Does anyone care about Muslim Mens Streetwear?
As we begin this journey one needs to question whether it is going to be worth the effort or not. There are 2 ways to look at this. You either see it as – let’s give up because I don’t think anyone will like what I have to offer. Or you can visualise it as a way to find out if anyone will like what you have to offer.
One thing that I’ve realised in my research is that when you truly are passionate about something and you love something and you translate all of that energy in to what you are doing, I’m certain there will be someone somewhere else who wants what you have to offer.
That sounds very cliché, and usually it’s the guys who are in their 40s, 50s or 60s talking on a stage who say things like that. Well, I’m at the start of my journey with Rizq clothing and I immediately feel that that is right. Especially when you put yourself out there for the world to see.
You see what happens is all the negativity that you’ve received in your life becomes louder than the positivity. You may have received more positive messages in your life than the negative ones, but for some reason, the negativity seems to scream out louder.
I remember I used to rap back in the day. I had a few people who gave me feedback on it and now when I look back on it, they were the wrong people to get feedback from. They themselves weren’t visionaries, they were living in the world that they had constructed for themselves, which was in a completely different realm to the world that I was living in. I let their negativity get to me when I should have been impressed that my product reached them in the first place. Because if it reached enough people, someone would have enjoyed it I’m sure. Someone would have benefited from it, I’m sure.
That’s why as I do more and more research in to the Islamic streetwear market, I realise that it doesn’t truly exist. For me, I realise that this isn’t about religious element to it. It’s about culture. What are you doing to enhance the culture.
What we’re doing here at Rizq is providing a service to our community in our own subtle ways. The choice of design, the cut, the fabric, the message. All of these things are acceptable for Muslims to wear and some even enhance a practicing Muslims fashion experience. We have chosen the long tail option on a lot of our clothes because it’s an obligation to keep yourself covered – yes, even the men need to cover up, it’s not only women! This is a huge problem that I’ve personally experienced when in the mosque and is something that you need to be conscious about. The worst part is when the guy standing in front of you needs a longer length top but has no clue or care about covering up.
However, streetwear itself is culture.
The approach that many take from what I can see, is that they begin their brands focussing on the Islamic element and hoping that the Muslims who enjoy streetwear will buy it. You can see it with simple designs that everyone seems to have like ‘Salam’ or ‘Hubb’/love written in Arabic. That for me is not enough anymore.
I remember buying a hoodie from Islamic Impressions (www.islamicimpressions.co.uk) when I was a teenager. I loved it because I was able to represent my faith and my fashion in one. On the front it had their ‘i’ logo and on the back (if I remember correctly) it said ‘La Illaha Il Allah’ written in English but in an Arabic style font. It lasted me for quite a while and I enjoyed wearing it.
That hoodie however, does not allow for a bridge for others to enjoy the Islamic culture. In truth, in today’s society, that same hoodie would look quite intimidating for some people as the writing was all in red. It does not invite a non Muslim to appreciate the beauty that is within Islam.
That’s what our focus is. This is how we’re going to build Rizq in to a brand that lasts for 100 years. We are creating a culture. When you allow others to enjoy the places and ideas that you are made of, it only makes your life and the life for your people much better.
Through fashion, I believe we are able to build many bridges between communities to make peoples lives easier.
Imagine a racist who buys a Rizq top because he doesn’t know the background or story of Rizq, what it means and who we are. He just bought it because it was hot. Because he saw Riz Ahmed wear it in an interview and he wasn’t going to miss out on the hottest new drops that celebrities were wearing. That racist will buy the clothes and eventually when someone tells him what it means and who we are, I’m positive that that will make him think twice before saying something against Muslims.
Because you cannot hate things that you find beautiful.
We are here to create art that represents Muslims in the best way and bridge a gap between us at a time where every bridge built seems to be in need of repair. Through fashion, we do our part.