FASHION UNSTITCHED: Ikram Zein- Modesty Reinvented

In fashion we tend to mostly focus on garments and brands as one. But when we talk about designers along with the brand, it makes it so much more relatable, or personable. And when it’s a brand created by a young woman designer who creates to fill a need for women- well I’m so on board about learning more about it all! Which brings me to today’s focus: Ikram Zein, designer and founder of the Lyra brand.

Ikram Zein on the left- London Modest Fashion Week 2016 Photo

The story behind the brand all stems from Ikram. She always loved swimming to keep herself fit and healthy but was finding it quite a challenge to find the right swimwear that reflected her modesty and values. Being of the Muslim faith, staying covered is an integral part of how she styles her looks. And more precisely, there was a real need for proper attire suited for outdoor activity, leisure, and sports as well.

In 2016 Ikram fulfilled that need by creating her own brand: Lyra. This is athleisure/ sportswear that aligns with values, comfort and performance; while remaining fashionable and upbeat. Don’t be fooled in thinking this line is for only one particular niche of women though. Yes, its predominantly filling the modern Muslim woman’s need for up and coming fashionable sportswear- but it’s also inclusive to all women.

Modesty is a big topic and it’s relatable to so many women. Whether we choose to show more or less skin is our choice. Faith is a good reason, but it’s not necessarily the only one for modesty. Especially when it comes to bathing suits. Whether we choose to show less rather than more falls under a fluctuating spectrum. There are a multitude of reasons, and they are our own.

For instance, I know of several women who opt for a total body suit when swimming in the Florida ocean. As a stylist, I’ve been told on the repeat how afraid they’ve become of UV rays and prefer whole body coverage, and all they could find is scuba-diving wear. If you’ve ever worn one, you’ll agree that it’s not the most comfortable when you don’t need all that performance to just enjoy swimming. Lyra now offers a solution for this as well.

Full body-coverage is not all you will find though. Separates, as well as tanks and leggings, to name a few, are also part of this collection- as are gorgeous Kaftans, low rise wrap-around pants… What impresses me most is the sustainability aspect of the brand. Ikram has ensured that Lyra is ethical from beginning to end- from choosing the material all the way to how workers are properly remunerated. This is a young, fresh take on how we operate in fashion. We need more of this!

Lastly, but super cool- Ikram has started the LyraSwim Campaign. It supports all women to stay fit. Here’s an excerpt from the website: Research by Sport England discovered that 75 per cent of women say they want to be more active, prohibited primarily from “fear of judgement – on appearance, ability or how they chose to spend time on themselves”. These findings were the driving force behind our ‘LYRASwim’ campaign, which aims to inspire women and abolish the unnecessary anxiety and apprehension some feel when it comes to swimming. The ‘LyraSwims’ campaign doesn’t hold back in trying to encourage women to beat these barriers.” Along with this, Lyra is a supporter of #ThisGirlCan Campaign,  to help increase young girls participation rates in swimming. 

Ethical, fashionable, functional and inspiring- with women in mind! Be on the lookout for this young creative entrepreneur/designer. Ikram Zein and her Lyra brand.

I’m curious to know what your thoughts are when it comes to bathing suits and modesty.

Fashion Unstitched is a series where I take you through bits of fashion history, fibres and textiles, guest interviews, industry talk, fashion events, sustainability, museums, reviews…If it’s fashionable- I’m covering it!! Suggestions, and collaborations are welcome. Send me an email. Thanks for reading.

2 thoughts on “FASHION UNSTITCHED: Ikram Zein- Modesty Reinvented

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    1. Thanks Jodie! I really find this designer on the ball here – bringing in a modern approach while respecting modesty. And there are so many different types of apparel to fit different sports and leisure.

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