Interview with British model Danish Wakeel on Contemporary Men’s Style

With a perpetual trickle of “new-ins: and “new-outs” it can be difficult on both one’s wallet and your wardrobe to be constantly playing catch up on the latest trends. It’s always important for men to cultivate a personal style where they have a few sturdy staples which they can use to create a signature look and mix and match with separates for versatility: A navy blazer; a crisp white shirt; chinos; Oxford, brogues etc.

Some of the trends that have continued from previous seasons include Retro’s take on Athleisure including matching two-piece tracksuits and vintage leather bomber jackets; Checks as in plaid shirts and Prince of Wales check blazers; Neutrals with a top-to-toe tonal look with subtler shades; Wide-leg trousers seen in a rugged dark selvedge or black jean; Vertical Stripes on  a classic crew neck T-shirt worn under a casual blazer; Printed T-Shirts under a structured jacket and Cuban collars in cotton or linen.

Ultimately men should definitely have fun developing their own style just as much as women do, rather than following trends blindly and they should always dress according to their body shape; for the occasion and to please themselves.   And as our Dubai Fashion TVinterviewee and British model Danish Wakeel will vouch, appropriate and elegant footwear can indubitably make or break any outfit!

Dubai Fashion TV : Danish, welcome to Dubai, how are you? You obviously love fashion and have innate good taste and carry off clothes superbly as you did in our fashion pictorial. How would you describe your own personal style ethos?

Danish Wakeel: Hello! I am very well MashAllah, Thank you! My personal style ethos is an amalgamation of classic and the avant garde. I relish every opportunity to dress up sharply. I have a huge weakness for luxury brands.

DFTV: In your opinion what key elements constitute a well-dressed men’s wardrobe? What are some staples?

DW: According to Mark Twain, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” I feel one of the powers of clothing is that it can transform an individual’s state of mind. Dress like a professional businessman and you’re more likely to act like a professional businessman. Dressing appropriately for the occasion is also vital. In my opinion, impressive shoes on a man define his taste and create a lasting and powerful first impression within a few seconds.

DFTV::What is your favourite object of clothing in your personal wardrobe?

DW: Considering that I am one of the biggest shopaholics you will ever find, my favourite objects of clothing in my personal wardrobe keep on changing every couple of months. Of late, I have developed a keen interest in men’s sweatpants and ripped slim-fitting stretch jeans that are pretty on-trend at myriad London fashion retail stores. If I were to choose one object of clothing it would have to be a recent purchase; my grey-coloured Dolce and Gabbana sweatpants.

DFTV: What is your most favoured and cherished accessory? A little fashion birdy told us you have a great love for shoes, especially artisanal ones? Would you like to elaborate?

DW: Spot on! It seems Dubai Fashion TV has done some research on me before this interview! I have a serious obsession for high-end luxury shoes. I collect shoes as art pieces and they are by far the most prized possessions that I own. I garner enormous joy every time I buy a pair of shoes.

DFTV: Who are some of your favourite fashion designers and local high street brands you like to wear and why?

DW: I am very loyal to my favourite brands. Gianni Versace is my all- time favourite mainly for its opulence. I like the brand so much that I actually had a ‘Versace’-themed birthday bash last year. Apart from that and mainly for shoes I like Moschino, Giuseppe Zanotti, Alexander McQueen and Christian Louboutin among the luxury brands. The only high-street brand I wear is ZARA mainly for its body-hugging cuts.

DFTV: Please share with our readers your educational background and professional work in Fashion both as a model and designer and how your experience in each informs your own personal style?

DW: My childhood dream was to be a commercial pilot and I did my BSC in Air Transport Operations from City University in London. When I was discovered as a model in London I completed my second degree in Fashion and later my Masters in Fashion from the University of Hertfordshire. After that I studied Filmmaking and Acting from the Met Film School in London for a year. Currently I am working as an international fashion model across UK and Europe. I am extremely passionate about Cinema and movies.

DFTV: What about you experience as Mr/. Commonwealth 2015 and some of the highlights you enjoyed?

DW: I won the crown and trophy for Mr. Commonwealth International 2015 along with Mr. Commonwealth Popularity 2015 in London after competing with contestants from 53 Commonwealth countries. It was simply surreal to be crowned with such a prestigious accolade and I am very thankful to the international panel of judges that came from all four corners the globe and selected me based on how I carried myself throughout all the rounds and the way I answered the questions that were asked by them on the stage. One of the interesting things at the Commonwealth pageant was meeting so many fellow contestants both young women and men who had travelled from around the world to be a part of the event. Learning about their diverse cultures and observing their immaculate mannerisms and style was pretty inspiring.

