Ramla Ali Talks Sisters Club, London Life and Burberry's Spring Campaign
We caught up with the professional boxer and model to find out more about working with Burberry and her plans for 2024.
Since Daniel Lee was appointed Creative Director, Burberry‘s campaigns have had a distinctly London feel to them, shot in the streets of the city and consistently celebrating its ever-inspiring melting pot of artists, activists and creatives. Burberry’s Spring 2024 campaign is no different, as it stars a slew of powerful women like Iris Law, Jourdan Dunn, Neneh Cherry and Tems. Among that lineup is Ramla Ali, a professional boxer and model and the founder of Sisters Club, a free women’s only community specializing in running events alongside basketball and football classes.
For her, working with Burberry and Daniel Lee has been a long-term dream, with the opportunity to spotlight her London home something that she jumped at the chance to do. “I’ve spent the last seven years of my life travelling the world for sport and fashion but honestly, there is no better place than London when it comes to ideas,” she tells Hypebae in an exclusive interview.
As she gears up to close out 2023 and look to the year ahead, Ali’s plans are nothing short of inspiring. “I’m hoping to expand my charity The Sisters Club into the Middle East and Africa and also to work more closely with my partner UNICEF across various initiatives and programs around the world that they have coming up,” she adds. “I truly believe when I hang up my gloves, Sisters Club and the support I’ve provided my community will be my greatest achievement in life.”
We caught up with Ramla Ali to find out more about working with Burberry, what the future holds for Sisters Club and what she’s most excited about in 2024.
Scroll down to read the full interview.
Tell us a bit about how it feels to be joining forces with Burberry for their Spring Campaign.
I’ve been a huge admirer of Daniel Lee’s work for years and I can see his incredible vision coming to life as the new Creative Director of Burberry. He really has the Midas touch. I feel privileged that he asked me to be included in this campaign. The Burberry brand speaks to the other half of my heritage, having grown up my whole life in London.
The campaign was shot in the streets of London, what do you love most about London?
I love the richness of London’s culture. It’s a melting pot of the world’s greatest artists, musicians and fashion creatives. I’ve spent the last seven years of my life travelling the world for sport and fashion but honestly, there is no better place than London when it comes to ideas.
Sport is a big part of your life, with Sisters Club and your own career, how has the club evolved since it first started in 2018? What do you hope to achieve with it in the future?
Sisters Club has massively evolved since 2018. What first started as a chance for me to give an hour a week of my time, for free, to teach women of religious and ethnic minorities and sufferers of domestic violence self-defence, has now turned into a charity that has five weekly free boxing classes in both London and New York. Two run clubs, one in Florida & the other in London. A basketball team and a football club. Altogether we now look after up to 1500 women per month across our different sports in both the UK and US. We are hoping to expand into the Middle Eastern region in 2024 and hopefully become the leading global organization in providing free access to sport to the most underrepresented women.
How has it been to see the impact of it within your community?
Every athlete is fundamentally selfish. It takes a certain amount of this to achieve greatness in sport but I truly believe when I hang up my gloves, Sisters Club and the support I’ve provided my community will be my greatest achievement in life. Belts, medals and wins don’t last very long or perhaps they don’t for me but having the ability to change another woman’s outlook in life for the better is a feeling that’s hard to describe but provides me with a greater sense of purpose and inner peace then anything else.
What do you think about the growing relationship between sport and fashion, how has it changed since you first started out?
I think fashion and commercial partnerships are the only way the future of female sport will exist. By exist, I mean in the sense that women will be able to see some form of financial success, after a lifetime of dedication and hard work. Sports broadcasters and the TV executive at these channels still do not invest in female sports, at least not in a manner which can actually create a change the landscape for the majority, as opposed to the small few just to appease the media questions fired at them when highlighting pay disparity.
In boxing though, there is no relationship between sport and fashion. At least not one that I’ve ever seen in the last twenty years. I’ve been privileged enough myself to have relationships with brands and creatives who have all graciously designed my fight kits for the last four previous competitions which has been highlighted through fashion editorials and through this I’ve tried to bring a different perspective and crowd into the sport. Walking to the boxing ring is my catwalk. My dream though is to be graced in a Daniel Lee, Burberry designed fight kit in my next competition. If it wasn’t for campaigns with brands like Burberry I couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to continue in my sport. For this, I’m grateful.
This time of year is all about community, spending time with our loved ones and planning for the year ahead. What are you most excited about in 2024?
I’m really excited about this new luxury fitness hotel brand called Siro that I partnered with earlier this year that’s set to launch in February 2024. I can’t wait for the world to see what they and we, have been doing. If you know me, you know that recovery, sleep and wellness is a hugely important part of my life and Siro is about taking this to the new world
I also can’t wait for fashion week next year. I was gutted to have missed the last two seasons because of training and competing in sport. So much has changed from ideas, collections and new brand creative directors. I’m especially looking froward to Daniel’s new Burberry show in February. I was watching his SS24 show live online from my training camp in California. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie that’s currently in production on my life, In The Shadows, which will be released in cinemas towards of this year if not early 2025. Letitia Wright has been locked away in a gruelling training camp of her own as she prepares for the role of Ramla, which is a weird thing to say in the third person… I know.
What are some of your future plans?
I’m hoping to expand my charity The Sisters Club into the Middle East and Africa and also to work more closely with my partner UNICEF across various initiatives and programs around the world that they have coming up. I should be competing again in boxing sometime in Spring 2024. Although hopefully it doesn’t clash with the Met Gala this time. I’m planning on writing my second book, this time a children’s graphic novel or illustrated work which can speak to a much younger audience. I would love to create my own sports collection or athletic inspired line with a luxury fashion brand as well.