By Noor Molvi
I think we are all familiar with the pain that is dress shopping when wedding season rolls around. The problem is not finding a dress, rather finding a way to modify the dress to meet modesty requirements. Especially for me, I’m am not a fan of layering on the daily, and definitely not at special events! I can’t be bothered with finding a bolero to match a sleeveless dress or a sewing a piece of fabric to cover a dress with a plunging neckline. Thankfully, RAYAN has graced us with their presence! This unique line of evening wear is made exactly to solve the problem of sleeveless, strapless, backless dresses.
LYLA Dress by RAYAN. Image: RAYAN
Among my top picks is the stunning LYLA dress. The wrap dress styling makes it figure flattering on every body! Not to mention, it is the perfect blue to complement every skin tone. In addition to being extremely comfortable, this style is so versatile that you can wear it formal or semiformal. This dress will be the dress that you constantly find yourself pulling out of your closet over and over again. With a change of accessories, you can achieve a lot of different looks every time you wear it. Added bonus, this dress has pockets, need I say more?
MARIAM Dress by RAYAN. Image: RAYAN
Though not quite so versatile, the MARIAM dress is evening wear perfection! Simple yet sophisticated, this is your new LBD (long black dress). The gorgeous beading on the shoulders will flatter any frame. MARIAM features a simple black train which balances out perfectly with with the shoulder details. A clever wrist strap on the train will help you navigate a crowded hotel ballroom with ease. Once you have this dress on, you will feel the sudden urge to walk a red carpet!
Both dresses, along with other RAYAN products will be available at the 2013 Fashion Fighting Famine show on March 31st.
The Coalesce Midi-Dress from the INAYAH Precocious Collection. Image: INAYAH. Graphics: Fashion Fighting Famine
Based in London, INAYAH Collection
will be showcasing their Precocious Collection
at the Fashion Fighting Famine 2013 Fashion Show, INAYAH's debut on the FFF runway. What strikes us about INAYAH is that it is so very distinct - in draping, color choice, styling, and form. Each piece seems to have been designed with the entire care of a collection, with long-lasting details and quality that make every piece a staple. There is also a strong sense of timelessness and versatility in the Precocious Collection, making it durable through passing trends and a part of ones wardrobe for years to come. The designers behind INAYAH are a wife and husband team. They began INAYAH as an accessories line, but quickly found a void in accessing modest designs that reflected Western styles and were practical and sophisticated by nature. The duo made a sweeping turn in their company's direction and were embraced with wide interest across the globe. The couple take a broad approach to modest fashion. "Our aim is to include rather than exclude wider audiences for we understand that each woman faces her own struggle and lives a life unique to her; the challenges that present themselves to women today impact ones ability to dress modestly. Modesty extends far beyond the confined lines of a head scarf. We have first hand experience with women who live with incredible pressure, and have to conceal their religious identity which revolves around a modest way of life."
The Esconce Abaya from the INAYAH Precocious Collection. Image: INAYAH
INAYAH's designers are inspired by highly-coveted collections such as those of Elie Saab
. "Elie Saab has influenced INAYAH to an extent; they have shown us that quality and attention to detail have a major impact on the end product."Their favorite piece in the Precocious Collection is their Urbane Abaya, a bat-wing style dress with color-block detail that comes in two offerings, navy and cream, and black and grey. "We fell in love with this design because of its fluid versatility. The Urbane Abaya is beautiful and modest, elegant, sophisticated, unique and practical."
What are the designers behind INAYAH most excited about for our 2013 #FFFShow? "We are really looking forward to giving our fans California the opportunity to experience our designs and quality in person. We're excited about being part of a noble cause in a warm loving environment, surrounded by empowered individuals."
We're greatly looking forward to INAYAH's debut on our runway, and we can't wait for our audience to see their fantastic collection and shop for a cause. INAYAH will be offering sold-out pieces from the Precocious Collection exclusively at FFF, and they'll also be making their brand new Spring/Summer collection available for sale as well! Be sure to check out their fabulous collection in our newly revealed 'Shop Our Show' Lookbook and mark their must-have pieces on your shopping lists!
