Best places to get good Islamic fashion and, in contrast, pole gear.

Like many other exotic dancers, I have what I refer to as a “me” or “daytime” wardrobe and a “stripper” one. Both need topping up occasionally, but from entirely different sources. I thought I would share some of my favorites for each with you.

 

 

Modest Islamic Fashion:

Ugaasadda Clothing

A new online shop created by fellow Somali blogger Ugaasadda. Her business is based in Canada and so offers good shipping rates to those who live there and in the USA. While that doesn’t apply to me, the shipping is decently priced for other countries. She has a beautiful selection of hijabs which are constantly changing in colour as they quickly go out of stock ans new colours are made. A personal favourite of mine is the Nectarine Crepe, pictured below. She also has several dresses and shirts which look fantastically stylish.

 

Kabayare Fashion

This is another North American Somali clothing  online shop. As their business has had more time to grow than Ugaasadda’s, they have a much larger selection which contains both Somali tradtional clothing, such as dirac and baati, and generally modest items. All of which are very styish.

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Nashata

Fancy going to the gym or out for a run, but concerned about your modesty? If that’s the case you can find sports hijabs in an abundance of colours as well as other modest, yet stylish gear. Just head on over to fellow blogger Fit Muslim Girl’s shop, who sells this brand on the side. I’m yet to buy from her, but I like the styles of her clothing and they all sound incredibly comfortable to work out in.

 

 

Pole Dancer Shoes & Clothing:

 

Mika Yogawear

For thoes of you who are into pole dancing soley for sport and would rather wear sporty pole outfits, Mika Yogawear has plenty of designs to chose from.  Their outfits focus on allowing one to dance on the pole effectively and comfortable rather than looking overly sexy.

 

Pleaser Shoes

Pleaser, as a brand, has to have the largest collection of pole dancing shoes available. They have a vast collection of shoes which contains platforms with heels between 5 1/2″ and 10″. Personally, I have no idea how anyone can manage to walk around, let alone pole dance in 10″ heels!! The red shoes below are 10″, for those of you who are curious. Some have a simple design while others are incredibly bold and interesting. The downside to ordering directly from the site is that you can only view prices after signing up for an account. Depending on where you live, it may also be easier to try a local store which can order in the pair that you like.

 

Banana Shoes

A fantastic place to get club shoes and outfits in the UK is Banana Shoes. They sell a range of brands, including Pleaser, Ellie Shoes and more. Since they are UK based, dancers in the UK and Europe will find better deals on shipping than they would on any US based sites, which should go without saying. An interesting thing I noticed they have that I’ve seen nowhere else are ballet heels, which keep the toes en point. They look intriguing, but excruciatingly painful.

 

 

Both:

eBay

Of course, there are many independent shops on eBay where both modest and overly sexy clothing can be found. Many come from shops in China and are very cheap to buy. You can’t always relay on the quality of these products, but if you wish to experiment with new looks without taking too much of a plunge financially, I recommend finding a few cheaply made versions first.

Learning to Pole with Dignity (not)

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(Nicked from Leen Isabel)

 

Having attended quite a few pole fitness classes before I decided to give stripping a try, I thought that the pole dancing part would be the least of my worries. As you can imagine, I wasn’t entirely right about this.

Having mastered climbing, a few basic spins and some other moves in class, plus with the years of ballet training on the side, I felt ready to rock the pole. The part I was most worried about was having an audience for the first time. That and finding customers and being able to carry out any private dances. I had never been naked in front of any bloke before other than my brother and cousins when we were all little. having said that, I was even more nervous of dancing on stage in front of the other dancers or “pros” as I thought of them.

This one Romanian girl who calls herself Vanessa always looked fantastic on the pole. She didn’t usually do any complex movements unless there was someone to impress. She just danced around it gracefully, giving any customers who were watching seductive glances. Whatever she was doing, it worked well and she would nearly always get a private dance afterwards.

I had told the other girls that I had experience in ballet, but kept the pole fitness classes to myself. Looking back, I am VERY glad that I didn’t. On my third night, the manager thought it was time that I learnt the basics on the pole so that I could then fulfill my duty of appearing stage at least once every night. Much to my delight, he asked Vanessa to show me the ropes. She smiled and lead me over to the stage on the far side. She seemed friendly enough.

