RAHMA on the Runway
Modest Fashion for a Merciful Cause
On August 16, 2014, modest fashion hit the runway in Washington D.C., this time as a means of raising awareness and increasing advocacy for the HIV+ Muslim community. Reaching All HIV+ Muslims in America (RAHMA) is a non-profit organization based in Washington D.C which aims to address the needs of the largely unaddressed HIV+ Muslim population. 'RAHMA on the Runway' was a perfect fusion of two concepts: raising funds for ongoing and upcoming programs and projects for the organization, and supporting the blossoming modest fashion movement. I was the show's Producer, and worked along with RAHMA to create the event, and as the day of the event arrived, I was excited and anxious to see all the elements come together. From the inception of the concept, it was nothing but hard work: looking for the perfect venue, booking models, makeup artists, photographers, and stylists, convincing hard-working designers and vendors to commit to supporting our show, and welcoming guests to enjoy a night of fun and fulfillment. It was incredible to see months of hard work and preparation come to fruition - a great accomplishment for all who partook.
Prior to arriving at the show, all models and staff were invited to enjoy free henna as a complement to the night's glam - courtesy of our team henna artist Shweta (email@example.com). As the models, stylists, makeup artists, and designers arrived backstage early that AM, excitement rose as runway preparation began! Makeup artists Christelle Francios, Rabia Malik, Beenish Akhtar, and Yara used our show's makeup inspiration to create the face of the show using our inspiration: sharp, winged liner and bold lip. Designers and stylists matched models to looks and finalized styling of their runway showcase, and friendships between strangers quickly formed. Absolutely stunning, beautiful ethnic-inspired handbags and beads provided by Paradise Creations accessorized the runway, and as models began to get dressed, the sheer talent of all the designers, artists, models, and stylists was manifested. The combination created head-to-toe looks that dazzled the audience
Our full show lineup included 4 modest fashion designers and 3 stylist showcases: Mali Rose, FAM Abayas, Modern Majesty, AK Designs, CMB by Hakeemah, CurioStyling, and SiriIISiri Style. Here are some pictures from each showcase, as well as videos of the powerful educational presentations during intermission. Included are full details on my runway showcase, featuring the designs of Delicate Hijabi, Styled by Zubaidah, Nissa Couture, Urban Modesty, LiaWear Action, Veilure Couture, Bingel, and The CMB Collection.
Designer: Baqiyah Adam
Specialty: Modest girls' dresses
Stylist: Fahima Abdul
Specialty: Personal Styling
Designer: Anisa Karim
Specialty: Urban Modest-wear
As stated previously, our event was not only about modest fashion, but also to raise awareness for a much-neglected cause - the needs of the Muslim population living with HIV. During intermission, members of RAHMA as well as those in support of RAHMA shared their stories about how HIV had affected their lives, as well as the need for organizations such as RAHMA to empower those affected and educate those who remain ignorant of the disease.
Sadiyah Bashir aka "King Hijab Pin"
Award-winning spoken word artist King Hijab Pin shares an original piece inspired by the stigma associated with being HIV+
RAHMA supporter Sybil Imani shares her story of living as an HIV+ Muslimah
RAHMA founder Khadijah Abdullah with an inspiring story of a woman who was raped and contracted HIV, as well as her inspiration behind establishing RAHMA
Peer Educators Skit
An informative skit by two of RAHMA's Peer Educators, youth who are trained to educate others about HIV.
RAHMA supporter Fawziyyah shares her story on how HIV has affected her life.
Stylist: Saniyyah Bilal
Specialty: Professional Stylist
Designer: Shareefa Carrion
Specialty: Dolman sleeve jersey dresses
As our designer exited the runway, the show was complete, the but night was still young! Our lovely vendors Modest Kimm, Sweeti's Creations, JannahNaima, Areej Fashions, Bum Love, Styled by Zubaidah, Paradise Creations, The CMB Collection, as well as garments straight off the runway by our stylists and designers.
Mashallah the event turned out great, but as the Producer, I could not be too sure of my own perspective, so I sent a customer satisfaction survey to all guests, designers, stylists and other personnel. Alhamdulilah, 100% of respondents have reported that they were "completely satisfied" with the event, they would return to the event again if it were to be produced next year, and they would recommend it to others. As a first time, no event will be perfect, but this was certainly a great start! Furthermore, the event was profitable to RAHMA, which raised much needed funds to reach the organization's goals, gained the support of many more in the community, and spread awareness about the need for HIV advocacy in the Muslim community. Specal thanks to the event sponsors Islamic Relief USA and Guidance Residential, silent auction donor H.Arts Henna Artistry, and our gracious host Laila Alawa. The event could never have taken place without the full staff of volunteers, including Shabster Photography, Lindsey Leger Photography, ALT Digital Photography, and Dream Free Photography whose beautiful photos captured the night perfectly. At the end of the event, I was TIRED, proud, and happy to take a bow and head home for a much-needed night of rest!