Happy 60th birthday to fashion powerhouse Chloe and its founder, Egyptian designer Gaby Aghion, who founded the brand in 1952.
Images: Chloe. Collage: Fashion Fighting Famine
Bahraini fashion designers Noor and Haya Al Khalifa revealed their Noon By Noor Fall/Winter 2013 Collection at Mercedes Benz FashionWeek earlier today. Ruby reds, autumn florals, and preppy grays were key elements of the collection. Noon By Noor layered looks were far from stuffy, and among our favorite pieces were their elongated coats, perfectly paired over tailored looks. Check out a few photos from their runway show and tell us what you think!
Noon by Noor launched in 2011. The name for the line, Noon By Noor, comes from the Arabic letter ‘N’, pronounced as ‘noon’. All photos courtesy of Noon by Noor on Instagram
By Liyna Anwar
SixteenR's latest scarf collection is a collaboration with graffiti artist eL Seed. Image: SixteenR. Graphics: Fashion Fighting Famine
When designer Nancy Hoque visited a beautiful resort in Singapore, you’d think she would draw inspiration for her headscarves from the sparkling waterfronts or structured architecture of grand hotel interiors. But sometimes, she says, inspiration comes from the oddest places.
“My husband likes to wear weird, funky T-shirts and in a gift shop we saw one that had an iPod on the front with the headphone wires drawn all the way to the top. I immediately got an idea for a new scarf.”
She designed a white headscarf with a pair of black and red headphones printed on it over the head. Now it’s become one of her line’s signature pieces. She wants all the scarves in her brand, SixteenR, to make a statement. Hoque says she’s inspired by the way Muslim women create their own styles to define how they want to be perceived. For her brand, it’s all about conveying a message of empowerment.
“The SixteenR girl is probably on her way to a cool café to hang out with her friends. She’s got a copy of Malcolm X’s autobiography in her purse. She’s a strong, confident woman.”
SixteenR's latest is in solid scarves in bright, airy fabrics. Image: SixteenR
Hoque says wearing a headscarf in America is what fueled the passion behind SixteenR. Seeing how Muslim women carve their own way as a minority in society became a driving force behind her philosophy. And when it comes to her aesthetic, it was her experiences living in Singapore that served as a major influence in the look and feel of her pieces.
“In Southeast Asia, modest fashion is evolving so fast. They experiment with these really lightweight fabrics and do all these different things with draping. They have a completely different vibe there.”
After the success of last year's Fashion Fighting Famine 2012 Fashion Show, Hoque will be showing her collection at this year’s Fashion Fighting Famine as well. Her collection will feature her signature prints and patterns, but she’s also trying something new.
“I’m doing solids this year too. I’ve never done straight solids before. They’ll still be in those bright colors but I’m doing them with these really light, airy fabrics.”
And she’ll be presenting her line’s collaboration with graffiti artist eL Seed, who developed a special line of headscarves for SixteenR. Nancy says she’s always loved the Tunisian street artist’s sense of expression and felt it tied in perfectly with her brand’s vision of empowerment.
“I just asked him if he’d he interested in designing some headscarves and he was totally excited about working with us.”
"The Walls" by eL Seed + SixteenR scarf. Image: SixteenR. Graphics: Fashion Fighting Famine
Incorporating the playfulness of Southeast Asian styles of hijab with the eclectic and easygoing nature of American style is what she says makes her scarves stand out. American women love their prints, she says. When she lived in Washington DC, she noticed how working in formal, white-collar environments didn’t stop Muslim women from showing their artsy, edgy side.
“In Washington DC, there’s a huge African American population. And so many of the women in those communities wear their hair up in these beautiful wraps with different colors and patterns. It was really inspiring.”
For Hoque, absorbing styles and ideas from the places she’s lived isn’t just another way to get inspiration. It’s the backbone of her brand. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the name of her company – SixteenR – stems from one of those formative places.
“I used to live on the corner of 16th Street and R and it’s where I started my business and had my first child. A lot happened on that corner and it just stuck with me personally.”
After living in Washington DC and Singapore, Hoque recently moved back to California. But this time she’s in living up north, in the city of Fremont. And SixteeenR fans around the world are hoping her new home proves to be just as inspiring.