DFTV: You were recently chosen as one of only two guest models along with Sarah Rich to feature in the Madiera Fashion Weekend 2017. How did this opportunity arise and please share the highlights of the experience including the designers you showcased? Are you going to remain associated to this platform in some capacity in the future?

DW: Madeira Fashion Weekend 2017 was by far the most exciting international opportunity I have experienced recently. Walking the ramp for the world’s best football player Cristiano Renaldo’s CR7 collection at one of the most beautiful and exotic Portuguese islands in Europe was heart-stirring. Furthermore, modelling for renowned global brands like Elma Aveiro; K hubsoorat by Mani Kohli; Michelle Quintal Reis,; The House of Radha,’ Fatima Touchwood and Rita Pessanha was an out- of–the-world .experience. I have connected on a personal level with the co-founders, choreographers and dancers Francis Cardoso and Yvvone Cardoso.

I met the lovely “X Factor” singers Lucy Texeira and Charlie Bird whose performances on stage dazzled audiences. It was surreal to work together day and night with such talented artists for over a week. It was also quite cool to get to know renowned British model lSara Rich.

I didn’t know Sara at all until we actually sat in the plane and boarded the flight for Portugal. Initially I thought of her as a snob and duly maintained my distance from her for a couple of days. But I was astonished to eventually get to know her personally. She is undoubtedly even more beautiful as a human being from the inside than she is from outside. Now. Sara and I are life-long friends and are going to be working on some fantastic projects together.

To be 100 per cent honest, even I didn’t know how the opportunity arose for me I am presuming that the Madeira Tourism Board and the organisers must have done some research on British models and they must have found me and must have liked my body of work.

The organisation of Madeira Fashion Weekend has asked me to come back for the next Madeira Fashion Weekend 2018 and I am indubitably looking forward to returning to the beautiful island known as “the pearl of the Atlantic” and a definitely recommended holiday destination!

DFTV: What do you like about living in London and what are some of the London high-street trends you are currently enjoying?

DW: Living in the heart of the world would be the most exciting thing ever for any fashion model! I like the hustle and bustle and the buzz around London. Above all, meeting new and exotic people from all walks of life is something that can only happen in a big metropolis like London. I love meeting new people and connecting with them. It’s very enriching for my soul I have been so busy with my international travels, modelling and working that I really haven’t had a chance to go out and check any new trends this summer. I plan to go to Harrods, Sloane Street and New Bond Street this coming weekend and hopefully check out some new trends in London!

DFTV: Your hometown is Karachi Pakistan. Does eastern fashion influence your personal style at all?

DW: Not one little bit, I am very western, especially in my attire. I have lived in London for nearly 17 years and I came here as kid so I feel London is now more my hometown than Karachi. I spent most of my formative years in the United Kingdom hence I am more of a Britisher. I love Pakistani food though.

DFTV: Who are some of your al time ultimate style icons that you absolutely admire and adore?

DW: At a high risk of sounding conceited and self-absorbed I don’t really have any style icons. If anything, I truly admire my own style. Sometimes on the Sloane Street or Bond Street In London, I may spot some unknown person whose style I may like, but other than that I am not star-struck at all.

DFTV: What does your fitness and diet regime entail? Do you have a favourite sport?

DW: My favourite sports are swimming and squash, although I don’t get much time for either apart from when I am on vacation. I try to go to the gym regularly and love lifting weights, I am a bit obsessed with lifting weights I don’t do much cardio at the gym. I feel running around London and underground stations all the time for work is the best cardio one can ever do. I have never dieted in my life however I love having green tea after meals.

DFTV: What about skin care and your favourite frangrances?

DW: I don’t do anything for my skincare. In fact I usually only use any soap or shower gel that is available. I do try and use a moisturizer and that too when it is available. These days I am using Bleu De Chanel and Terre D’ Hermès.

DFTV: What do you consider your best physical feature? Any characteristic you would want to change?

DW: I feel God made everyone unique and beautiful. Individuals should just work out at the gym and eat healthily to retain their beauty. Well I have been told by many girls that my chest is very attractive. Actually some girls also complimented my eyes and lips! (Laughs)

DFTV: Describe yourself in three words.

DW: Hardworking, Go-getter and Shopaholic!

DFTV: What is your personal style mantra that you live by?

DW: My personal style mantra revolves around high-end luxury shoes. I don’t care so much about what I wear but my shoes have to be pure luxury.

DFTV: What are some of your near future career plans and endeavours? There is a buzz about a possible career as a film actor and producer. Any preview tidbits you want to share?

DW: I have developed a real passion for films and Cinema in the last couple of years. But we will cross that bridge when we reach it !


Interview by : Zurain Z Imam

Photographer : Ehtasham Saeed

Sponsored by : Dubai Fashion TV

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