IMFW & Shea Bates – An Inside Look

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As many of you know, International Muslimah Fashion Week was canceled abruptly after many people traveled from around the world to attend. There have been allegations that Shea Bates, the organizer of IMFW, intentionally created the event to scam people out of their money, some say to assist with her son’s, who has leukemia, growing medical bills.

Being a Muslim fashion designer, and co-owner of a fashion related business (Ma’ti Designs), I know how difficult it is to create credibility in this competitive industry. One mistake could ruin your reputation forever! Shea Bates may have done just that. Many are furious about the way she handled IMFW, the fact that it was canceled without prior notice led people to believe, it was never meant to take place.

Shortly after the commotion died down, I had a very unsettling feeling come over me. I made a post on FB about the show being canceled. I personally didn’t understand why she would cancel it, and I didn’t want to take anyone else’s explanation, or believe the rumors that it was a scam.
I decided to contact her myself, to give her the opportunity to tell her side of the story.

Our conversation was quite lengthy, so some statements have been paraphrased , while others containing ” ” are her exact words.

Paying for her son Samir’s medical expenses was never the purpose behind IMFW, says Shea, ” We’ve been planning this event since April, somehow the planning is getting wrapped up in Samir being sick. I wanted to be able to separate the facts. I’ve never asked anyone for a dime for Samir.” She also stated that many questioned why she chose Hershey, PA as the event location. In response to that she says, “we’ve been planning IFMW along side of the fact that he’s been sick. We chose the venue because it was across the street from his hospital.”

A lot of people were under the impression that Shea pulled the plug on IMFW, that she made a decision to cancel it based on a lack of support. She says in actuality, she had a contract with the Hershey Lodge for the event, which meant she had to pay a certain amount up front in order to have it. She said, “where we failed is because I didn’t have the numbers two weeks ago, and I didn’t have the numbers a month go.” She says she and her staff were making Dua that they got the ticket sales needed in order to proceed with the show. “People have no idea what the power of Dua is, if it’s not for you, it’s not for you;” “we make Dua before we pray, before we drive, so for me Dua is extremety important, you make Istikhara and Dua with your heart and soul, and anything can happen!”

She felt that they had come so far, and that it was worth it to her to see it through. By February the ticket sales had reached 5-15 tickets per day, “this consistent movement led us to believe that we could get where we needed to go.”
Unfortunately the amount of money that was needed before the deadline was not made, therefore the hotel, not Shea, cancelled the event.
In an effort to clarify exactly where the breakdown was, she went into great detail about the numbers, how there was over 170 rooms booked at the Hershey Lodge, and at least 36 at the Best Western, which meant there were people committed to coming, those people had yet to purchase tickets, so there was almost a guarantee that at least those individuals would contribute to the current ticket sales.
I asked Shea, why she felt the event wasn’t a success, her response was “I bit off more than I could chew,” she also added “the intention was there, the contract was signed, we just couldn’t fulfill the contract, why can’t people just say that.”
There are those who read that Shea stated there wasn’t community support behind the show, she said they were offended at that statement, but it is a fact!” “I need someone to say, listen we need to genuinely support each other, there are thousands of people now in on this slander, all over the world, if we would have took the same amount of energy in promoting and moving forward with IMFW, then it would have happened, the reason why it didn’t happen was because of lack of money. We had everything in place, we were not using Muslim models, we had professional producers, we had thirty-two people from the media coming, and listen out of the thirty-two, twenty-seven of them were non- Muslim, webcasts, you could watch it from home, halal meat, lighting, we had 3600 rsvps, and if we had 200 rsvps then I would have cancelled.” In addition, and quite passionately she stated that her dream behind the event was genuine, but they didn’t have the ticket holders.

A few key points she made:
The “fake accent” – She said she recorded an ad for IMFW and used an accent to give an international feel, to get people excited. She said she looked at it like acting, not to deceive people into believing it was someone with an accent recording it.
The mugshot – She said she was never convicted of a crime, it was pre-Islam and she is married now, so the fact that people shared a picture of her uncovered is very disturbing and hurtful.
The hotel room fiasco – People were displaced because of the event cancellation, the hotel offered to honor the event rate for anyone who needed/wanted to remain in the hotel until they were able to return home.
Why she didn’t post anything online sooner about the event cancellation details – Because she was attending to the people who came to the event, she individually answered their questions and concerns, so it was difficult for her to also respond to those online. She was eventually escorted out the back door by the hotel staff, and the local police, for her and her families safety, due to how upset many people were with the cancellation.
The “scam” and the hotel not knowing there was an event- She said she didn’t make a profit off of the ticket sales, there was no liquid money. She directed everyone who bought tickets online to request a refund through paypal. Paypal gives refunds within 45 days of your purchase. There was a scheduled event that the hotel knew about, so it is not true that the event was never planned to happen. Note: I contacted the hotel to verify that there was an event planned by Shea Bates, below is the response I received from the PR rep. of Hershey Lodge.
Two-faced behavior- Shea stated that there are certain ladies who have had nothing negative to say about her prior to the cancellation of IMFW. One sister she mentioned, whose name I will not reveal in an effort to prevent fitnah, is the owner of an influential blog. She said the sister wrote positively about Philly Fashion Week previously on her blog (the blog post is still up), but as soon as IMFW was cancelled, she wrote negative remarks about their prior dealings, saying that she was hesitant to attend IMFW because of the low standard of Shea’s previous event. She said she feels certain sisters have joined in on the slander, simply to fan the flames, and only in an attempt to gain popularity at her expense.
In closing I would like to say, prior to this incident I had never heard of, or met Shea Bates. Only she and Allah know what her intentions were with IMFW. I have attempted to give her a platform to respond to all of the backlash she’s received, simply because, it’s what I would want if I found myself in her shoes.
I have purposefully excluded my personal feelings/opinions about the incidents at IMFW. I may do a video in the future expressing my personal feelings, Allahu Alim.