We're greatly looking forward to SixteenR's return to our runway, and can't wait for you to 'Shop for a Cause' the new eL Seed collection & more! We're expecting a sold-out crowd at our 2013 Fashion Show
on Sunday, March 31st at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Irvine, California, so hurry and buy your tickets today
. MORE ON THIS BLOG >>
by Fareeha Molvi
The Sofia gown by RAYAN. Image: RAYAN
When you draw inspiration from royalty, you’re bound to come up with a collection that’s brimming with classic elegance. Nadia Rayan and Nora Ghaneian, sisters and co-founders of RAYAN, have accomplished just that with their debut evening wear line, which features bold colors and feminine details. “I’m inspired by what’s modern today as well as vintage,” says Nadia who counts monarchs past (Princess Diana) and present (Queen Rania of Jordan) among her style references. This regal inspiration plays out in the bejeweled accents and trademark long sleeves that can be found in many of the brand’s looks.
Of course, the stylish sisters’ personal tastes have a hand in the designs as well. Nadia describes her style as casual and comfortable while Nora is drawn to more feminine trends. “I love bling and little details,” she says. The result is a collection that gracefully harmonizes the women’s personalities. Their luxe draped dresses feature lady-like peplum and bow details but do not skimp on cool factor either. “A lot of our dresses have pockets,” Nora says, “It makes them feel less stuffy.”
The gorgeous Mariam gown by RAYAN is just one of the fabulous long-sleeve evening gowns from their debut collection and will be revealed on the Fashion Fighting Famine 2013 Fashion Show Runway on Sunday, March 31, 2013. Image: RAYAN
Accessories also play a major role in the pair’s styles. “You can kick up an outfit so many levels with the right accessories,” says Nora who covets statement necklaces. Meanwhile, Nadia is a self-proclaimed belt aficionado. “Most of the time you’ll see me wearing some type of belt,” she says. So it’s no wonder why the waist-cinchers feature heavily in their line. Each belt is removable so the wearer can substitute a different belt to change up the look. “We wanted it to be totally customizable,” Nora says.
The duo also draw inspiration from their community, always thinking about what styles their friends and others they know would want to wear. With this kind of focus, participating in this year’s Fashion Fighting Famine runway show was a natural fit for the brand. After attending last year’s show as guests, the women found that FFF’s mission to promote designers of modest fashion resonated with their own ambitions. “Our goal was for our clients to throw on a dress and walk out the door and not have to worry about covering this or that,” Nora says. With this in mind, they started Rayan to create clothes that made women feel comfortable and confident. To this end, it seems the fledgling brand has found success. “The best feedback we ever got was someone telling us that when she wore our clothes she felt like a queen,” Nora says.
See more on the RAYAN Featured Designer Page
for our 2013 Fashion Show and more of their collection at shoprayan.com
. Fareeha Molvi is a Chicago-based writer. MORE ON THIS BLOG >>
Dika "Resty" Restiyani, Modeling for Wardah Beauty and SixteenR. Image Courtesy SixteenR.com
Dika Restiyani, better known as Resty, is the 2011 winner of the first ever Muslimah Beauty Pageant in Indonesia. The winner of the pageant was judged on her beauty, spirituality, and emotional intelligence - including talent in reading Qur'an!
The 24-year old entrepreneur, model, non-profit founder, and graduate student expressed her sincerest interest in attending the Fashion Fighting Famine 2012 Fashion Show this year, and although she won't be able to make it (, she took some time to chat with our staff about her fashion interest, non-profit activism, and more.
Dika Restiyani. Image: Kabar24.com
FFF: Tell us about your relationship with fashion! What made you pursue modeling, and how did you get started?
Resty: I've been dealing with the modeling world since I was 18 years old. I started my career as a Muslimah model. I wear hijab in daily life, even when I work as a model. I only pursue and accept modeling job that suit my personal dress standards.
I have loved fashion since I was a child. My mom always dressed me up and made me look very fashionable, and it definitely affected my fashion sense. I love the runway, the lights and cameras during photo-shoots, the impeccable design of the clothes I'm modeling - for me it's an art.
