Fashion

The man behind the ‘invisibility’ scarf

Paris Hilton ( a picture of Paris wearing the ISHU scarf and her image turning dark when a camera flash is used while clicking the photograph)  

An idea can change your life. Twenty-eight-year-old Saif Siddiqui is a firm believer of this quote. If an apple led Newton to discover gravity, a bike’s reflector brought Saif his Eureka moment. Saif, the current toast amongst most of Hollywood, is the man behind the ‘Harry Potter scarf’ or the ‘modern-day invisibility cloak for social media.’ Some even call it the ‘paparazzi-proof’ scarf, something celebrities who prefer to shy away from the shutter bugs, can drape themselves with and turn invisible, literally. The scarves, sold under the brand name ISHU, contains millions of nano spherical crystals that turns a photograph dark, if the camera’s flash is used.

“Most unwanted pictures are taken at night. A scarf is easy to carry around and can be worn if you don’t want unwanted pictures on social media,” says Saif, who worked at WME-IMG, an American talent agency, before deciding to quit and invest in his idea.

The seed of the concept of ISHU was planted when Saif was taking pictures of his friends standing in front of a bike. The bike’s reflector affected the flash of his camera phone and obscured the faces of his friends in the frame. Realising a business opportunity, if developed in the right manner, he hired a team of professionals and spent a lot of time working with them on the product.

But why scarves? “Scarves are the perfect accessory. It suits everyone and is designed to go with any outfit.” These handmade scarves are limited pieces. Apart from scarves, there are also anti-flash ties, pocket squares and mobile covers in the collection.

And why the name ISHU? “It was a friend of mine who came up with the name. I liked how it is a play on words with ‘issue’, and how it has a ‘I’ and ‘U’ in there and a ‘Shh’ like a hush,” says Saif, who is half Indian. All ISHU products are available online and are shipped globally from the London office. Some department stores in London, Paris, New York and Los Angeles also stock ISHU products.

Right now, most of Saif’s clientèle seem to be Hollywood celebrities that include Hannah Simone, Joe Jonas, Melanie Fiona, Jeremy Piven, Paris Hilton and Cameron Diaz. “Yes, it’s been very much Hollywood and the Western music industry since its launch. Hopefully Bollywood will follow suit shortly. And no, ISHU is not targeted at celebrities alone. People forget that being invisible is a super power. I think people the world over are overexposed. Everyone is on social media these days and everyone has a camera on their phone. As a result, anyone can click a picture of anybody and share it online, whether they like it or not. ISHU, I feel, gives them some control over their privacy. In fact, I see it as a solution to keeping private moments in public, private. It took six years of intensive research to get the product right, ” says Saif, who shuttles between London and Amsterdam and squeezes in frequent trips to India.

So, what next? “Wait and see. We are planning a whole new range in our collection on August 22.”

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Printable version | Oct 30, 2020 3:22:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/fashion/The-man-behind-the-%E2%80%98invisibility%E2%80%99-scarf/article14576167.ece

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