Afghan Coat

Lunchtime in an Afghan coat and Michael Kors boots

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VLOG: Day in the Life of a Mompreneur (from PJ’s to the Blow Dry Bar!)

This is a day in my life from wearing PJ’s in the morning while taking care of three kids to training hair stylists at my salon FLOW Blow Dry & Beauty Bar! It’s a behind-the-scenes look at running a salon – it isn’t always glam!



My FIRST Official Fashion & Beauty VLOG

November 30th – 2015 – Here’s my first official VLOG (video blog) of many more to come! I filmed this one quickly today while the boys were taking a nap. Hope it’s not boring! Don’t know why it cut out the way it did at the end, though- sorry!! To get more “Beauty and the East”, subscribe to my YouTube channel: samiraatash and follow me on IG/FB: @samiraatash

Afternoon in D.C.

Nov. 28th. 2015 – Today, we decided to take a last minute outing to DC. We heard about a place called City Center and thought it would be a good place to check out since we have a couple out of town guests here for Thanksgiving (my mom-in-law who came down from NYC and cousin from Germany). We met up near Chinatown and walked through the Center. The name “City Center” sounds so grand but it’s much smaller than I thought, but cute nevertheless. It’s a block or two of high end stores on the bottom level of new apartments and offices. Rumi enjoyed the water installation and huge reindeer which is sculpted out of twigs!


Family pics


I like walking through a city during the holidays and taking in the sights and sounds. We stopped by the Smithsonian art museum.
Rumi, cousin Zara and me

Sister Mariam, Zara and Rumi

The museum shop had the most beautiful peacock Christmas tree displayed. I love holiday decor – it makes me feel happy!


Inside the museum there is a large indoor seating area that felt tropical yet holiday at the same time. It was nice to sit down and rest after chasing the boys.

The twins didn’t enjoy the the old man paintings on the walls at the portrait museum – they cried upon seeing them- but they had a great time prancing through the water feature in the cafe. Thankfully, I brought a change of clothes!


After the museum, we grabbed a cup of coffee, walked around a bit and then headed home. It was unusually warm in DC so it was a perfect day to enjoy the city!

An Egyptian Invention: History of Eyeliner

Over 12 thousand years ago, in early 10.000 BC eyeliner first appeared in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. There, both males and females of high status used eyeliner to better define their eyes and protect them from wrinkles that can be formed after constant exposure to desert wind, sun and heat. It was also used to protect from the evil eye.



After the fall of Egypt, eyeliners fell out of the fashion in Europe, having little or moderate use during the reign of Greek and Roman empires. In Asia, eyeliners remained in use, but didn’t influence European fashion after it came out from Dark ages into Renaissance and modern age.

The moment that kick-started the era of eyeliners in the West came in 1920s after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb. Worldwide coverage of this event introduced Ancient Egyptian eyeliner to the west, where it was instantly accepted. It fascinated people worldwide, especially American women. They had finally won the right to vote and thanks to the influence of actresses like Clara Bow, seemed to assert their independence more freely. Fashionable young women began to recreate the Egyptian eye by using eyeliner liberally. During the 20’s, women abandoned the fashion of Victorian era and embraced new fashion that was fueled by ballet, stage actors, Hollywood, musicians and photography.



After the initial eyeliner use in the 20’s, the invention if liquid liner gave birth to several new fashion types that used eyeliner in new ways. In the 60’s, a heavy line around the eye was popular, which was dubbed the “cat eye”.


In the 70’s the line became softer. In the 80’s, heavy Punk and Gothic fashion relied on dramatic eye effect, and eyeliner, eye shadow and mascara were some of their most used cosmetic products.


In the 90’s and 2000’s, liner styles have seen a variation of influences from the 20’s – 80’s and it will be interesting to see what trends and direction liner goes to in the years to come!

Fashion Fact: Muslims Invented Buttons

I’d like to explore the positive influences the East has contributed to the West and remember a time when the two borrowed from and exchanged ideas with each other. An area that fascinates me is the historical influence of Eastern fashion on the West. Did you know that the West adopted the idea of buttons from the East? In the early Medieval period, European clothing was normally secured with brooches, pins, or laces (also known as points). Buttons were part of the Middle Eastern and Central Asian tradition of coats from an early date.


The Moors wore long gown with buttons, but buttons were not adopted by the Spaniards until later. Buttons can also be seen in a Moorish ceiling painting in the Alhambra (c. 1354). By 1292, button making is one of the trades listed in a document from Paris, so by this date, buttons were beginning to come in to use in France at least.


The sixteenth century was a period in which in both war and commerce the Ottomans were a crucial issue for the European powers. Henry VIII is known to have been taken with Turkish dress. He appeared dressed as a Turkish Sultan as part of a masquerade at an English court. Toward the end of his reign in 1542, Henry VIII posed for a portrait that is a striking comparison (apart from headgear) to that of his contemporary, Süleyman the Magnificent, but because of the pose even more dramatically resembles that of a later sixteenth-century sultan, Mehmed III.


