Category Archives: Islam & Fashion

A Necessary Ramadhan Personal-Reflection In Mercy!!!

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Here’s a story for the Record-Books:

Ramadhan 1435 AH/2014 CE…I went to Masjid Ar-Rahman, on 29th St bet. 5th Ave & Broadway, in Manhattan, NYC-After making the congregational Maghrib/Sunset Prayer, my shoes go missing. I’m honestly mad as Hell: those Sneakers were brand-new & fresh out the box, I barely had them for a whole week, I got them for free…they were a gift. So, you can understand why I was duly pissed all the way off!!! I felt so violated that someone, a Muslim, would dare to steal something during Ramadhan in the Mosque no less. I was just thinking in my mind what I would do, and how would I hurt this Person who took what was mine, if I woulda caught-up to them. It even got to the point when I was yelling, and causing a scene, concerning what was taken from me. Some other Muslim-Brothers attempted to clam me down, but it just wasn’t working: I came in the Mosque with my Sneakers, and I had wanted to leave with my same Sneakers. But, guess what happens next?

Check-out how merciful Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe is:

1. He bestowed mercy upon the one who took my footwear, so I would not have acted out of anger against a fellow Muslim, during Ramadhan of all times.

2. He touched the heart of a Muslim brother who volunteered to give me his own shoes.

3. He touched the heart of another Muslim brother who actually drove me to a sneaker-store & bought me a brand-new pair of Sneakers…cash, which ironically were fresher & cheaper than the sneakers that I had gotten taken from me at this Mosque…the Sneakers which were taken from me were the Nike Andre Agassis, in Dead-stock/Brand-New condition. But, then the brother had bought me a pair of Nike ACGs, also in Dead-Stock/Brand-New condition.

4. Most importantly: the person who took my Sneakers actually did me a favor, because along with my shoes being taken, then perhaps a portion of my Sins have also been taken from me, which will make it easier to meet Allah on the Day-of-Standing, because the less Sins that a person has on their back, the better for them, when it comes to being judged by Allah on the Day of Days…So, I still considered myself a Winner.

Gareth Bryant/2016

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When it comes to the Fashion-Scene: Fashion Avenue News sets the Streets of New York ablaze!!!

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I had the privilege of being able to attend a recent event hosted by Fashion Avenue News. And, let me tell you something, they know how to party & how to throw a party. Their fashion designers pulled some really great exhibitions, along with some great models, which melted the runway, with every step that they took on it. It was truly a marvelous experience, to say the least. I, myself, being an infant, having to grow-up really fast, within the Modeling-World, was very keen on the extent of professionalism at this event, as well as superior accommodations at a very swank hotel, right in Midtown, Manhattan. Also, the different types of connections that one can & does make at these types of events are among the key attractions & benefits of even coming to these types of events in the first place.

Events like this just scream exposure: there were high-class designers & fashion notables, there were in-house connects from places like the Mercedes Benz Fashion-Show, which holds annual shows during Fashion-Week in NYC, right within Bryant Park, which I was personally invited to attend, which is like super-duper awesome!!! Yeah!!! The whole night, I was linkin’ up with photographers, fellow models, notables, all sorts of personalities, to forge fashion-alliances, to start building something real for myself, my career. Fashion Avenue News is where it’s at, and they know how to bring people together, for all things fashion, to enjoy the releases of new styles & trends as well as introducing fresh modeling-talent & start-up clothing companies to the public-sphere. I feel that if I’m to be somebody in the Fashion-World, then, I definitely need to make Fashion Avenue News events among my top-priorities.

For more info. about Fashion Avenue News:

http://WWW.fashionavenuenews.com

Gareth Bryant/2014

INSHALLAH Clothing: It’s a Brand that takes a stand

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Author’s-Note:
We’re here with X.L. Lawrence, who commonly refers to himself as XL Abdullah, Founder & CEO of INSHALLAH CLOTHING, giving Islamic-Fashion an ever evolving definition, with all kinds of trendy, cool, looks, People of all walks of life can purchase & enjoy-He’s a Fashion-Designer, Humanitarian, and all-around great guy. I’ve decided to interview him, as to what makes him tick, from a fashion perspective & here’s what I’ve got for you.
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G.B.: How old were you when you decided that Fashion was your thing, that it was something which you really acquired a true passion for?

