Friends, meet your new men's fashion & lifestyle obsession, Abdulla Khatib. With a take on style that puts self-care at the forefront and a classic wardrobe to back it up every step of the way, we knew we had to have him join the Work It Wednesday family. Get to know his story and we guarantee you'll leave feeling inspired by a good friend.
1. First off, tell us about yourself! Who is Abdulla Khatib?
Abdulla Khatib is just a regular guy who tries to inspire other regular guys. Since I was a younger fella, I've always tried helping those around me in any way that I can. Sometimes it's not much, but knowing that I made even the smallest difference in someone's life really puts a smile on my face. I graduated from the University of Toronto in 2015 and have since worked in various industries, such as retail, construction, media and government, both here in Canada and in Taiwan. I've always wanted to eliminate 'what ifs', so I'm always trying to keep an open mind to learn new things and grow as an individual. I'm currently enrolled in a 1 year postgraduate certificate program at George Brown College for Digital Marketing, so that's been quite stimulating!
2. We love that your blog, Muscles and Tussles, emphasizes the importance of style as a vehicle for feeling like your best self. How did this journey begin for you?
You did your research, thanks for taking the time! I was a guy who loved playing sports and I've always tried to take care of myself in one way or another. I was flipping through a GQ magazine one day and suddenly decided, 'hey, I want to look like these guys', and so the journey started. I shopped like I cared, and acted like I knew what I was doing, and slowly but surely, I thought I had enough knowledge to share with the rest of the world.
One day I decided that I wanted to share that ideology with everyone, so I started the blog in my 4th year of undergrad - even though I had no idea what I was doing. No one was reading the content at first, which was fine, but I was happy that I was finally beginning to push out content. I never had any expectations, but all I knew is that I wanted to inspire at least one person with what I shared, and that's what I set out to do. It's really important knowing what can uplift you and make a difference in your life, and it really does make me happy knowing that by sharing that, others can also benefit from it and feel the same way.
3. What’s the most exciting thing about being a social media influencer in the fashion space?
Being able to experience so many things that I never thought would be possible, had it not been for me starting this 'blog thing'. I feel very humbled, since I still do consider myself a regular guy. Sometimes I still get the whole, 'how am I here right now?' feeling, but yeah it's a really exciting space. Everyone is very friendly and collaborative so I'm always learning from others and constantly being inspired by others' great work. The space is still so new and unpredictable, but it's fun creating content and sharing stories so I look forward to seeing what comes next within this space.
4. There must be a ton of brands that are dying to work with you - how do you choose which companies to partner with?
I wish haha! I'm very fortunate to have worked with some of my favourite brands, it's really humbling and exciting! However, yes I've gotten to the point where sometimes I have to turn things down unfortunately, solely due to the fact that the branding doesn't completely align with my aesthetic and personal brand. I have definitely grown since starting with just menswear (now being men's lifestyle, so I cover a lot more), but some things simply don't work. I've tried a few partnerships that pushed my boundaries a bit and I've realized my readers/followers don't enjoy that content as much as my usual stuff.
5. What’s a lesson you’ve learned about growing your following?
Be relatable. I try my best to be myself while engaging with everyone who interacts with my content. Social media can sometimes create a false reality of who someone is - and it can honestly be intimidating at times, but at the end of the day we're all human, so it doesn't hurt to interact with others. It can be overwhelming sometimes when I'm busy with other stuff, but I understand that everyone deserves to feel special, so I take the time to respond and show interest in what they have to say. Even the smallest gestures can sometimes mean so much more to some people!
6. Your photos are amazing - what goes on behind-the-scenes to produce a blog post?
You're too kind, thank you! You probably won't believe me, but the best content is usually a result of a candid walk/shoot. I'll usually be walking with my girlfriend (@julie_yay) or another great photographer, and ask them to snap a few photos when I find a spot I really like. Sometimes I do plan ahead and find spots I really like and brainstorm ideas for content though. I have to add that most of the laughing in my photos is real, but I've learned how to fake laugh for photos as well (I'm lame, I know). Shortly after, I'll throw the photos into Lightroom and fix the colours/tones - and voila! Easier said than done most of the time though!
7. Who inspires you?
My parents for sure. They're such hard working people who have sacrificed so much and have always remained humble. Their humility and values have taught me so much, so I'm extremely grateful for them. I honestly just want to make them proud.
8. How do you #workit everyday?
I start my day off by drinking lots of water and writing down my daily tasks/goals. I'm the type of person who believes in focusing on the process and building good habits - so I end up reading, practicing Mandarin or going to the gym. Since I'm in school right now, I have more time to focus on the blog and creative work, so I devote a large portion of my day planning content and arranging my schedule for the day/rest of the week. I never believed it when I was younger, but planning is what really saves you every single day (especially when you have some time on your hands), since it's so easy to get caught up and become busy, while forgetting what you really need to do (and the fact that I'm a potato sometimes).
Huge thanks to Abdulla for taking some time to share his journey with us. If you want to keep up with him, show him some love on Instagram and his blog!