|Nick Jonas wearing his ISHU scarf.|
In their fight against paparazzi, 28-year-old Saif Siddiqui is giving celebrities a shot at privacy in public.
Siddiqui created the ISHU scarf—a marriage between technology and fashion— that allows the wearer to block flash photography. “I came up with it when a few friends took a picture of me on a bike in Amsterdam,” Siddiqui told Quartz. “The reflector on the bike semi-ruined a picture and this is where I thought of creating a product, which you could wear or hold, which could ruin pictures completely.”
Soon after, Siddiqui put together a team of experts, who dug into the science of light and reflection, and created this invisibility cloak of sorts, which disrupts flash to make everything in the image go dark. It also works on video cameras. The anti-paparazzi scarf was in development for around six years before its launch in October 2015.
Actress Cameron Diaz, rapper DMX, singer Nick Jonas, and Daily Show host Trevor Noah are among the many stars who’ve used the product so far. Siddiqui says getting the word out has been very organic and most purchases have come through the product’s website. The scarf is available to anyone willing to shell out for it: All Access Brands retails the scarf for upwards of £289 ($388).
On Friday (July 1), Siddiqui is launching ISHU iPhone cases that will serve the same function. The website also sells ties and pocket squares with the same technology.
The name ISHU is a combination of “issue” and “shh”—an ode to silencing the paparazzi that try to document celebrities’ lives at all times.
With the rise of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms, people have to worry about unwanted photos ending up online. “Sometimes people don’t want to be seen,” Siddiqui said. “I want to give people the right back to their privacy.”
Next, he hopes to create frames for museums and art galleries, and work with the entertainment industry for events and venues where flash photography is prohibited. He expressed interest in working with the government on privacy sensitive matters eventually, too.
“The business goes beyond fashion as the tech itself can be applied across various industries,” Siddiqui told Quartz.