X.L.: I guess during High School when I visited a college adviser to help me figure out what schools I should look into. I know I always like art and clothing but never thought about fashion per say but after speaking with councilor realize how much I did like fashion. I always dressed a little different from the rest of my peers. I always liked taking items and making them my own.

 

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G.B.: As a Muslim, first and foremost, how important is Fashion, from an Islamic perspective, in your eyes?

 

X.L.: It’s very important. And important for a number of reasons. First here in America most have a stereotypes about what they think Muslims look like. LOL…Even some Muslims have set ideas about how they think Muslims should look like and dress. These ideas don’t make sense being just like Christians, Jews etc… Muslims are made up of every ethnicity, race, social classes etc… Yeah we have what is called Sunnah ( the ways of the prophet Mohammad -PBUH ) but every Muslim don’t follow every Sunnah. Some grow beards, some don’t. Some women cover their heads, some don’t. So why think everyone wears the same clothing. WE DON’T !!! With that being said, I design clothing that reflect young America. Clothing that reflect young American Muslims. Clothing that is relevant to all on some level.

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G.B.: When did you decide that making a clothing line was what you really wanted to do?
X.L.: Ironically, I’ve been in the footwear business for 15yrs and designed for a few different companies and brand and always said I wouldn’t design clothing. Too many people doing it or trying to do it. For me it was a turn off. LOL.. But after reverting to Islam Allah revealed a few things to me in a number of ways made me realize this is what he wanted me to do.
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G.B.: Who/what inspired you to actually get this clothing line started?
X.L.: My inspiration for INSHALLAH CLOTHING actually came from a place of empathy. One day I was on the subway when I saw a Hijabi sister sitting on the train with her down. A first I didn’t think much about it but after 10 minutes of her sitting there with her head down I began to wonder if there was something wrong. After 15mins I began to feel a sense of discomfort coming from her. I wonder why and began to check out her surroundings before I came to realize it was because people were looking at her in a negative way. I was hoping to make eye contact with her to let her know she had a brother there if needed but that opportunity never came.
This touched me and mad me sad. I began to say Allah I wish there was something I could have done to change that situation. The next morning after prayers I began to think about what I had saw on the subway and said to Allah again, I wish there was something I could have done to change that situation. Within second a idea for a tshirt came to me and I ran to my computer and start designing it. It said I LOVE NEW YORK with NEW YORK being in Arabic. Below in small letter said NEW YORK in English for those who may not know Arabic. I felt this tshirt would have spoken for the hijabi sister on the subway that day and made her feel a little more at ease. And INSHALLAH CLOTHING began.
INSHALLAH Clothing #1
G.B.: Why did you choose to name your clothing line “Inshallah”?
X.L.: I truly believe everything is Inshallah (If Allah willing) and want to give glory to Allah/God for everything that happens with this brand, good or bad.
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G.B.: What makes you stand-out among other Muslim clothing brands, both past & present?

X.L.: I believe our brand isn’t just for Muslims but for all people that believe in term or phrase INSHALLAH so our brand is more universal. Our brand is created with a more universal message and approach.

