How I got started in fashion and the impact hijab has had on my life as a designer.
Let’s set the record straight… I never planned or dreamt of a career in fashion. That’s right, all those cliché stories you tell your employer during your interview about how you always dreamt of being a fashion designer never existed for me.
Growing up, I did have a passion for art. I had been drawing and painting since I was a child (literally… Walls, cushions, mugs, foreheads… you name it, I demolished it). I decided I wanted to pursue my love for the arts into my studies in school, for which I chose creative subjects such as fine art and graphic design throughout high school and college. It was halfway through college, that my life had completely changed. I had felt quite lost, distracted and worthless in college and I knew that I wanted to seek for something more. As a Muslim woman, I had always tried to stick to my basic teachings of praying 5 times a day, reading the Quran and trying to be a good person inside and out, however I still didn’t feel good about myself. This was when I decided to start wearing the hijab. I decided to put my desires of wanting to look like the prettiest girl alive aside and tried to focus on the bigger picture. It was only then, that I realised that I actually FELT like the prettiest woman alive. Hijab taught me to love myself and to devote my life to goodness and happiness rather than being obsessed with the way my hair fell or how good I looked at my friends’, cousins’, sisters’, cats’ wedding. This huge transition in my life encouraged me to drop my original options of studying interior design at university and decided to go into fashion design instead. I wanted to create pieces that made people feel good whilst wearing it, just like I did when I started wearing hijab. I believe that when you carry yourself in a positive manner and feel good about how you present yourself, you will glow differently in all aspects of your life.
I went on to study Fashion Design with Marketing at Regents University London, and I am so glad that I did. At the start of my degree, I did not have any knowledge of fashion (Damn it guys, I COULDN’T EVEN SPELL DOLCE AND GABBANA). I can honestly say that studying fashion has been a life changing experience and I am so thankful to be the woman I am today because of this. As a designer, you spend months working on a piece and it’s clear to say that these pieces become a part of you. I will never forget the first time I had sewn something myself and watched a woman try it on and saw the excitement on her face. You could tell that she didn’t only look beautiful but she FELT it too. When you witness a person glow like that, you instantly know that this is exactly what you’d like to do for the rest of your life. I want my garments to have an impact on the way women feel when they are wearing them. I want them to feel confident, I want them to feel happy, I want them to feel whole again.
I truly believe that hijab not only helped me find myself again, but also encouraged me to reach out towards my dreams and not settle for less. Many will argue to say that I am oppressed because of this piece of cloth on my head, but I am far from it. I am a bird freed from the cage, I am superwoman chasing down my dreams and I am truly the happiest woman alive. This is not a story to try and convince you all to start covering your hair and convert to islam (sit back down Trump), but it’s a reminder to all of you to come out of your comfort zones, to take a risk and to always put yourself first because you matter the most. Women are beautiful and they deserve to feel it too.