-naked women parading down catwalks, indulgent after-parties for the beautiful and elite, and covergirl  images so heavily Photoshopped even Hosni Mubarak’s plastic face looks more plausible.
It’s why you’re likely to get the “haraam finger” pointed at you when you talk about fashion in a “Muslim” context. The expression “Muslim fashion” seems to be as ironic as Lady Gaga calling herself a lady.
We generally accept fashion to be defined as a celebration of sexuality; the objectification of a woman; her empowerment through her 6 inch stilettos. But isn’t fashion just another word for “clothes”, and doesn’t everyone need to wear clothes? Yet, despite the rather simple definition of the latter, it is the more widely accepted former definition which informs the idea that Islam is at odds with “fashion”. As a consequence, Muslims who show an interest in fashion are deemed as unholy women, shallow and wasting their time with such pointless things. Rather than designers focusing on the challenging task of designing clothing which tick all the modesty boxes, whilst remaining relevant to the societies they live in, they’re too busy halal-ifying the very idea of modest fashion to the critics. Rather than trying to find solutions which allow Muslim women to have the same life choices available to them as they would do if they didn’t wear hijab, they’re too busy getting the approach to  modest fashion wrong. The confusion is threefold:

1) The “Sheek Awee” method.
Take one plain, modest outfit. Make the outfit appealing by modelling it in a sexual manner. Complete the look by wearing so much makeup it looks like you’re sponsored by Maybelline. 

2) The “Mu7tarram” method.
Take one plain black abaya. Get some nice plastic crystals and stick them to the abaya in a nice heart shape arrangement. Also, celebrate your Muslim identity by writing the word “Allah” in said crystals.

3) The “Filous kiteer” method.
Take one Emirati who condemns the hedonistic-bikini-wearing infidel to hell. Take the same Emirati who wears the Calvin Klein hijab –a brand which uses said hedonistic infidel to promote and represent their products. Forget about the irony of a luxury brand being used as a symbol for an anti-materialistic Islam: focus on the initial problem.

So what IS good “Muslim fashion” design? Maybe the operative word should be “design”. Maybe we start with a specification that defines what the product needs to do. Maybe the product prioritises empowerment and not how pretty a hijab can be made to look.  Maybe the product reflects the sentiment of liberation of being a Muslim woman. Maybe we reclaim the word “fashion” and coin it by our own definition.

Thursday, 22 December 2011


Forget progressive ideas, forward thinking design and hilarious yet thought-provoking social commentary, I’ve finally done what I should have been doing for ages to be a successful fashion blogger –post pictures of myself for mass adoration purely based on my looks and ability to strike poses which don’t really make any sense. Here I am wearing some new laser cut jewellery coming soon to Of course the important bit is me and not the product –it’s a lot simpler to understand that way.

Stay tuned for more info (pictures that include me probably), of what I think is hot right now, seeing as I obviously know and obviously intelligent people care.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011



We did a shoot in the beautiful and historic city of Istanbul! Click the image below to view the photoshoot images on our Facebook page!


I wrote two articles for Kalimat Magazine. Both are hilarious, believe me. One is me reviewing the new collection by DAS at London Fashion Week, the other is my usual complaining about stuff. Please check them out at the following locations:
"Bumlicking Amreeka"
"DAS Collection: London Fashion Week"

Saturday, 24 September 2011


I was at London Fashion Week recently and was so upset about the bad fashion it inspired me to write a poem. Here it is.

Inside the mind of a designer

I’m in a panic, I’m in a state
I need a collection that’s really great
But I’m stuck for inspiration
I need some styles to cause provocation
What to do, what to show?
Oh, I’ve got it, now I know!
I’ll the show the bum, to make the clothes fun
I’ll show the breasts, to get me some press
Good design is not essential
They’ll still call me influential
And all because of this see-through shirt
And hideous, backless Hawaiian grass skirt.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011



We sent a couple of our menswear tees in the direction of Hip-Hop superstar Omar Offendum. We’ve heard that Omar puts the t-shirts on to inspire him when he’s writing songs. We didn't really hear that, but it's probably true.

Sunday, 18 September 2011



Earlier this year Elenany designed a bespoke piece of jewellery for rapper/actor/phenomenon The Narcicyst. We wanted to create something that truly reflected the spirit of his work so we studied his lyrics, delved into his philosophy and compiled a comprehensive image directory of all the things he’s ever worn….but just to make sure we got it right, we just asked him what he wanted and made that instead.

The result is this.

We made this piece of forearm armour for him by laser etching gold leather, laser cutting walnut and finishing with brass plated buckles and strap ends.

Follow The Narcicyst on Twitter @TheNarcicyst



We’ve always wondered how people come up with great ideas. Obviously, we mean how OTHER people as well as ourselves come up with great ideas. Elenany recently started writing for Kalimat magazine, an exciting new magazine providing an outlet for political, cultural and social expression within the Arab region and its Diaspora.

We love pioneers so we wanted to find out more about its inspired creator….so we tracked her down and asked her a bunch of awkward questions to try to figure out how she came up with such a great idea.

Elenany: Who are you?
Danah: I am the founder, editor and creative director of Kalimat Magazine. Currently, I am a Master of Arts in Social Design student at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.

Elenany: What is your vision?
Danah: My vision with Kalimat is to turn it into a media and design production house. Kalimat not only encourages Arab creatives to submit their work and pursue careers in creative fields, media and politics without facing the difficulties of censorship, we also work collaboratively with writers on the editing process. Our end goal is to implement media and design training centres within universities. We want to teach people within the Arab region the creative fields inside and out and how they can utilise these skills to better their communities.

