Iraqi-based influencer Shahd Al Jumaily is more than just a pretty face. Not that we’d expect anything less from Marks & Spencer, which chose her to showcase its new Ramadan collection exclusively for Grazia.
Founded in 1884, the British heritage brand prides itself in doing things with as much substance as style, meaning that Shahd – with her businesswoman savvy and background in architecture – was the perfect choice.
“I did civil engineering for two years,” she tells Grazia matter-of-factly on set in the historical district of Al Bastakiya. “But I wanted something more creative, as that was very much about physics and maths. Architecture is far more artistic and allowed me to learn so many skills that I translated to launch my fashion line. That’s on hold at the moment, but I still do freelance architectural projects in Iraq, and I run a wedding-planning service called The ArchiTales – the architecture of fairy tales!” she explains with a big smile.
You could be forgiven for thinking she’s living somewhat of a fairy-tale existence herself – smart, successful, stylish… “I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed with fashion but I’m good at dressing for the occasion,” Shahd clarifies. “I feel my followers relate to me because my style is accessible; it’s everyday. It’s not runway pieces, necessarily, more how to pull together affordable pieces to create a great overall look. I try to keep it more real for the people that follow me.”
And what are her tips for said followers on how to dress for the Holy Month? “I’m more considered in my outfits for Ramadan, and choose comfortable, flowy dresses in light, cool fabrics which I’ve found a lot of in Marks & Spencer’s collection. There’s a lot of innovation in its fabrics. I’ll be wearing bright colours to suhoors like this long, jewel-tone dress [pictured above], but there’s lots of pieces that you can mix and match the rest of the time too. There’s a floral jacket I’d wear over a long gown for Ramadan but then with jeans and a T-shirt the rest of the time.”
Until then, what are her plans over the Holy Month? “For me, Ramadan is time for family. It’s a break from work and all the craziness that’s happening, where you can just relax and reflect, look back at what you’ve done throughout the year and make some positive changes.”
Photos: Richard Hall