Diversity Fashion Interviews Haute Hijab Hijab

This Empowering Luxury Brand Is Changing How Muslim-American Women Wear Hijabs

In 2009, when Muslim-American entrepreneur Melanie Elturk was once making ready for her engagement birthday party in Michigan, she could not in finding the proper hijab to put on. “I had this beautiful skirt and hand-embellished belt that I made myself, and then I was wearing this polyester-chiffon hijab,” she advised me on the downtown NYC showroom for her logo, Haute Hijab. “And it just ruined everything. Your outfit suffers when you don’t have the beautiful headpiece that should adorn your stunning gown or dress.”

Image Source: Courtesy of Melanie Elturk

This is only one reason why she based Haute Hijab — a neighborhood and e-commerce website for hijab-wearing ladies — together with her husband, Ahmed Zedan, in 2010. She sought after choices. And she knew different ladies did, too.

“I happen to have a knack for fashion,” she mentioned. “I wasn’t formally trained, but I just have an eye for it. That alone wasn’t enough for us to do something in fashion. When I thought about the hijab space and the real problem that Muslim women have, I knew there was this huge community that was relatively untapped. Nobody was in this space.”

The website provides styling recommendation and elegant, shoppable hijabs, together with of-the-moment prints and solids in materials starting from georgette to jersey. But 8 years in the past, launching a platform like this was once taboo.

“People feared blowback from the community, because in 2010, to say the words ‘hijab fashion’ was like an oxymoron,” Elturk mentioned. “Hijab is not fashion. Hijab is religious garb. But I looked at it from a practical standpoint. We all wear it. Why shouldn’t we take pride in it and have options? And feel and look beautiful in it?”

Currently, Elturk has 181Okay fans on Instagram, the website receives a median of 200,000-plus web page perspectives a month, and the emblem has remodeled $1.five million in gross sales (one-third of that was once made closing 12 months by myself). And on Jan. 22, POSUGAR Fashion has completely discovered that Elturk and her crew are taking it to the following stage: Haute Hijab is launching a suite that is regarded as first to marketplace: luxurious hijabs. “If you google ‘luxury hijab,’ all you’ll find are satin scarves and silk scarves,” mentioned Haute Hijab Creative Director Gizelle Begler.

The five-piece assortment options increased hijabs in a impartial colour palette — together with silver, ivory, cream, gold, and black — with surprising elaborations. There are beading, lace, appliqués, and lovely textures, like chiffon and 100 p.c natural silk. These high-end items are supposed to be worn at formal affairs.

Since Haute Hijab was once introduced, Elturk says the platform’s fans were vocal about their type wishes. “They’re eager to see formal and professional [hijabs],” she shared. “The Muslim community is, number one, highly educated. And, as a result, pretty wealthy. Our specific customer base has a medium household income of $90K. She has a high educational degree: PhD or masters. We were hearing: ‘My husband is a doctor or I am a doctor, and we always have these formal affairs. I have nothing to wear. I look so frumpy, and I just pale in comparison to everyone who is there.'”

“There’s a huge misconception that we’re forced to wear it, that some man told us to wear it, and it holds us back in some way. But it’s quite the contrary.”

When it got here to executing this imaginative and prescient — for his or her shoppers and themselves — the designers had been impressed by way of vintage headpieces from the ’30, ’40s, and ’50s, in addition to Hollywood icons like Grace Kelly and Hedy Lamarr.

“I thought about the origins of the company and what we are trying to accomplish,” Begler defined. “We are an all-American brand, founded by American Muslims for American Muslims. We wanted to make sure the aesthetic didn’t get too Arabic or Asian. That’s why it made sense to go back and look at these silhouettes and actresses.”

While one of the crucial Luxury items are absolutely beaded and ornamental, others are extra subdued. “We really wanted to vary on the level of embellishments,” Begler mentioned. “No woman feels left out. If you’re a diamond-bling girl, you got it. If you want something avant-garde and different, try the lace. And if this is all too much for you, go with the more understated chiffon and tulle.”

The value level of $250 to $325 echoes the craft of the increased designs. “Because it’s the first of its kind, we get to define what hijab luxury means,” Elturk mentioned. “The amount of workmanship and the level of materials we are using — and even Gizelle and I jumping in and doing some handwork when need be — warrant the price. We did a focus group, and people told us we were underpricing them, but it feels like we are in the right place.”

