Interview by Vassilios Nicolaos Vitsilogiannis
- At what age did you start becoming fascinated with fashion?
I am a doctor by profession and a designer by passion. I have been quite rebellious in my way of dressing since a young age. I decided to be a hijabi a few years back and it happened to be a turning point in my perception of fashion & beauty stereotypes.
- Where do you get your artistic inspiration from?
My source of inspiration is not specific. Sometimes my collections are inspired from current events or occasions, at other times, they are inspired by works of art and popular masterpieces. It’s just a matter of time and whatever grabs the attention of my creative side.
- Have you ever felt to push the boundaries of creativity?
Absolutely, yes. With every new project or collection, there is an inherent push to create something new. It is a challenge and involves a lot of risk too but ‘creativity’ is boundless, especially in fashion, everyday has to be different, exciting yet coherent.
- What is your brand philosophy?
The Hijab Lee is an Indian International luxury modest fashion brand that believes in the co-existence of Faith & Fashion. The brand creates globally applaudable modest attires in trendy colors & contemporary silhouettes for today’s progressive female youth. Its creations are a unique amalgamation of the Islamic code of female dressing & the current fashion trends. The magnificent Indian hand-embroideries are turned into modern pieces of art by creative manipulations.
The Hijab Lee celebrates the Female-Power and aims to empower, uplift and encourage women to believe in their beauty beyond skin and body. With its exuberant, trend-driven designs, THL beckons our young women to be covered & confident, to chase their dreams and not let their modesty come in the way.
- What skills are important for a fashion designer for a successful career in the industry?
I believe that the most important things for a fashion designer to have a successful career are a good understanding of their customers’ needs & their own personal touch which makes them stand out of the crowd and becomes their brand identity.
- Please tell the top three things in your styling kit that are must haves.
The top three things in my styling kit would be a nice & comfortable scarf (since I do hijab), a trendy pair of footwear that suits my dress and a perfect bag for that time of the day.
- How do you measure success?
We are all in business to make money but the main motive behind me starting The Hijab Lee was to ensure that the young girls of my community, including my three daughters, take pride in their faith and the dress code that follows it. So I would measure success as the more number of lives I can touch and change for better.
- Do you follow some trends for your looks?
Yes I do, but as I said, I make sure that I add in my personal touch to it.
- What kind of style you would love to have in your outfits?
I follow trends and love experimenting. As far as it is comfortable and modest, I can wear anything.
- What fabrics do you use?
At THL, we use fabrics that suit the season and are trending. From linens, crepes to silks and velvets, we use everything that fits the designs well.
- Name some celebrities who have worn your clothes.
The former Femina Miss India World, Sayali Bhagat walked in THL dress on the ramp of Asian Designer Week 2019 in India.
Recently, the beautiful influencer from UAE, Tasneem dressed up in a THL jump suit for a private shoot.
- Do you find men and women well-dressed today?
The way a person dresses up is a personal choice and I am no one to judge but speaking of modest fashion, I see a lot of change and awareness among people. They are ready to embrace fashion without compromising on their beliefs.
- What sorts of things do you do to prepare yourself for an upcoming fashion shoot or show?
Our every shoot or show has a story in the background and each element has a role to play. We market ourselves as a brand with beliefs and values which does everything for a reason not just sales.
- How do you stay updated on current trends?
The social media nowadays keeps everyone updated. We follow the renowned fashion magazines, blogs and work on fashion forecasts for first hand informations.
- What is your most memorable fashion moment? Good or Bad.
Once I attended a doctors’ meet in India on an international level along with my husband and I sported a hijab with one of my modest dresses. It was quite a few years back and people were shocked to see someone gloriously wear a hijab at a party. I was appreciated a lot for my styling skills.
- What do you like and dislike in wearing a high fashion collection?
A fashion collection is great to wear since it makes you feel confident and ‘in the league’ but at the same time, you have to spend every second of your time worrying that you don’t spoil or lose it by mistake, especially for a carefree person like me !
- Have you ever worn something that is totally out of fashion in your life?
I belong to Kashmir, a mountain valley region in the north of India. Once I wore the traditional dress from my region called ‘Pheran’ at a wedding in the city and everybody loved it. It’s a loose dress with lots of hand embroidery, a belt and a scarf… it’s just beautiful.
- When is your next collection showcased?
We will be launching our next collection before Ramadan. It will be a ‘Ramadan’Eid’ collection with festive yet light, summery designs.
- What role do you think social media/influencers play in fashion today?
Social media is the most powerful platform today. It is accessible to everyone, used by everyone and influences everyone. The social media influencers are more like super heroes with loyal fan followings. They have a huge responsibility as people look forward to their recommendations. They are the ones to bridge the gap between brands and customers that suit each other but are not able to find each other.
Find the interview at https://funviewsonline.wordpress.com/2019/03/30/nighat-ahmad-designs-the-hijab-lee/