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G.B.: Every clothing brand wants to represent concepts, ideas, ideals, etc. So, with that being said, what do you want your brand to represent, what concepts, ideas, ideals, do you want people to take away from, while supportingInshallahClothing?
X.L.: That they are wearing and supporting a brand that stands for awareness, understanding, unity and peace.
A brand that give credit and glory to whom it belongs to. A brand that will change the world by changing its perspective on the things they may have never known before.
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G.B.: Do you want your brand to be pigeon-hold as a “Muslim-Brand” (exclusive to only Muslims), or do you want it to just be universally recognized as a brand (that anyone/everyone can enjoy)?
X.L.: I think I’ve answered that already.. LOL…
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G.B.: Do you think/believe or hope that Inshallah Clothing can/will be a driving-force to represent Islam in a more positive light, within the Fashion Industry, in the Public-Sphere, among Muslims, etc.?
X.L.: Yes, I truly do. And believe that’s why Allah/God gave me this vision.
G.B.: Okay, let’s talk just about you, as an individual, now: Since the recent event in your neighborhood, regarding the Man that you helped to identify for Police, who was a Sex-Offender, tell us, how does it feel to be a Real-Life Hero?

X.L.: My last name is Abdullah which means slave or servant of Allah/God. My act of helping is just a natural action of being a servant of Allah/God. So I’m no hero I’m just a Muslim (one who submits to Allah/God ) .

G.B.: There are, unfortunately, sadly, many ugly misconceptions, stereotypes about Islam & Muslims. But, when people like you prove all of those untruths wrong, how powerful, do you believe, is that impact, in the Public-Eye, to have them see Muslims whom are the exact opposite of the negativity which they are constantly bombarded with vie the Media?

X.L.: Some may stay stuck in their misconceptions and some will step back and reanalyze things. The more good that is displayed by us Muslims the more we have a chance to make people reanalyze what they think they know or  about us.

G.B.: As a Muslim, as a Father, how important is it for you to have play a positive role in making sure that Criminals, such as the person whom you had confronted, were & are always confronted by members of the Community?

X.L.: As a father I’m so glad I confronted the criminal as I did. Now I feel a little that my wife and daughter along with the rest of the community is a little safer.

G.B.: What would you like your legacy, as the founder of Inshallah Clothing, to be, or have you even thought that far ahead yet?
X.L.: To have been someone that created a brand that creates dialogue, creates unity, and in return changes the world and world of fashion.

For more information about him & his clothing-line, please, visit here:

http://www.inshallahclothing.com

The Evolution of my Confidence:

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Author’s-Note:
I’ve arrived at a beautiful realization, today, based upon a much-needed epiphany, decided by Divine-Providence, from Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe.

For every person who has ever told me that I wasn’t good enough for them, there have been thousands who would tell me they want me by their side…

…for every person who has ever said that I’m “too-dark”, there have been thousands who have said your skin is beautiful…

…for every negative comment about my beard, there have been thousands of positive comments about it…

…for every person who has mocked where I come from, there are thousands who wish to hear about how I became the person that I am, despite the challenges of my life-experiences…

…for every person who has discriminated against me for being a Black-Man in America, there are thousands of their children who want to walk, talk, dress, act, be just like me…

…for all of those haters out there who have slandered me, Allah, my Lord has shielded me against their lies, and protected me from their hands being the cause of my demise.

So, for all of you who can’t appreciate me, you’re the minority, and those who do appreciate me, greatly out number you.

Gareth Bryant/2014

A Commentary on the “Muslim Women are Cool Too” Video:

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Author’s-Note:
Allah states, within His Noble-Book: “Oh, Prophet!!! Tell your Wives, along with your Daughters & the Believing-Women, to cover themselves. That is to ensure that they are recognized publicly & not harassed. And, Allah is All-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.”.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.33, 59)

Since this “Somewhere in America Muslim Women Are Cool Too” video has went viral, basically, there has been a lot of buzz about it: good, bad, ugly & all sorts of in between. There are some whom have taken the video out of proportion from both the Conservative & Liberal camps within the Muslim-Community, anywhere/everywhere that this video has been viewed. So, what I’ve decided to do is simply ask someone,  whom is pretty much on the level socially, yet sincerely attempting to be an adherent Muslim, what are their potential concerns that this video may be projecting. I’ve decided to interview my brother Navroz Shariff, who I take to be a very balanced, well-rounded Muslims, to chime-in to personally examine this video & what image this video could possibly be sending to the public about Muslims generally, and also Muslim-Women. And, I know that a lot of People, Women (both Muslim & Non-Muslim alike) will take issue with Men speaking about the issue of “Hijab”, based upon a very ignorant misconception that (from both Men & Women: Muslim & Non-Muslim alike) that Islamic-Issues are monopolized by Genders, and/or that Hijab is only a Women’s-Issue…both are completely false (learn more about the reality of Hijab: http://www.garethbryant.wordpress.com/2011/11/24/theoriginofthehijabofthemanwomaninislam/).

