Somali Design Influence Shows Up In The Global Bridal Business
Shukri Hashi is the founder and CEO of Shukri Hashi Bridal, a company that is differentiating itself in the massive international bridal business with wedding dresses that combine traditional Somali touches and modern Western styles.
Launched in 2014, Shukri Hashi Bridal is based in London.
The global wedding market is a $300 billion industry, according to Huffington Post. More than 500,000 businesses make up this industry worldwide. No matter what part of the world a women is from, her wedding day is often the biggest day of her life, and the one that most money is spent on.
Of Somali heritage, Hashi was born in Kenya and has lived in London since she was 8 years old. She continues to be based in London and through her bridal designs, Hashi gives a nod to her Somali heritage.
She combines the traditional bridal Somali print known as iyo Dhaqan with modern Western styles on fabrics such as satin, tulle and chiffon.
Hashi spoke to AFKInsider about her dreams of growing her business and getting recognition from the women who inspire her wedding dress designs.
AFKInsider.com: When did you get into designing?
Shukri Hashi: I studied fashion and have a degree in fashion. This business was an idea that I had for a while. I decided to start the business two years ago.
AFKInsider.com: When did you realize you wanted to make a career in fashion?
Shukri Hashi: From the time I was a young girl and I would make little dresses for my dolls. I went on to study fashion and create this brand. I knew absolutely I wanted to be in fashion.
AFKInsider.com: The bridal industry is highly competitive. How are your bridal designs different than others on the market?
Shukri Hashi: The print I use is a traditional print on a long piece of fabric that is used as a wrap for brides at Somali weddings. Modern brides still use it but get it sewn into dresses. This was where my idea stemmed from. So I wanted get the print on different fabrics like satin, tulle, and chiffon and make bridal style dresses with the full bridal feel. I wanted to give the modern Somali bride the best of both worlds, giving the bride the traditional print on modern beautiful wedding gowns. I love bridal wear and that was my favorite sector in fashion.
AFKInsider.com: Are your gowns sold in Somalia?
Shukri Hashi: I currently operate from London however I ship dresses around the world including Somalia.
AFKInsider.com: How do you market your fashions?
Shukri Hashi: I am advertising on Somali TV; also my social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.
AFKInsider.com: Where can your products be brought?
Shukri Hashi: Initial contact is made via website, phone, social media, or email. Then I will take details such as size, wedding date, and dress and take it from there. If I have the dress and size I will ship straight away or it will be made. It takes up to three months.
AFKInsider.com: Do you travel back to Somalia?
Shukri Hashi: Actually I have never been however I hope to go this year.
AFKInsider: Do you feel as if you inspire other African businesswomen?
Shukri Hashi: I hope so and I do get emails from people who tell me that I inspire them which is always humbling.
AFKInsider.com: What have been some obstacles in starting and growing your business?
Shukri Hashi: I work full time as well as running this business so this makes my time very precious and makes me a very busy woman. I am still learning and growing. It’s a huge learning curve. Having said that, it’s a very rewarding one.
AFKInsider.com: What are your long-term goals?
I learned about Somalian culture because I was brought up around it and I got my inspiration from going to Somali weddings.
The core aim of my brand is to give Somali girls something traditional yet modern on their wedding day.
I dare to dream…hopefully to at least have every Somali bride wearing one of my creations.