Arabs in London flush with success in their diamond-encrusted Knightsbridge shirts
Gulf Arabs who spend the summer season cruising London’s Knightsbridge area in Lamborghinis have a new status symbol to turn onlookers’ heads – a diamond-encrusted “Knightsbridge shirt”.
Sajid Sumra, who runs Knightsbridge Shirts, says his Dh150,000-Dh950,000 shirts are fast becoming the fashion item of choice for wealthy Arabs in London.
“I wanted to create a shirt that would capture the feeling and attention someone gets when they’re in a Lamborghini. Wearing a shirt with two-carat diamonds as buttons creates an unforgettable and incredible image,” says Mr Sumra.
So far, 90 per cent of his shirts have been sold to Qataris, Saudis, Emiratis and Kuwaitis, who he says wear them to their favourite haunts in the UK capital – the Mandarin Oriental, the Bulgari Hotel and Harrods department store.
“When you walk around Knightsbridge you can’t help but notice how trendy and fashion conscious the Arabs are,” says Mr Sumra. “They only want the absolute best — Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Hermès. However, there’s a point where they want to stand out. Walking in to a room or a restaurant and seeing everyone else has a Louis Vuitton bag or a Hermès belt gets redundant. They want something that no one else has – a diamond-encrusted shirt.”
So what makes the Dh950,000 option so expensive?
“We only made one Dh950,000 shirt, for a Saudi gentleman who wanted two-carat diamonds which were internally flawless – among the highest quality,” adds Mr Sumra.
The entrepreneur had the idea for his fashion line last year, because it was an item he envisaged himself wearing around Knightsbridge, where his office is based, and he could see the trend catching on among London’s elite class of gentlemen. After designing his own shirt, orders quickly followed from his acquaintances. “When I started the business, I’d be socialising around Knightsbridge in my diamond-encrusted shirt and would be stopped by many young Arab sheikhs, Russian oligarchs and African oil tycoons who would ask me about my shirt. They all loved the concept, and wanted one as soon as possible.”
But customers have to wait patiently for the luxury garment, as there’s now a six-month waiting list for new orders. The shirts are then delivered in a mahogany box with a certificate of authenticity for the jewels, design and workmanship.
Currently only men’s shirts are available, but a range of women’s blouses and shirts with rubies, emeralds, tanzanite and sapphires as buttons are soon to be launched.
q&a only the finest will do
Sajid Sumra from the Knightsbridge Shirt company reveals more about his luxury retail offering.
What are the shirts made from?
Our cottons comprise Millennium cotton, also referred to as the Rolls-Royce of cotton, that was originally made exclusively for the Saudi royal family. Alternatively we offer Loro Piana Yarn, LV cotton from the Louis Vuitton Italian mill or Sea Island cotton, reportedly the finest cotton in the world for its versatility and similar-to-silk properties.
Can customers choose their own designs?
All our shirts are tailor-made and as individual as the person who wears them. Some clients like big collars, others a slim-fit cut and some want their name embossed in gold on the shirt. The shirts are all handmade by the finest shirtmakers in London. They come in a range of white, light blue, light pink and creams. White and light blue have been our most popular.
And the stones?
They’re ethically sourced from India and Antwerp, Belgium. They are Gia certified and also Kimberley Process certified (United Nations approved).
How do you wash the shirts safely?
Do not fear, your attention-grabbing, status-securing diamonds can simply be removed from the shirt, then put back on again after washing.
How can I buy a shirt?
Through our site knightsbridgeshirts.com. We’ll also be exhibiting at Big Boys’ Toys from October 3-5 at Skydive Dubai.
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Updated: September 24, 2014 04:00 AM