This weekend, the Modesty-Defined Islamic Fashion Council (MDIFC) held its premiere event in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area - USA Islamic Fashion Week. The goal of USA Islamic Fashion Week is to create a platform for Muslimah designers of Islamic fashion to showcase their work to the community, broaden their reach by connecting designers to industry professionals, and advance their careers. "We believe that we as Muslimahs can do for Muslimah fashion designers what the non-Muslim community has done for non-Muslim fashion designers, through the grace of Allah," says Romana Muhammad, founder of the MDIFC. After interviewing Muhammad a few weeks ago (read the interview here), I was excited to attend Community Day, held on Saturday February 15, 2014 to support the event and witness modesty on the runway once again!
When I arrived for the 3pm show, I realized that turnout was a bit lower than expected, but the effort that was put into creating the show was evident. The staging and lighting was beautiful and professional, and the mood was that of elegance and sophistication. Near the beginning of the show, Sr. Romana expressed some of the challenges she faced in creating the show, one of which was from model recruitment. "We reached out to non-Muslim modeling agencies, but only two models responded - only one of those two showed up today, and when she saw the designs, she went back home. Our event goes on through the help of Allah because He knows our intentions." And go on it did! It was impressive that with a few models and collections from 7 designers, the showcases proceeded until about 6pm almost seamlessly!
The models displayed garments beautifully, and this humble effort began to shine brighter as one after the next, the audience was wooed by Islamic fashion. It was apparent that designers worked diligently and possessed a lot of talent and vision. Looking closely at some of the designs, I did notice a some loose threads here or there, and perhaps there were a few 'make-it-work' moments. But what overshadowed that was the apparent passion in each garment, and I was honored to be in the presence of sisters with so much creativity.
The seven designers, their bios, as well as photos of their designs are below!
Snazzy Fashions - Tamyia Mitchell
With an eye for mixing solids with prints, Tamyia Mitchell's label, based in New Jersey, specializes in gowns that flow beautifully and elegantly to cover the female form modestly.
Qadira's Qreations - Jalila Qadira Muhammad
Spoken word artist and fashion designer, Qadira Muhammad, has a vision for making cutting edge modest daywear to make a woman feel confident.
Akilah Fashions - Akilah Baynes
From a young age, designer Akilah Baynes was influenced by her grandmothers, who were both designers, to create garments of her own. Baynes opened a retail store in 2009, and is looking to expand her line while keep prices for her garments affordable.
Ivette Nouti - DOLS Designs
Former model and corporate level employee in banking, Ivette Nouti decided to go back into fashion as a designer. She focuses on designs for the working woman who would like to dress with elegance in a professional setting.
Noor Couture focuses on socially-conscious and sustainable garments that are easy to wear and sophisticated. After coververting to Islam, Noor struggled to find professional clothing, with the structured sophistication of a business suit, while maintaining modesty.
A.K. Designs - Anisa Karim
Karim aims to bridge the gap between urban streetstyle and modesty with her easy-to-wear clothing line. Inspired by the work of her grandmother, a seamstress, Karim began working as a professional tailor before launching her own modest fashion line in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Muslim Diva - Hadiya Weeks
After starting to sew after only one sewing class, Weeks decided to use her newly-found skill set to cater to the needs of fellow Muslimahs in need of classic modest clothing, with a stylish twist. She opened the doors to her retail establishment, House of Hijabs, and is looking to re-launch her former line with new designs for Muslim Diva.
The MDIFC will be hosting the next USA Islamic Fashion Week in September, location TBD. Of course, I'll be there inshallah to bring to you the latest from these designers and more!