Source - https://instagram.com/aman_photography_

Qudeer Arshad is the youngest of seven (6 brothers and 1 sister). He’s 31 years old and from Birmingham. He’s been working in the Arts for the past 10 years. He has many nicknames: first of all Kad, just because people struggle with pronouncing Qudeer. Then there is also: Kadbury, Kadilac, Kadalicious and Scantily Kad. He claims that the latter is from a failed porn career, but I couldn’t find any sources to back that up.

Arshad sources his classic style from vintage shops and eBay. He told me his favourite item is his vintage 1960s Belstaff Trailmaster jacket and his best bargain ever is a three-piece pinstripe 1960s suit which he got for £3. His favourite season is winter because he likes wearing layers. I suppose that makes sense, if you have lots of impressive clothes you would want to wear as many of them as possible.

Kad’s philosophy:
You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”
― Oscar Wilde

I asked Kad why he started growing his beard and he said that he’s always kept facial hair since it first appeared at puberty. He maintains it because, “…if I was ever clean-shaven I would look about 10”. The handlebar moustache came later and was inspired by his love for both the Victorian and Mughul era styles. Kad’s moustachioed heroes include, Bill The Butcher, Greg T Brown, Greg Berzinksy and Ricki Hall. His facial hair has led to many opportunities, perhaps the most impressive being Project60, a photography exhibition by Brock Elbank. Elbank picked 60 people from over 1000 applicants to be photographed for an exhibition to raise awareness for melanoma. The exhibition has been a huge success with worldwide coverage and was displayed at Somerset House in London in early March.

Kad, what are you reading?

A poetry book by Rumi

Kad, what are you listening to?

Jeff Buckley’s album, “Grace”

I pointed out that Qudeer has a rather unusual look for Birmingham and wondered if perhaps there are other towns were he would “blend in” more and he agreed. “People always said I should check out Williamsburg in New York and that was a place where I did blend in well when I visited. In this day and age being different is a good thing you just have to have the confidence to take all the weird stares”. He brought up the weird stares again when asked how his wife feels about his facial hair, “She likes it but does not like the attention it brings from drunks on nights out”. As for his parents, “My parents see a beard as a religious statement more than a fashion one. They think if you grow one it should be a sign that you are a practising Muslim”.

His answer to my questions regarding his faith in relation to his beard and moustache took the form of one of his #kadburytales.So I’ll close with Qudeer “Kad” Arshard in his own words:

I grew a moustache a few years ago because I always liked the classic gentleman look. Whenever I visited mosques my moustache would stick out like Marilyn Manson in a Bollywood film (actually knowing how much make up some of the actresses are wearing these days, probably not). But if I had a pound for every time someone came up to me and said. “Brother, grow your beard and trim your moustache” I would be rich enough to marry a Kardashian (they should be so lucky).

One day my cousin said to me, “Did you know that the second Caliph Umar ibn Al-Khattāb had a moustache similar to yours and when he was in deep thought he would twist the ends of the moustache?”

He could tell from my mouth being wide open and my eyes looking bigger than Nicki Minaj’s… eyes…Yes, eyes that this was all a new revelation to me.

Ten minutes later the imam came up to me and said, “Brother, tell me about your moustache. Why did you grow it?”
Without skipping a beat I said, “Umar Ibn Al Khattab”.
He looked at me, smiled and said,“MashAllah” (God has willed it).

Leeanne Stoddart
Leeannne is originally from Birmingham, UK. Her grandparents were immigrants to England in the 1950s and then her parents took the family to the United States in the early 1990s. To keep up the family tradition she moved to Oslo, Norway last year. Leeanne writes a lot of poetry and poorly maintains a blog. She's a big fan of beards.

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