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G.B.: So, what do you think about this phenomenon, known as Hijabi-Culture?

N.S.: The purpose of Hijab is to be inconspicuous, not to stand out, glowing with make up and various kinds of fashion-accessories. I am afraid that this video will make guys much more curious about our sisters in Islam who wear modest-clothing and it may even get to a point where they will be disrespected in the streets, because, guys will have the mentality that they can just approach them similar to any non practicing girl or any Non-Muslim for that matter. We know those who do not cover their `Awrat/Private-Parts, wear tight-clothing, and show their shape, love the attention they receive from guys. Unfortunately, this video is tarnishing the respect that girls who wear Hijab properly deserve, because, guys will start to get the impression that girls who wear Hijab are the same as girls who don’t and are just as approachable. Have you ever seen how non-Muslim men act towards our sisters who properly cover their `Awrat? They show so much respect to them. Ask any of the Hijab-wearing sisters how a woman is in front of them wearing a skimpy-outfit gets whistled at and harassed while when the modest sister passes the guys the all just quiet down. Ironically, the non-Muslim men here in America give our sisters more respect, compared to fellow Muslims in some/many Muslim-Countries. Our sisters in those countries get groped, harassed and even raped, even when they sincerely attempt to dress modestly.

G.B.: Well, honestly, many Muslim-Women who may choose to not dress properly, Islamically, or not cover their bodies to any extent, may say, “Even without ‘Hijab’, I’m still ‘Modest'”.  So, let me ask you: what is the (Islamic) definition of Modesty?

G.B.: You can’t have modesty without HIjab & vice versa: they define one another simultaneously Both Hijab & Modesty are (jointly) signs of purity and dignity; they highlight the Muslim-Woman as a pure, chaste, integral, woman and sets her apart from the immoral-behavior associated with women who dress/behave immodestly. It is an external-protection, for chaste Muslim-Women, against the evil that exists within the world. When a woman wears a Hijab she is less likely to be harassed by men, with lusty-motives, especially here in America. For our sisters who cover and wish to be inconspicuous, in my humble opinion, this video has just put them on the radar and Non-Muslim men will begin to think they are no different than women who don tight-jeans, mini-skirts, etc., who show their `Awrat. It is bad enough for some that men in some/many Muslim-Countries showing disrespect to our sisters, now the non-Muslim men will also do the same. May Allah protect our sisters, and in particular I am thinking of my lovely wife here, and guide us all. And, for the sisters that see this as a Hijab instructional-video (believe me some do), the perpetrators in the video will all be responsible for all the sisters they mislead when standing alone in front of Allah.

G.B.: Do you think that Muslims are trying too hard for socio-cultural/socio-political acceptance in Non-Muslim-Countries/Non-Islamic societies, at the expense of their religious-integrity?

N.S.: It seems that Muslims are desperately trying to be accepted even if it means that they have to sculpt their religion to gain acceptance. They heed more the creation than the Creator. What does this say about their emaan? It may very well be a test for them from Allah which they are failing miserably. Mu`awiyah wrote to `A’ishah (May Allah be pleased with them both), asking her to write him a letter giving him advice but not to make it lengthy. She wrote: ‘Peace be upon you! To proceed: I heard Allah’s Messenger (saws) say, “If anyone seeks Allah’s good pleasure at the cost of people’s displeasure Allah will keep from him the trouble caused by people; but if anyone seeks people’s good pleasure at the cost of Allah’s displeasure Allah will leave him in people’s hands.”

G.B.: Are you at all biased to their views on what direction Muslims should turn towards?