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Waffles and not so “Kung Fu” shoes!

Sunday mornings were the most memorable days for me as a child. My mother used to make her world famous waffles, as my siblings and I gathered around the TV to watch Shaolin Kung Fu. We knew the movie was going to be good as soon as we saw “SHAW BROTHERS” in the opening credits.
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I’d always wanted to buy myself a pair of authentic Kung Fu shoes, I preferred the Men’s style seen here
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Over the ladies
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I was out shopping the other day, and look what I found, and for only $10 at that! They aren’t authentic, but the style is so similar, who cares.

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Needless to say, I love my “not so kung fu” shoes. They are comfy and perfect for a long shopping trip. Everyone needs a few pair of throw on shoes, and they fit the bill for building my wardrobe.

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Abaya with a Twist!

I picked up this green shirt at a local store in the mall, I wasn’t sure how I would wear it, but I liked it enough to buy it anyway.
While searching for some red fabric, I found this beige piece and made an Abaya out of it. Now someone may question why I would put a top over an Abaya, but some things I do shouldn’t be questioned (sarcasm at it’s finest).

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Statement Shoes for Less – Payless!

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I never shop at Payless, but something made me walk in there last weekend. To my surprise, I found these lovely gems. They fit into my high heels standard of “cute AND comfy.” I do not wear uncomfortable shoes, just to be cute. I’m not too fond of the foot sliding action that occurs thirty minutes after wearing certain style heels. No one looks cute through a fake smile that silently screams “dang my feet hurt, I hope no one can tell.”
Anywho, I bought them in-store, but I thought I would share a link, just in case you wanted to take advantage of the 1/2 off deal I got.

http://www.payless.com/store/product/detail.jsp?catId=&subCatId=&skuId=137259070&productId=74193&lotId=137259&category=&catdisplayName=Womens

Canon Rebel T3i – My new baby!

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Hey yall!
I finally got a new camera. The old one was such a headache, breaking every two seconds. I couldn’t record videos for my Youtube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/TheM0desta) because the shutter was broken, so there was a loud grinding noise in the background of the videos, not cute. It was the pits, but I’m back in business!
I will try not to be obnoxious taking pictures of everything under the sun, but I can’t make any promises!

Business and Babies

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Today was my first business outing alone with my two young children (2yrs. old, and 3 months). I usually have one of my older children with me to balance the insanity of it all, but I decided to be a big girl, see how I managed alone, after all, I had them right?
So there I was with my double stroller, calculator, and cellphone. The most difficult part of the day was getting in and out of doors, I had to do the stroller door dance! I’m sure you mother’s out there know it well, you head towards a door, see someone else approaching, then you have to decide if you’re going to dash for it so you can catch them going in, or mosey along without a care in the world. If you end up at the door alone, you strategically grab the door, catch it with your foot, then bump it with your hip while swinging the stroller in. So goes the stroller dance!
Well, the day was successful. I got gorgeous jewelry, and really nice fabric. Tonight will be spent adding the items to inventory.
Tomorrow I will take photos of them, and depending on how much I get done (usually based on the sun, as I use natural lighting for product pictures) I may start loading them onto the website (matichic.com) right afterwards.
I can honestly say, I love what I do!

Outfit Details:
Blazer – A local store named “Wish”
Dress – A maxi skirt converted into a strapless dress
Pants – Wide legged with an elastic back and band front.
Shoes – Black sneaker wedges (I don’t have time for foot pain!)
Scarf – Black square hijab (scarf), with a striped mini scarf tied all kinds of ways :). I got it from buffalo exchange.

My square hijab love (scarf)- bmw

I have to say I was reluctant to start wearing rectangle hijabs, all of my life I’ve worn square ones, it was a comfort zone thing. I started wearing shayla style hijabs a few years ago, and I fell in love with them, it seems like there are better prints in shaylas as well. I’ve decided to build my square hijab collection. Here I’m wearing two of them, the under scarf is a satiny floral printed one, and the other is a solid black georgette (my favorite fabric in hijabs).

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Hijabis, do you prefer square or shayla style hijabs?