I watched as Vanessa effortlessly glided around the pole, swaying gracefully and throwing seductive glances to the imaginary audience below the stage, just as she normally did. “Now you try.” She said, backing away and eyeing me expectantly. Oh boy. Here I go. I took a step forward and gingerly put a hand on the pole. I had always done pole in bare feet or trainers before, not these huge platforms!

“Well, go on!” Vanessa didn’t seem to be the patient type. Just what I needed on my first go. I tried to picture how she had moved around the pole a few seconds before and attempted to re enact her movements. Griping the pole with both hands, I took a swing. The pole didn’t slide under my palms as I had imagined and I tripped over my feet, crashing to the stage floor. My hands felt uncomfortable with something icky coated onto them. i realise now that they use wax as a pole lubricant, which I was not at all used to.

“Is alright, try one more time.” Her thick Romanian accent came from the corner. I didn’t really fancy doing it a second time in front of her, but of course I did. This time I managed to spin slightly further before getting stuck. I hated wax!

“Watch me again.” Vanessa grabbed the pole from me and did her majestic, yet simplistic spin once more. It looked so incredibly easy when she did it. It wasn’t as if I was a completely graceless person either, I could do ballet just fine! Just goes to show ballet training isn’t entirely transferable to pole dancing. I’d better learn quick. Again, I attempted the basic spin that Vanessa had now shown me multiple times. This time I fell backwards.

At this, Vanessa snatched up her bag, turned to me and said “When you want to learn properly, I can show you. But now, you don’t waste my time!” and stormed off towards the large leather sofas to sulk. Clearly, she thought I was simply taking the piss. I cringed internally. Perhaps it was better for her to think that than realise that I was just simply doing a shit job. Oh well, YouTube can be my teacher. YouTube has all the patience in the world, mashallah, and oh boy that’s what I needed.

John Oliver explains why religion shouldn’t be used to discriminate

I realise that what John Oliver says in this 14 minute clip is entirely U.S. based, but it is bloody hilarious and all so true. The man could easily make a career in comedy.

 

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It really is impressive how much progress the USA has made in the last few years. Only back in 2013 there was no legal way to bring in your same sex spouse into the country and give them a green card, not even with a civil partnership. For such a “modern” country, that truly is a disgrace. Luckily this was fixed back in 2014, but still. Rather late in the game if you ask me. Even though same sex couples could not marry in the Scotland, Wales and England until about the same time, at least they were still allowed to bring in their civil partners from across the globe! Sadly, I do not see Somalia, Saudi Arabia or many other countries in that general area of the globe to follow suit. While I like that the people are keen to follow the Qur’an, religious law is not something that any government should enforce. That is something personal between someone and Allah (or whatever faith they belong to).

I painfully admit that it was not all that long ago (early high school years) that I was a bit of an a-hole when it came to accepting gays and lesbians for who they are. Back then it was something I was convinced was a choice and not a part of who someone is, but I have adjusted my attitude since. I might go more into this in a later post when I have more time to explain, in fact I probably will. Ironically, it was the fact that I’m not entirely straight myself, which was the reason why I used to believe it was simply a choice.

However, I would like to add that this was my attitude towards homosexuality and such, not the people who are gay/lesbians themselves. Much in the same way that I have nothing against prostitutes. Their behaviour is considered “sexually deviant” according to many religions and cultures, but they don’t harm anyone and it certainly does not make someone a bad person. Also, I really have no room to judge anyone for sexual deviancy now that I’m a stripper. That would be both preposterous and judgmental beyond belief.

Anyway, if you fancy a good laugh I highly recommend giving John’s clip a watch.

 

The host of Last Week Tonight tears into people who use their religious beliefs to refuse services to LGBTQ people.

Source: John Oliver explains why religion shouldn’t be used to discriminate

My Dear Anushka, the Stripper

 

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It was a while before I finally found out that Anushka had been stripping. She had probably been at it for a good month or two before I caught her out, which is impressive since we live in a small flat together and have relatively little privacy.

One afternoon we were expecting a group of friends around for supper. I had finished making lamb curry (microwaved from Tesco’s) plus some fluffy rice and angero (not from Tesco’s), so I was focusing on looking presentable before everyone came over. Anushka was still in the kitchen working on her kapsa (Saudi chicken and rice).