N.S.: If we were to stick to the Qur’an and Sunnah, then we would not be having this discussion. Is that what you mean by that question?

G.B.: Have you previously revealed your general-views regarding this new-wave of “Islamic-Identity?

N.S.: Yes, my views I tend to write in public; but, to verify that I am not biased, I ask others that they think about my opinion, discuss with them, look at it at other angles.

G.B.: How much opposition do you/have you received as a result of your views against your stances against this brand of “Islamic-Expression/Islamic-Identity”?

So far, none. But, there are many people who condone what the video shows, and the way it depicts Muslim-Women.

G.B.: If you could have a serious-conversation with either the producers of, and/or those depicted within this video, what would you say to them, and how would you say it; meaning how would you even approach the conversation?

N.S.: Honestly, it really depends: if the producers are not Muslim, then I would question the sisters…if they both are Muslims, I would question both of them and their agenda, especially with regards to the explicit lyrics and dress-style which are contrary to Islamic practice anyway…if they are just young, then I would question the elders in the video what were they thinking and that they should know better to guide their sisters.

G.B.: Are you fearful of fellow Muslims viewing you of being “backwards”, “too conservative”, “unrefined”, “too traditional”, etc.?

N.S.: I am only fearful of Allah. Islam is not about picking and choosing what you of Islam and compromise it.

Islam is not about picking and choosing what you like of the Deen and compromising.

Theological-Graffiti:

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Let’s have a conversation, about flaggin’ & taggin’.

Let’s talk about reppin’ sects, religious G-Mackin’.

We all wanna belong & be strong, wit a whole team behind us.

We choose between being Muslims, Jews and even Buddhists.

We also pick to conform as Christians, Mormons, Zoroastrians, Hindhus, and the like.

We all want someone to have our backs, to hold us down, to make sure we’re alright.

We use the minds & hearts of people, to write our ideas on.

We do it just make our marks on the World, right or wrong.

But, for every Theological-Tag is a consequence.

We may be guilty, in front of Allah, for nonsense.

We can’t always foresee the damage our taggin’ can actually cause.

If what we tag can’t be removed, it may well cause many to be lost.

So, the next time that you see a wall that you wanna tag, don’t rush to ruin.

There may not be any kind of paint that will erase what you’ve been doin’.

Gareth Bryant/2013

Mischka Velasco: A Fashion-Brand with a True insight to what Good-Fashion is:

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Author’s note:

In October, of 2013, I had my 1st professional photo-shoot done, with Mischka Valesco, a daring, hip, vibrant, fresh, fashion-company, committed to innovated ways of redefining what we deem fashionable, trendy,chic, cool, etc. I had went to one of their fashion showcases, during the ew York City’s Fall Fashion-Week. I was very impressed by their collection, and wanted immediately to do more work with them, hence this article, and, hopefully, with Allah’s help, more projects to come. Their designs, professionalism, positivity, ambition, and love for what they do truly compelled me to respect their brand, in very important ways. In addition to being able to shoot with them, I’ve also agreed to write an article, fr them, about them their company.

About Mischka Velasco, Founder, Mischka Velasco:
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Mischka Velasco. Born in Panama, lived in all over NYC including Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Beach NY, Seattle, Washington. Traveled to Asia and Europe. Studied in FIT but mostly self-educated in the reality of life. Driven by passion and the desire to create clothing that makes the wearer feel at home with themselves.

About Natascha Merchants VP Operations and Marketing, Mischka Velasco:
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Natascha left New York to attend business school at Northeastern University in Boston majoring in marketing and management and graduated magna cum laude. At Northeastern, she brought her New York style mixed with European, Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern influences of her youth. Upon graduation she moved to New York to pursue a career in marketing, sales and pr in the fashion industry. Natascha had other offers on Wall Street and in banking but anyone intelligent knows when to jump ship. Not only is Natascha a natural astute business woman; she is creative, beautiful, and is a humanitarian. She shows us that you can have fun and still make a difference while successfully running a fashion start-up.