Developing extra hijab choices feels particularly related for the place type is in 2018 — an overly other position than 2010. Last 12 months, Nike created its first Pro Hijab, a breathable headpiece made for understanding. The previous few years, we now have noticed hijab-wearing ladies featured in an H&M marketing campaign, on the Yeezy Fashion Week runway, gracing the quilt of Allure, and, not too long ago, because the latest logo ambassador for L’Oréal Paris. Even American Eagle got here out with a denim hijab closing Summer. Times are converting.

“The first thing that goes through my head is, ‘This is great,'” Elturk mentioned. “This helps to normalize hijab in the mainstream. While I don’t believe Nike did anything innovative, they still did a lot to normalize hijab and to give a voice to hijab-wearing women. That’s amazing. When I see Dolce & Gabbana doing abayas, then I am immediately like, ‘Cha-ching!’ They know where the money is at. That makes sense. Putting a woman in a Dolce & Gabbana abaya on their website or Instagram is huge. So I am not mad at them. I am like, ‘OK, good for you.’ Because in the end, it’s helping us, and that’s great.”

That mentioned, there may be nonetheless room for the hijab trade house to develop. Elturk defined that whilst on a regular basis fundamentals are to be had, classes reminiscent of formalwear and activewear are nonetheless missing, and she or he hopes Haute Hijab can fill that void. (Spoiler: athleisure hijabs might be within the works!) “Many doctors email us and say, ‘I have a really hard time putting my stethoscope in and out.’ Or dentists, who have a face mask and need to put it under their ears,” she mentioned. “Accessing [things] in a hijab can be difficult, and there’s no solve for that yet. We’ve made some really good progress since my high school days, but we have a long way to go.”

Then, there may be the wish to stay instructing other folks about why ladies put on hijabs.

“There’s a huge misconception that we’re forced to wear it, that some man told us to wear it, and it holds us back in some way,” Elturk mentioned. “But it’s quite the contrary. For example, Gizelle is a Muslim woman who happens to not wear it. That’s her choice, and that’s OK. But at the same time, someone who does wear it has also made the choice for herself. There’s so much mystery behind Muslim women who wear the head covering. Part and parcel of this company was helping demystify the hijab-wearing woman in the mainstream — normalizing that — so people understand she is following the tradition of everything that came before her.”

For those that have no idea, Elturk defined the origins of carrying a hijab. “The hijab predates Islam,” she mentioned. “A lot of people assume the hijab is specific to only Muslim women, but it’s a practice that we carried from Christians and Jewish women before us. When you look at Mother Mary, you don’t see her without her head covering. It’s in that same vein. We just happen to continue the tradition of head coverings.”

She additionally has recommendation for younger girls and women going through pushback for carrying a hijab. First of all, she recommends getting allies — be them Muslims or non-Muslims — who will rise up for you in the event you get bullied. These other folks will also be buddies, academics, or coworkers. “Also, dig deep into who you are — your own identity — and understand for yourself why you wear it,” she defined. “If you just put the hijab on because it’s expected of you or because of community obligations, that initial momentum will wear off quickly. Know from your heart and understand why you wear it. If that conviction isn’t there, then it’s easy for it to come off the second you face an adversary.”

Elturk hopes her Haute Hijab items will assist ladies really feel much more assured to specific themselves style-wise. “First, it allows a woman to feel beautiful and confident,” she mentioned of her design challenge. “And, number two, to have the courage to say to the world that I am Muslim. That in itself empowers any Muslim woman, because — as we all know — being a Muslim today in America can be difficult. A lot of Muslims are shying away from their identities. They’re not wearing headscarves out of fear. They’re not telling their coworkers they’re Muslim out of apprehension for how they may be perceived. So being able to empower them to feel like they have the courage to say to the world, ‘I am Muslim and I wear a headscarf!’ is important. Having the product that does make you feel proud and beautiful is also equally important.”

Keep studying to look an unique first take a look at Haute Hijab’s stunning debut Luxury assortment, the temper board, and a different video!

Campaign credit: Styled by way of Freddie Leiba and make-up by way of Maria Ortega.

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