I asked her if I could borrow a scarf of hers I liked. “Sure,” she said “It’s in my wardrobe somewhere. Go have a look and if you can’t find it I’ll help you.” So I went to her room to search for it. Now, it’s rarely easy to find anything in Anushka’s room. She is great at keeping the rest of the flat clean, but her room invariable looks as though it has been hit by a hurricane. Simply walking over to the other side, a mere four meters or so, can be extremely hazardous. It was tidy once, but this was long before she had moved in. Nevertheless, I made it over to her wardrobe without breaking anything. With difficulty, I manage to open her wardrobe doors and an avalanche of shoes come flying out. Anushka really is a shoe queen. I swear, she must have at least fifty pairs of shoes in there, which is incredible as it is such a tiny box-sized thing.

I find the scarf, the green McQueen, on the top of a pile towards the left side and put it on. Not bad, I thought to myself. Only the scarf’s skull design, it did give me a slight “Somali Pirate” look. I then gazed at Anushka’s massive shoe collection in chaotic pile at the bottom of the wardrobe. She has so many wonderful shoes. If we were the same size, I would borrow them whenever possible. At the top of the pile I could see a fair few impressive labels. It was too tempting not to have a quick rummage while I had the chance.

I dug in and began to explore. A pale pink Miu Miu mule sat at the top. An understated, yet sleek black kitten heel by Prada. A brightly coloured ballet pump decorated with cherry blossom by Mary Katrantzou. Many red soled Louboutins. How did she ever manage to find pairs? No wonder she was always running late! Then, my fingers wrapped around what looked like a clear plastic stripper shoe. Huh, she must have bought this to take to pole class. That’ll be interesting to see, I thought. She’s only danced in flats and bare feet before. Now I really wanted to fit in her shoes. Curse my big feet! I went rummaging again to see if I could at least find its partner. I didn’t find the pair to the clear stripper heel, but what I did find was even more interesting.

It was a giant stripper shoe with a platform decorated with a pattern of pound notes, Euros and Dollar bills, plus some I didn’t recognise. Then I looked closer and saw that it wasn’t just a pattern. The platform was stuffed full cash! And there was a wee slit on the side with Tips in big golden letters. What had I just found? The heel had to be a good eight inches tall! I was fairly dumbstruck for a minute before deciding that there was probably a very ordinary explanation. Anushka hoarded all kinds of one-of-a-kind shoes in her collection. Mind you, I suppose being a stripper was indeed a fairly ordinary explanation looking back.

I decided to question her quickly before our guests came. “Hey, Anushka! Are you sure the scarf looks alright?”

“Come here and show me then!” Drat, I had forgotten she would still be cooking. I could hear the voice of our other flatmate, so didn’t dare take the show out to her.

“Please? It will only take a minute. And I’m trapped in your maze of a room.”

She gave a heavy sigh. “Really? Fine I’m coming. If my rice burns it’s your fault.” As soon as she popped in, I practically shoved the shoe in her face.

“What is this?!” I said waving it around like a loony.

Anushka’s facial expression froze for a few seconds before she collected herself. “You found them! That’s where I keep my cash stashed for emergencies. I haven’t been able to find it in ages! Thanks!”

“You’re telling me you use stripper shoes as some kind of piggy bank? Huh.” I was a bit crestfallen then. That actually made sense. But wait a minute… “So you keep like seven different currencies in here just in case?”

“Leftover money from holidays and stuff. Yeah.”

Drat. That checked out too. But hang on… “Okay, okay. Yeah, I see the leftover Euros from Spain in there. And the Austrailian Dollars from that trip you were talking about. But what about the Hong Kong Dollars? You’ve never been there.”

My aunt gave those to me because they look cool.” She told me coolly.

“Your aunt just gave you three $1,000 bills as a keepsake? I know your family has money and all, but come on! That’s like, 90 quid each! And three 1,000 bills look exactly the same.”

And then she crumbled. She closed the door hastily and hissed at me. “Okay, fine. But you must swear what I tell you must not leave this room.”

“I knew it!” I hissed back. “Why Annie, why?!” I was both shocked and fascinated. Shocked that Anushka had hidden something like this from me and that, well, it was Anushka doing something like this. Had it been one of my non-Muslim friends, I would probably still have been shocked, but not like this. I was also fasinated about the whole thing. What did she get into it? Why did she do it? It certainly wasn’t for the money. What was it like?

I bombarded her with questions until the smoke alarm went off.