G.B: What gave you the inspiration to even go into the Fashion-Realm?
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M.V.: Fashion was always part of my life without thinking like food, music, art, paintings, and music. Just another simple extension and reflection of humanity.

G.B.: What did you expect from the Fashion-World, which didn’t/hasn’t happened, or didn’t/hasn’t happened yet?
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M.V.: I did not expect anything really at all. I am 300% into it for the experience and adventure. Most of all to learn.

G.B.: What did you not expect from the Fashion-World, which has happened, or continues to happen?
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M.V.: I did not expect to meet different people from buyers, to tastemakers, to media to be so interested in what a small label in Soho would think. I did not expect so much love and encouragement from my community.

G.B.: What is your tell-tale vision, and reasoning for staying in this industry?
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M.V.: My vision is to ensure that my investors, customers, patrons, colleagues, suppliers, and sewing contractors are happy including me while building this business. I visualize that our fashion line will be part of the ever growing trend of locally created and sourced clothing who profit. Love to be across the street from Earnest Alexander and Vivienne Hu!! My reason to stay is to be one of the successful people who want to be of use to empower other people to reach make their dreams to come true.

G.B.: How cut-throat is the Fashion-World, from a Designer’s perspective?
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M.V.: The only reason for the fashion world to be cut-throat is the lack of understanding. When everyone is willing to work hard as a team and focus on the big picture, it is rather harmonious. When we have a weak link, we definitely can feel it. So is it cut-throat? It is what you make of it. The New York fashion industry can cut you some slack if they see you working your damn best. It’s not something you can say, they can feel it. So if you are lazy and self-entitled and complain a lot, New York fashion industry has no tolerance for that.

G.B.: How rewarding is the Fashion-World, from a Designer’s perspective?
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M.V.: Despite many sacrifices, and its never ending needs to ensure the health of a growing fashion line. And some nights I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.I tell myself it could be worst. I could be living peacefully without fashion and that sounds likes a living hell. In the grand scheme of things, dedicating my entire life 24-7 to fashion until my brain rattles at night, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. At the end of the day, when I see a customer loving themselves in what
we created, it is what makes it worth all the while.

G.B.: Where do you see your company, within the next 5-years?

M.V.: I see a company that is well built, where we refined some of its own signatures in style. Somehow we perfected the craft of creating an environment where people love to work. We are profitable and our local community benefits from the knowledge of a challenging industry. If you can figure out how to make money off of fashion. One can make money out of anything. We hope to be lenders of ideas and catalyst for empowerments for all sorts of entrepreneurial ideas.

G.B.: Do you envision your company, eventually, becoming as legendary as the classic brands the likes of Ralph Lauren, Donna Karen, Valentino, Prada, Versace, etc.?

M.V.: We have visions of leaving a legacy like so many passionate fashion designers. However, we have great hopes for our company to prove that one can be a human being first and still be a good business acumen as well. My visions are not of this earth. I feel I am on the path of the spiritual. A greater calling, I feel true greatness is how you treat yourself and others. How loving can you be to another human being when under pressure? How much you can help other people succeed and push people to be better than they imagined with some direction? How patient can you be?(Lol) I can be pretty damn patient. But I can get annoyed when I work with people who don’t care. I will give a few chances, but, fashion has no room for mediocrity. How much are you willing to give and receive? Most people who give have a hard time taking. People who take never want to give. I dream of that perfect harmony of giving and taking.

