Who Made Your Clothes? Behind the Arabian Nites Modest Fashion Revolution
When we started Arabian Nites back in 2004, we were groundbreaking in many ways. Our arrival represented a new era for modest fashion – where each piece was designed as a keepsake, a garment to instantly elevate a woman every time it is worn. We wanted our designs to represent a journey, a transformation – priceless feelings that cannot be discarded.
But we knew that the innovation couldn’t stop at our designs. With a mission to inspire empowerment, grace and confidence in women, we couldn’t accept that we had to dress women to achieve their dreams… while depriving the women and families who create our pieces.
Making a statement in modest fashion
In a culture of fast-fashion and throwaway clothes, we distinguish ourselves by refusing to compromise our values of justice and empowerment for women.
From the very first modest fashion collection we produced at Arabian Nites, the welfare, wellbeing and economic stability of every person whose lives we touch has always taken centre stage for our work.
From the skilled workers who carefully dye the fabric for each garment from scratch, to the artisans who delicately hand-embroider each embellishment, to the hard-working sales staff in our stores.
The garments we create are a labour of love and hope. Hope in achieving change for women by igniting the confidence within and helping them channel the power of expression through fashion. Hope in empowering the women and men who create our garments, by giving them confidence through harnessing their skills and the means to provide for their families.
The reality of fast-fashion
Although the ethics of fashion are increasingly being called into question, the reality is that we still know little about the long journey our clothes make before they reach store shelves.
Often passing through the hands of farmers, spinners, weavers, dyers, machinists, and other skilled garment workers in the Global South, there’s no shortage of people and families who rely on the production of clothing to make a living.
In fact, around 75 million people worldwide work to make the clothes we wear, and 80% of them are women aged between 18 to 35.
Entire communities rely on the global fashion industry for their livelihoods, but the unfortunate reality for many garment workers is a life of poverty. They are subject to exploitation by the fashion industry in the form of poor wages, verbal and physical abuse, working in unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
The 2013 Rana Plaza incident in Bangladesh was damning evidence of fatally poor practice by the fashion industry. When 1,132 people died and over 2500 were injured as a result of a building collapse, the world woke up to the horrors of the neglect faced by these workers.
These disasters, among the worst industrial accidents on record, compelled people to unite against mistreatment of garment workers and join the Fashion Revolution Movement to demand a fairer, more transparent fashion industry.
To keep holding the industry accountable, in April every year, thousands take to social media as part of Fashion Revolution Week to ask their favourite brands #WhoMadeMyClothes to ensure a tragedy like the Rana Plaza incident never happens again. .
How we make each piece at Arabian Nites
We believe that each worker we entrust to create our garments become a part of the story of that piece. Each garment then goes on to becomes a part of the wearer’s story.
Each Arabian Nites piece is designed in the London studio of our founder Yasmin.
Each piece starts with a sketch; and is then developed from a toile into a final garment. From this stage, a single garment can take up to 6 months to create as much consideration is put into choice of fabric, the choice of embellishment, the construction of the piece and any other finishing elements.
We craft each of our modest fashion collections with a specific woman in mind. The woman who strives for effortless style over looking trendy. The woman with little time to spare, who needs something practical and beautiful to tell her story. The woman who needs clothes that just work, that continue serving her long after current trends have faded away… for years, if not decades.
All our fabrics are of the highest quality and chosen for their durability and longevity. All our garments are created using only the most exquisite fabrics and cuts that maximise the amount of material in each garment; however, we only buy the quantity we need to ensure there’s little to no waste. Where possible, any extra fabric left over from the production process is used to make clothes for our workers and their families.
All fabrics are hand-dyed from scratch, meaning that none of our designs and prints are mass-produced or available outside our collections.
Our creation process
Every bead, panel and embellishment is crafted by skilled artisans who specialise in particular fields across textiles and fashion. We have built close relationships with our team and have ensured our products are made within a factory that has legal working hours and wages, with good health and safety regulations and strict policies against the use of child labour.
At Arabian Nites, we are proud to be one of the first modest fashion brands in the UK supporting the fair and ethical production of all our clothing since 2004. We pride ourselves on championing sustainability in modest fashion, and we will always be fully transparent about exactly who made our garments and how.