Is there such a thing as Muslim Men’s Fashion?
When starting on any journey one needs to always conduct prior research and planning. You need to always see what the best route will be to reach your destination. Has any one else tread these waters so that I can learn from them?
That is natural when travelling through the world and travelling through life.
Same too when conducting my research for Rizq. However, my initial searches came back with very little to be inspired by. In fact when I typed in the keyword ‘Muslim Men Fashion’, the results show little to no others in the space that I am looking to dominate. In fact, a question arises, how can you dominate in a market that doesn’t exist?
This question is the decision maker between 99% of the ideas that people have and them following through and taking any meaningful action to try to realise it.
One could look at this in one of two ways:
- The market doesn’t exist, therefore no one will be there if I show up
- The market doesn’t exist, how should I change to fit in to what’s already there?
- I’m going to set up my own market and they shall come
This is what is known as mindset. The solutions that we choose with our everyday occurrences in life - is what mindset is. Of course, I went with option 3.
I painted a bleak picture at the start by saying that the companies that came up with my initial search were less than inspirational in relation to my niche, however, that indicates to me that there are other keywords which are more important, or there is an undervalued piece of real estate waiting to be claimed.
There are definitely others who are in this market, brands such as: Izaha, founded by London based brothers Omar Choudhry and Faisal Choudhry; 5pillars, founded by California Based Farooq. However, I am struggling to think of anyone else.
Izaha has organically grown its online presence by partnering up with influencers predominantly in the YouTube scene. People like Ali Dawah (who has 190k followers on his YouTube Channel @TheDawowProject), who is regularly seen wearing their clothes; Musa Adnan (with 47k followers on his YouTube Channel @Immusaman), again someone who is very much associated with their brand.
They have also been extremely intelligent with the people they’ve selected to represent their brand. The male models on their website include: Lats aka @healthy_mindset with 33.9k followers on his Instagram – a personal trainer and close friend of World Heavy Weight Boxing Champion Anthony Joshua; and Ajmal aka @silverback_aj a personal trainer and online coach with 21.5k followers on his Instagram.
I have known of Izaha for a while due to myself being someone who watches a lot of Islamic content on YouTube including Ali Dawah, Musa Adnan and even Faisal Choudry who has his own vlog series as well.
5pillars on the other hand, again I have known about them for a while now, however, I know a lot less about the team behind it. I first saw them in a major way when they released their ‘Nomad’ collection late in 2017. They did a huge launch campaign with an impressive and high quality advert where they had the models in the desert and it was edited really well.
When you go to their site, you can see that they’ve taken their time to make sure it is right in the way that they want it to be. Their collections are also quite vast and varied, which makes you feel as though they are thinking about how to get mainstream market attention rather than purely from the Islamic scene. For me, that’s a great move because you become a bridge for people to start accepting their home culture with western contemporary culture. You can even see this in their slogan
"Western contemporary street wear brand built on the influence of Eastern art." (taken from their Instagram profile (@5pillars)
Farrukh Ershad (Insta: @farrukhershad), the founder and creative director of 5pillars again has been heavily utilising the YouTube influencer strategy with appearences on Wajeeh West (39k followers on YouTube) and Qais Omar’s, @Qrewkicks channel as well as people like New York YouTuber and best friend of Adam Saleh @ASAVlogs, Slim Albaher’s @SlimmySlim94 channel.
Instagram and YouTube are very powerful forms of marketing for brands because you have real life models wearing and representing you every day.
At one point, I asked myself: how can it be possible to get any customers when these guys are already in the market? They have everything that the consumer could want. That’s the small voice. That’s the voice in your head that sounds commanding and wise at the start and when you realise how ridiculous it is, the voice itself starts to sound ridiculous. It is a voice that is speaking from a place of fear. It doesn’t want you to lose any money. It doesn’t want you to go to an event and get no sales. Maybe it doesn’t want people to laugh at your ideas or ridicule them. The basic function of that voice is to keep you surviving. The action that goes against the fear is what will keep you thriving.
It was a revelation to hear from my friend that the secret to succeeding in business is to simply turn up at the right place and watch how everybody will come flocking. To be honest, his exact words were "Market your shit to whichever niche and watch them come… Look at vegan mateys"
That’s when it hit me that no matter what you are doing, you’re not the only person who wants what you’ve got. Be real to yourself and you’ll see how other people are attracted to that. Right now all I’m focussed on is creating clothes that I want to wear. I know I’ve got style, so why not make it for myself.
When I came to that realisation I realised that all competition was great. In this scenario, I don’t even want to use the word competition, as I don’t see these other brands as competition. I feel as though we are all creating a genre that will ultimately be good for our community. We are inspiring others to create. We are inspiring people towards good, ultimately. Regardless, the reason why it’s great to have other companies in your space is because it brings more customers in to your space.
It’s like the universe that we live in. The larger and denser the object is, the more gravity that object has, thus giving it greater pulling power.
Let’s focus on collaboration rather than competition. Unity is the key.
By the way the picture for this blog was taken from the pictures when I typed in 'Muslim Men Fashion' in to a Google Images search :)
- Ehsan Khan, Founder of Rizq. (28/02/18)