On sixteenth century European coats, rows of horizontal bands form distinctive closures not previously seen in European fashion. Comparable examples can be seen on kaftans from the late 15th century in the Topkapi collections. The Turkish examples use an applied flat silk braid joining the fronts with a button and loop; Henry’s more ostentatious Mannerist version is created in bejeweled gold, but braid equivalents were also being used. This type of closure first appears in European dress in the first half of the sixteenth century, and would become a staple of European fashion, particularly associated with military or ceremonial dress.


However, it does not only appear as a closure on men’s coats. A portrait of Elizabeth I c. 1575 has a bodice closed with bands of decorative braid. When trade negotiations were concluded in 1581 between the Ottoman Empire and the English, the exchange of royal gifts included an entire ensemble of Turkish clothing sent by Sultan Murad to Elizabeth.

Got To Have It: Embroidered Military Jacket

I’m obsessed with this embroidered military jacket!image


East-West Fall Fashion

Here I am mixing East-West fashion influences on a pretty Fall day: oversized embroidered scarf and culottes both by Free People. Peace and love!image

Vintage Afghan Style (Part 2) – The Afghan Coat & Rock-n-Roll

If you know vintage fashion, then you’ve definitely seen the Afghan coat, one of the biggest fashion trends of the late 60’s and 70’s. Made out of sheep or goat skin on the outside and soft fleece on the inside, the coats were embroidered with fine silk thread in different floral or geometric patterns. It made its first appearance in the West onto the London fashion scene in 1966, just as fashion was becoming more influenced by Eastern looks. Craigs Sams was an English entrepreneur who imported the coats from the Ghazni province and sold them to London boutiques including Granny Takes A Road Trip. One day, a band named The Beatles visited the shop and emerged wearing Afghan coats. Once they were photographed in them, it set off a worldwide trend that continued through the 70’s (even today, you can see variations of this boho-chic coat on the runway and the streets).  The coats were so popular that rockers David Bowie and Eric Buron wore them on their wedding day.

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il_fullxfull.293638979il_fullxfull.674662426_5mzwJust a few different original Afghan coat looks



John Lennon wearing an Afghan coat (now in the Julian Lennon collection)


Vintage Afghan Style (Part 1) – Groovy Parents, Hippies & VOGUE Magazine

October 28th, 2015 – I’ve always been inspired by the mod and boho fashions of the 60’s.  Maybe it has to do with growing up and seeing photos of my parents in the late 60’s/early 70’s wearing groovy clothes from a lost time in Afghanistan – a “golden era” when there was peace, stability and style – when Kabul was known as the “Paris of Central Asia”.  In the photos, there my mom was in her handmade or custom tailored dresses she designed, standing next to my dad who was young and excited about the future.  Or maybe it has something to do with growing up in America and being drawn to reruns from popular shows from the 60’s (“The Monkees” was my fave!) and being fascinated by style and beauty trends  – the voluminous hair, the Jackie O dresses, the winged liner, the mod cuts and the graphic bold prints and colors. Perhaps I’m reminded of when both Afghanistan and America were at peace with each other – a seemingly fun and glamorous chapter for my parents and for so many Afghans. Maybe part of me wants to freeze that time before war and destruction changed everything.  Whatever the reason is, to this day, the late 60’s have subconsciously been my inspiration in so much of my work – from my fashion collections to the branding of FLOW Blow Dry & Beauty Bar.  Call me old fashioned – or an old soul – I love that era and the love vintage clothes from the 60’s/70’s.

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My parents in the 60’s. 

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My mom always kept up with the latest fashions


In the 60’s and early 70’s, Afghanistan was an exotic destination for both the world’s fashion elite and young hippies looking for adventure. Kabul was vibrant and had cute little boutiques and bazaars selling beautiful textiles, jewelry, fabrics and fashions.


Road trip in Afghanistan in the 60’s – it’s unfortunate that we can’t do that these days



Kabul couture dress shop


“Hippies” walking in Kabul in the early 70’s

Enjoying tea with the locals


When Vogue magazine landed in Kabul in 1969, the result was an editorial called “Afghan Adventure” which appeared in the December issue of that year. The spread was gorgeous of models standing against ancient Afghan ruins and the beautiful rural landscape. I would love to get my hands on an original copy of this issue!!


Vogue’s December 1969 cover (left) and patterns at a Kabul dressmaking school in the 60’s.

A bohemian look in the Afghan flower hills

Love this embroidered jacket, boots and turban – still stylish today

A floral one piece culotte with turban set against the nomadic landscape of Afghanistan

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