Elenany: What was the one defining moment of your life?
Danah: I guess I can relate it back to my second visit to Palestine. I lived in Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem for a few weeks and had the opportunity to experience the lifestyle of the residents, the way they think, etc. There was something about it that made you want to come back and do some form of educational work and that was a goal I had set in my mind. When I got back, I was inspired to clean up the place, create recycling and garbage programmes because there’s trash everywhere and I couldn’t understand why or how people could live like that. I worked a lot in activism after that. And then in 2010, I returned to Palestine, this time living and working at An-Najah University in Nablus. This time I was coming with ideas on how to do something for the entire region, as opposed to merely focusing on Palestine, which many people do, often neglecting similar problems in the vicinity.

Elenany: How has this translated into your work now?
Danah: It has translated into Kalimat, which is what I am devoted to and it’s also my area of study. The MA programme I’m pursuing right now works directly with the East Baltimore community. As opposed to living in an apartment in a nice part of town and coming in during class time to work with the community, we live in the community and make up a part of it. That’s real community work and helps us better understand our surroundings and the people and places we are making things for. The programme is directly related to making change happen/instigating change through design.

Elenany: How is your work making the world a better place?
Danah: With my work, I hope to make people question the role of the media and design – how can these fields articulate change, how can we use them to better our environment and community and what is the role of a designer, an architect, a journalist? My goal is to have people rethink the educational system in the Arab world and the presence that these two fields (which influence numerous fields alongside it), play.

Elenany: Whose work do you like (artists/designers/musicians)?
Danah: One of my main inspirations is minimalist design so and the work of Massimo Vignelli inspires me for sure. I am also absolutely in love with the Andalusia region, the architecture and history is phenomenal.

Elenany: What’s your favourite Elenany piece/ graphic?
Danah: The Eskimo Coat! And the awesome Elenany logo buttons.

Elenany: Where can we find out more about you?
Danah: On my website at or on my blog and by following me on twitter @theyuppie

Check out Kalimat Magazine at



If you thought Girl Scouts spent their time baking cookies and helping old people mow their lawns, you were misinformed. Well, they do do that stuff, but they also get up to rather more exciting activities like hang gliding, mine exploration and zorbing. Yeah, zorbing.

Earlier this year, Elenany was asked by The Scouts to design a new inclusive uniform that girls from all backgrounds could wear to allow them to run, jump and climb mountains as much as they wanted without making the girls feel uncomfortable or exposed. Here’s the breakdown:

After several discussions with focus groups made up of girl Scouts and Scout leaders, we created two pieces of uniform which can be worn in conjunction with existing Scout uniform. We created a hoody dress for them, incorporating the bright i-Scout orange for the hood lining and print. We also created a shirt dress, made from a heavy t-shirt fabric in traditional Scout beige –with flashes of i-Scout pink on the sleeves.

We couldn’t let them go without plastering a massive Elenany graphic all over the clothing –so that’s exactly what we did. We’re excited that the print might be used across the boys Scouting range (Cubs, Beavers, Scouts) too, on t-shirts and polos.

We got our inspiration for the print from all of the exciting activities Scouts get up to, so if you look closely you can see kayakers, windsurfers and Scuba divers arranged in a nice geometric pattern.

The uniform will be available at the end of this year to anyone and everyone from Scout Shops, online. The uniform will be limited edition, so if you love the new pieces, there’s no time to waste!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Islamification, Bad Nostalgia and British Design Genius.

I came across an article recently titled “the Islamification of Britain” in The Independent. I didn’t read it though, because I have a short attention span and Independent articles are always really long and use a lot of big words. I like to write but I don’t like to read. What does that say about me? Probably that I’m a narcissist. Oh well. Anyway.

As I lay staring at the ceiling listening to Radiohead that evening, I was awash with bad nostalgia. You know, bad nostalgia, the opposite of good nostalgia such as being choked with tears of joy at hearing the theme tune to The Mysterious Cities of Gold which you haven’t heard since you were 10.
Radiohead took me back to my late teens. The emptiness of youth. The disenchantment of reality. The indifference of it all. Yeah, I was proper Emo back then. In fact, I was Emo before Emo was even invented.
People often ask me why I started practising Islam and I never give them a proper answer because I can’t actually remember, but Radiohead reminded me. And I think it might be the reason for the rest of Britain, or at least elements of it :)

So why specifically Britain? Oddly enough I think the reason that British design is the best in the world is for the same reason for such Islamification. Wow. How did I even connect those two?! Here goes, using Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion:

Action: The British Stiff Upper Lip.
Reaction: Not showing and expressing emotion, or the fear of doing so can make people cold and unfriendly. This makes sensitive people become more introverted and seek approval from other humans by means of the work they produce. It makes people define themselves by their ideas. It makes people want to go into their sheds and invent stuff.
Spiritually, it makes people seek love in something that is bigger than a loveless society.

Action: The British Social Hierarchy/Class system.
Reaction: Historically, social class has massively informed social politics. Think about the monarchy versus the paupers and how that linked to value of oneself. It has filtered down through the ages and is still felt today. British people love fairness as a reaction to unfairness of being treated according to status. You are not the car you drive, etc.
Spiritually, this fairness translates into a yearning for equality.

Action: The Autonomous British Culture.
Reaction: Brits don’t like being told what to do, so we think a lot about what we think should be right. We decide what’s right. We develop a style. We work on this style. We refine it. It becomes brilliance itself.
Spiritually, there is a realisation that the truth is bigger than the self, but there is a need for rationale.

So because all of these things cause a reaction of wanting to feel free of whatever it is that is oppressing us, such is the liberation that is also required to be a good designer and explains twofold the British Islamification phenomenon and the path to British Design Genius. Thank you.