For more information on the Mischka Velasco clothing brand, please, visit them online @:

http://www.mischkavelasco.com

Also, check out their kickstarter @:

The Tattoo-Issue: An Islamic-Perspective

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This is a fairly controversial-subject, within the Muslim-World, historically as well as contemporarily, something that I had only found out recently, the issue of Tattooing: to do or not to do. Honestly, I, myself, early on, as a New-Muslim, had actually, seriously, considered & was prepared to get a  Tattoo. But, once I learned the general Islamic prohibition against it, I was very unsettled: I had wondered to myself why would something like a Tattoo be such a religious-issue. It has taken a considerable amount of time for me to actually come to the correct-conclusion about this issue, and the conclusion is fairly-simple: Tattoos are Mahrum/Haram (Prohibited/Unlawful). Now, there are a lot of people (both Muslims & Non-Muslims alike) whom will in fact take issue with this particular stance, regarding this issue, and that’s okay…I’ll explain why I chose to arrive at this conclusion, after considerable study, textually (via the Qur’an & Sunnah/Prophetic-Tradition).

Allah states, very clearly, within His Noble-Book, “There is no justifiable change for the creation of Allah.”(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.30, V.30). Now, this means that we are to be grateful for how Allah has fashioned our bodies, and to not attempt to make “improvements” or “adjustments”, based upon our selfish egos/desires. When you get a Tattoo, you’re basically stating that Allah didn’t complete you, that you know have to spend money, endure unnecessary-pain, etc., in order to gratify one’s self, instead of just being grateful for the way that Allah has already formed us.

Then, there’s also this: Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has stated that we are not to cause (unnecessary) Harm, either upon ourselves, nor upon others. And, also, Muhammad quotes Allah, as Allah has stated, “Oh, My Property/Servants!!! Verily, I’ve made Oppression prohibited upon Myself, as well as between you (the Creation). So, do not oppress one another (yourselves)!!!”.(an-Nawawi)

This Verse (from the Qur’an) & these Prophetic-Narrations show us that any type of Oppression (large or small), either to one’s own self, or to others, is completely (Islamically) prohibited. Because, the Islamic definition of Oppression is actually: to place something where it doesn’t belong, where it can damage, or cause Harm, and it’s Islamic wrong to harm people, unless Islamically justified, and there’s never any Islamically justified reason to harm one’s own self.(Lisan-ul-`Arab/The Language of the Arab: Lexicon of the Arabic-Language)

Let’s stay on-topic with the self-harm: When getting a Tattoo, what happens? Well, you get stuck with a needle-machine, for quite awhile, depending on how sophisticated the Tattoo in-question actually is: there’s significant, (unnecessary) pain/blood-loss, that one endures, for no Islamically sound, or universally-intelligent reason, at all. Then, there’s the (very-high) risks of getting infections, diseases (most common HIV, Hepatitis, etc.). You then have the ink of this Tattoo tainting your blood, which could, in the near/distant future, cause many (potential) health-complications, as a result of this ink inserted into the body.

Now, it’s obvious why people would have a problem with what I’ve thus mentioned, especially if they are among those whom profit from the Tattoo Industry: people like me are bad-for-business. And, also, for those whom may or may not even be Muslims, they would obviously have a problem with my statements, because they view it as a valid element of either individual, social, cultural, expression. But, let’s focus on the Muslims, for just a minute: who created us? Who sent-down/revealed Guidance to us, via Revelation, Textual-Scriptures? Who has the ultimate right to dictate to the Creation, Humanity, etc., what is right, wrong, proper, improper, etc.? Yeah, you’ve got it: Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe: it is He whom has [provided us with existence, life, family, Guidance, etc. And, likewise, it is He, alone, whom is worshipworthy & it is He, alone whom has the ultimate-right to dictate our beliefs, statements, actions, behavior, conduct, etc.

So, with that being said, regardless to whether you’re a Muslim or Non-Muslim, proponent or opponent (to Tattoos/Tattooing), Scholar or Layman: just, please, simply digest what I’ve mentioned, just for a few minutes or moments, then, if you really feel like I’ve not made my case concrete enough, then, you definitely have the full-option to ignore what I’ve presented. At the end, it is Allah whom will judge us all, according to His own standards & we all will be held accountable for what we’ve done & what we haven’t done, what we knew & what we didn’t know, what we adhered to & what we ignored…May Allah guide us all…Amen

GarethBryant/2013

My Fashion-Week/2013 in Pictures & Why my Love for Fashion matters:

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This year, I’ve decided to do something a lil’ different, referring to my many Fashion-Week exploits (…um, I mean adventures…HA HA HA…) via pictures that I’ve taken throughout the week of the Fashion-Week Fall/2013 extravaganza…And, there’s a lot of photos that I’ve taken…

Varsity Flow I

Photo-Shoot in Brooklyn: Photography by Aaron Mark

…The main reason why I’ve taken a sudden, some would dare say, an unusual,  non-conventional interest in Fashion, generally, is simply because, this is one of the main reasons why I was treated negatively, by so many other Muslims…

…Just to give you some background about myself: I’m Gareth Bryant, a 30-something, well-put-together, Muslim, of Afro-American descent, whom was at one point, in his life, a Salafi. In other words, I was a Saudi-Cheerleader (another post for another time to explain what that means). Anyway, according to the Salafi-Movement, the Salafis deem anyone/everyone whom doesn’t share their particular fashion-sense, based upon sectarian/culturally influenced standards is religiously off-the-mark…

Suit and Tie pic

Photo-Shoot in Manhattan: Photography by Alan Mildor

…And, there was even one time, when I was attending a Masjid/Mosque,  the Imam, at the time (by the name of Mustapha George), encouraged people to “boycott” me, as a result of not conforming with Arab-Dress, as the standard for Islamic-Dress, because I was wearing jeans, tees, dress-pants, shirt-and-ties, track-jackets, etc., I was considered & even called, by many, a “Deviant”, “Innovator”, “Heretic”, etc….

…So, instead of conforming, under-pressure, I fought back & enhanced my interest & love for fashion, despite the cruel antagonism of my peers, in this particular Muslim-Sect. And, this experiences encouraged me to look even deeper into the Islamic allowances of fashion elements. And, when I found all of the information that was necessary to fortify the validity of my fashion position, I was able to combat those whom deemed me a religious outcast, just because I wanted to be an individual…

Suit and Tie II pic

Fader & The GAP Opening Fashion-Week event: Photography by StudioBooth

…I’m actually very grateful to Allah, for testing me with these types of people. This trial of mine actually strengthened me in ways that I could’ve never perceived or imagined. It empowered me with the integrity to be different, and not just different -but that being different is okay. Allah didn’t create us to be the exact same people, or to eat the same foods, wear the same clothes,  or to enjoy watching the same sports, etc. Rather, he simply created us to use our minds, to come to the conclusion that He created all which exists & that He is the only one whom is worshipworthy…

501 Union V

501 Union Brooklyn Magazine Launch-Party: Phtography by WeLovePhotobooths

…Now, with all of this being said…Fashion is awesome, and it is my hope to make an even greater presence of Muslims, particularly Muslim-Men, within the Fashion World, because there is a very derogatory stereotype, among Muslims that Muslims cannot thrive in the Fashion-World, unless they’re Homosexual. Yes, it’s a very lame stereotype. Unfortunately, one that is very dominant within the Muslim-World, especially within Muslim communities in the West.

My take on Fashion, and any other secular arts, is this: We, as Muslims, for the past 5-centuries, have been told to conform to the artistic, fashion, standards of others, without any say of our very own. Now, is our chance, to reclaim rightful ownership over how we express ourselves, as Muslims, via art, fashion, etc. And, as long as we stay true to our Islamic principles, with whatever we do in any industry (whether it be Fashion, Finance, etc.), we owe it to Allah, the Creator of the Universe, to define ourselves for ourselves.

Gareth Bryant/2013

My Poetic Anatomy: My 1st Published-Work:

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My Poetic Anatomy pic

Salam/What-Up?!!!

My 1st, of many hopeful publications, with Ampli-Pages, is scheduled to drop in April of this year. Please, like this page, to stay tuned to updates as to how to get info. about my publications. This, my 1st, official, publication, will be titled, “My Poetic Anatomy”.

#GoCopDat

Here’s my facebook page, for those of you on facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/GarethBryantOfficial

Gareth Bryant/2013