Today’s Muslim is being told who they are and what they stand for by the media and society in general. We wanted to find a way to inspire Muslims to feel comfortable in their own skin and reclaim their identity
Murtaza Jiwan has been designing and manufacturing streetwear and action sports apparel since 1995. He has worked with companies like Billabong, Element, Plan B, Spitfire, Zoo York, West 49, and more. In recent years, he decided that instead of developing and building other brands, he would put his expertise into creating a brand that would resonate with Muslims as a whole. Thus, the streetwear based apparel brand called LIVE THE DEEN was born.
Q: Wearing your pride on your sleeves has taken on a literal meaning in this case. The Live the Deen apparel is bold and fresh with an interesting Islamic theme that isn’t too overt. Where did this idea come from, and what drove you to launch it?
A: Today’s Muslim is being told who they are and what they stand for by the media and society in general. We wanted to find a way to inspire Muslims to feel comfortable in their own skin and reclaim their identity. We developed an apparel brand that we hope will encourage Muslims to make their own statement and break the stereotypes that are thrust upon us. By building a brand with a strong streetwear vibe, we have been able to keep it ‘real’, so the wearer is not just a walking billboard. We designed our brand understanding that our customers need to be able to wear our styles anywhere with pride and confidence.
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Q: Many Muslims, especially those living in the West, feel like they live a double life in trying to balance their lifestyle with their religion. What does the Live the Deen initiative do to help them find that balance and incorporate God into their life while keeping their style true to themselves?
A: It is definitely a delicate balance in developing a brand that allows a Muslim to outwardly show pride in their faith while keeping true to styling and design for today’s fashion-conscious Muslim – especially those living in the West. Our manifesto is to tackle exactly what you mentioned about many Muslims feeling like they are ‘living a double life’. We are hoping to bridge this gap by developing an apparel brand where the wearer doesn’t have to sacrifice style to make a positive statement about their beliefs and identity. Furthermore, we plan to launch a Youtube channel called LTD TV where there will be thought-provoking short stories, spoken word, and social experiments to further engage with our fellow brothers and sisters in faith.
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Q: Is there anything coming up in the near future we should look out for?
A: Yes, most definitely. As I mentioned, we will be launching a Livethedeen YouTube channel next month, insha’Allah. Also, we are very excited about our upcoming Fall 2015 clothing line. We will be offering hoodies, woven shirts, hockey jerseys, football jerseys, baseball jerseys, sweatshirts and so much more. It will be available online and at select retailers in early to mid-August. You can check out our website for a sneak peek.
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Q: Did you ever think your business would be this (and more insha’Allah) successful? What drove you to turn an idea into reality, and what should we who have our own iniative do to realize our aspirations?
A: To be honest, the measure of success for this business has yet to be determined…it will be determined by how it inspires young Muslims to feel a united pride in their faith. I have been blessed in my life to have been able to achieve some level of material success in business. This has allowed me the opportunity to create this brand to try to do my part to put out a positive message in hopes to unite Muslims towards a common movement. Our goal is to have our brand mean something, so that when our logo is seen people will immediately identify with what it stands for and it will create a sense of united pride. Thus our tag line: United to the power of ONE.
My advice for anyone who aspires to do something for the sake of Allah (SWT) is to try to keep their intentions pure and stay focused on their original vision. It’s very easy to get swayed throughout the journey. Once you make your niyyat, He will lead the way, insha’Allah.
Q: Thank you for showing us what determination and drive can do, and for inspiring others to do the same. May you see boundless success in all your good endeavors. Assalaamu alaikum, Murtaza.
A: Ameen, the same to you. Thank you for your support. Alaikum Salam.
A range of Live The Deen products is now available in our online store. For a limited time only, we’re offering free postage and packaging on Live The Deen goods to North American and the UK![button link=”https://themuslimvibe.com/product-category/apparel/” color=”default”]Shop now![/button]
To find out more about Live the Deen, please go to www.livethedeen.com or follow them on Facebook and Instagram @livethedeen
To participate in future Live the Deen projects, or for questions/feedback, contact them at [email protected]m