NH: Fashion to me is an expression of creativity in the art of dressing. I joined the fashion industry because being a Muslim woman, I did not see much of the fashion industry representing clothing in a way that would help Muslim woman or encourage modest fashion. Seeing how Muslim women dress, combining traditional styles with new trends of the west, and being original and owning their own style, was very inspiring! Now living in Singapore, I see girls wrapping the headscarf in really cool original ways, wearing loose harem pants, with flats and loose draping shirts. Its all different and new...and very exciting! Modest fashion is niche, but it is very fresh and original. It's about time we share with the world how cool it is and that it empowers us. ;)
FFF: What challenges have you faced?
NH: Challenges that I have faced are people not understanding the concept of sixteenR.com. They either feel that it amusing that a Muslim woman is empowered by her scarf and sense of style or that because a Muslim woman is interested in fashion, it is provocative and wrong. But every obstacle can only make you stronger and force you to be more creative in how you express your views. Allah only knows what our intentions are and with that, we'll keep doing what we're doing.
NH: Our designs are not typically what you see in scarves. We design the scarf thinking of how it would look as a headscarf, not just as a neck scarf. We want the images and words to make a statement, or the colors and patterns to be bold and funky. We have a lot of new designs coming that we are excited to share inshaAllah (God willing).
FFF: What charitable efforts are you passionate about and how are you involved in them?
NH: I have worked with One Laptop Per Child in the past as well! That's why we were so excited that this year FFF is donating to OLPC! We wanted to start OLPC in Bangladesh, but it required us to start the entire program from ground up (which is a HUGE task), so we started off by donating computers to orphanages in a few villages. The plight of children always draws me to them. Whether it be working children, children in jail, hungry children... they are just kids. They need our help and we should help them. We donate to Save the Children Bangladesh which works on programs to empower the young minds.
FFF: What are your favorite stores to shop at?
NH: I love shopping at Zara for their casual elegance. I love H&M for the cool designer collaborations and affordable fashion. I also love TopShop for their super unique jewelry. I am starting to design my own clothes. Once I get the hang of that, we may introduce that in sixteenR!
FFF: What is your favorite piece from your latest collection and why?
NH: The headphone scarf is my favorite. I designed it keeping in mind how others would perceive a Muslim woman. I've had a lot people say some "interesting" things to me, while I was wearing a headscarf. I wonder if they would have acted differently if I wore the headphones scarf?
FFF: What is one piece of fashion advice you swear by?
NH: Have style. Don't know what it is? Figure it out. A woman with style, is a confident woman, and it feels amazing to be stylish and confident.