The world can wait - a plea from young creatives. 

Words by Mariyah Zaman

Feb. 26, 2021

Suited and tailored to lead, they are dark-skinned, they are head-covered, they are striding, they are swaying, they are spitting bars, running laps, making covers, shooting hoops, setting trends, writing scripts and are here to stay, no longer at the back. It doesn’t matter what state the world is in, these young creatives are determined to make their mark, with a plea that nothing should come in between you and your success – especially as children of immigrants. 

 

“A lot of people say, I’m going to wait on this, I’m going to wait on that but I say – jump two feet first, don’t be scared.” 22-year old, Mohamed says. 

 

Dressed in a yellow sweater-vest and to his right in a lilac suit, Mohamed and 23-year-old Akeem from London laughed whilst relating typical aspirations immigrant parents had for them to be doctors or follow a more traditional career route.

 

“I feel like instead of being adventurous and taking the craziest risks, they’d rather say – here’s the plan and you will get success by doing this instead, but sometimes plans change init,” Mohamed says when asked how his parents felt about his decisions of pursuing fashion modeling and podcasting. 

 

In agreement, Akeem nodded, “The world changes, and the world is changing everyday,” 

“you’ve just got to adapt with it” Mohammad says. 

“100 percent,” Akeem agrees. 

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27-year-old Jaffrin from Cardiff shared her aspirations of getting published as a poet and taking her visual arts to the next level in opening a studio and getting commissioned for displays. Describing her work as “self-indulgent”, she isn’t afraid to address taboos within the South-Asian community and themes around relationships. 

 

“My work in general has that strong tie of relatability that we’re all a lot more similar than we think in a world that separates us so much…there’s so much to us and that is what I want my work to say.” Jaffrin says.  

 

Despite some challenges Jaffrin has faced as a British Bangladeshi finding the balance to express authentically as an artist whilst managing the weight of the eyes of her community, she talks about how inspiring Bangladeshi culture has been for her work; 

 

“I really take inspiration from nature with my visual stuff and having said that; Bangladesh is a place that is known for it. My dad used to love drawing scenic pictures and I grew up in an environment seeing carvings and having Bangladeshi food – I noticed how much more detailed and well-crafted things back home were. There was always so much more craftsmanship and more to appreciate, even down to my village known for its tea gardens and 10-layered teas. The basic things people do in village-life has so much love, that it makes me want to share it with the world.” Jaffrin exclaims. 

Jaffrin comes from a line of creatives, where exploring different art forms is nothing new.

“My Nan makes prayer mats for people and it’s so normal for her but I find it so dope. Even poetry in the culture is very encouraged and normal because our language is so emotive. Bengali has a lot of breadth and depth that I find English doesn’t have, which has been really influential in my poetry.” Jaffrin says. 

 

Listening to Jaffrin, talk about her inspirations whilst sat on the other side of the screen locked up in isolation is a beautiful juxtaposition and testament to the mindset of seizing time in limbo to grow artistically. 

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Hustling hard as she turned on her camera, 24-year-old Joy; stylist, blogger and fashion designer from London was sat in front of her sewing machine surrounded by fabrics whilst multi-tasking this interview.

 

“I haven’t even launched the first brand but this is like a sister brand to my main brand in being a new up-cycling and tailoring brand. It started by making one piece for myself which I posted on Instagram, because I was doing a promotion for a shoe company so thought ‘may as well style it with this’ and then I got a really good response for my actual suit and I thought ‘ooo, okay – little business idea’, and now I’m sewing like crazy for these past two weeks!” Joy exclaims. 

 

For Joy, with the extra time lockdown had given her combined with the space she’d created on Instagram through fashion blogging and styling – her goal of making couture fashion “less out of reach” through her ability to design garments herself seemed that much more attainable. 

 

“Luxury should be reachable, I want fashion to be enjoyable and sometimes the fun is sucked out of it” Joy says. 

Social media has played a massive role for Joy, “I feel like the amount of positives out-weigh the negatives, but the negatives can feel so heavy that it’s hard not to ignore them.”

 

Whilst she admitted the ugly side to social media in having a toll on mental health, the ability to interact with so many people around the world especially with travel being so limited at the moment pushed her to gain a new kind of confidence.

 

“I would not have started this second brand without people messaging me on Instagram expressing their love for not only what I style but also what I design and make myself. Now, when I’m doing things they are who I market to, so whether it’s the colours of suits I’m about to make - I will do a poll on Instagram first before I buy the suits asking which they prefer,” Joy says. 

 

Had it not been for social media, this interview would never have happened. “I just find it insane. I’m in London, she’s in Cardiff – there is no way in this world that our paths would have crossed had Asma not messaged me on social media.” Joy reflects. 

Article from Issue 2 of Al Naaem 
Read More Here

Photography Sally Nguyen 

 

Styling & Creative directors

Asma Elmi & Haida Hamidi 

Words by Mariyah Zaman