I participated in a general beauty pageant in 2010, before I participated in the Muslimah Beauty Pageant in 2011. The jury in that pageant told me remove my hijab, and I refused. The jury told me if I refused to remove my hijab, my points would be reduced, to which I responded, "It's okay if you want to reduce my points. I can't remove my hijab - this is my commitment to Allah." Needless to say, I lost that competition!
A year later, in 2011, I heard about a beauty pageant for women who wear hijab called 'Muslimah Beauty,' and after a rigorous competition, I am so proud to say that I won!
Continued The Muslimah Beauty pageant winner is known as a Muslim Fashion Ambassador, but has grown to encompass being an ambassador for halal products and Islamic lifestyle.
FFF: Tell us about your non-profit organization - what inspired you to start it, and what does it do?
Resty: I'm the founder of a non profit organisation named Pelangi (Peduli Anak untuk Negeri). Pelangi is a group of volunteers that provide basic education for children who don't have the opportunity to get their education from school. I was a deanlist student in my undergradute program at Bakrie University. The University gave me full scholarship and Rp 1 million each month. I was thinking of how to give back and share the knowledge that I got from school because I feel so grateful to Allah. When you give and share something, you may think you are just giving, but in actuality, you are receiving more in life. It's the happiness when you give and share something to others - it's priceless.
Dika Restiyani for SixteenR.com
FFF: Are you inspired by American fashion, and particularly Muslim-American fashion?
Resty: Yes, I'm very inspired by Muslim-American fashion, especially for my casual looks. Muslim-American fashion is very comfortable to wear and fits in to my personality and lifestyle, since I'm always on the go. I love that it's cutting edge, and yet simple and stylish.
FFF: What sparked your interest in Fashion Fighting Famine? Do you have anything you'd like to say to our readers?
Resty: I'm very interest in Fashion Fighting Famine because it's not only about fashion, but also about giving to others. I'm in love with fashion and social activities. And I think Fashion Fighting Famine has the same vision and mission as Muslimah Beauty. That's why I really want to go there and meet all of you!
I'd like to tell your readers that beauty is about how our existence can be valuable for others. The richest person in the world is the one who give the most to others. Much love from Indonesia <3
We can't wait to have Resty join us at one of our future events! You can tweet Dika here
and also check out her YouTube channel
- be sure to show her some love!
Style Network's fabulous star & host of "How Do I Look?"
Jeannie Mai voiced her support for Fashion Fighting Famine's 2012 Fashion Show today! This daring fashionista won't be able to make it to our event this year, but we hope to have her genuine, vivacious, and philanthropic spirit at our events in the future. We love you Jeannie Mai
and thanks for the support!
Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week 2012 was stage to several new trends, color schemes, and
designs. However, aside from the expected showcase of the future of fashion, a few blocks away in New
York’s Tribeca District, the first Muslim modeling agency was launched.
Opened by Muslim designer, Nailah Lymus, this agency named Underwraps, strives to allow Muslim
women to model fashionably while staying within the Islamic limits of modesty.
Furthermore, Lymus hopes to encourage tolerance and awareness of Islam while also bridging the gap
between modesty and mainstream fashion.
We can’t wait to see how Underwraps promotes tolerance and inspires other Muslims in the fashion
Check out this
article from Glamour.com
to find out more about this new institution in New York! And this website
gives a visual overview of what Underwraps is all about!
Also, keep a lookout for a Spotlight post on designer Nylah Lymus' line, Amirah Creations.
A recent article on Women's Wear Daily
made us think twice about a concept we've always taken for granted: the shade we know as "nude."
"Tara Raines, a 31-year-old African-American psychologist in Los Angeles, said she spent years searching stores for her shade of nude undergarments, which she describes as “between [traditional] nude and black.”
She decided to launch the online campaign after she recently learned that for more than 30 years, her mother, family members and friends have been dyeing store-bought bras brown that were originally purchased in blush and buff-tone shades."
That the politics of race involved our very underwear never occurred to us, but we are very inspired by Tara's new social media campaign on Facebook, titled, "What's Your Nude?
" Go check out her awesome efforts and "like" her page - we did!