Meet The Brand: Sixteenrscarves

Nancy Hoque is a trailblazer looking to empower hijabis worldwide with her brand Sixteenrscarves.

Nancy Hoque is a trailblazer looking to empower hijabis worldwide with her brand Sixteenrscarves.

When I first started wearing hijab in 1994 in New York City, I have to say we did not have any options for hijabis other than a plain black triangle hijab. It was a very challenging time for a hijabi to have any sense of style, let alone think about hijab style or hijab fashion as a stand alone concept. I remember having to make the trek from Queens to Brooklyn to even find a hijab that had any color in it or wait until the Muslim Day Parade came around in the late spring. I am so glad that times have changed and we have wonderful designers who have taken the time from their lives to help enhance the wardrobes of hijabis every where!

One such designer is Nancy Hoque, the whiz behind the hijab brand Sixteenrscarves. If you are a hijabi who doesn’t follow the pack (but which hijabi really does?) then this is the brand for you. Her designs are artistic, yet very wearable. Considering the ethnic mix here in the Bay Area, I can see a hijabi hipster totally rocking a scarf from her brand in the Mission right here in San Francisco. I got to meet with Nancy and ask her a few questions to get to know the woman behind the brand. She is just a lovely woman mashallah and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us lucky hijabis next. Here is my interview with Nancy. Read on for more about the brand, how she got her start as a designer, and what every hijabi should have:

1) What does the name sixteenrscarves stand for?
I used to live on the corner of 16th and R street in Washington DC. Thats where sixteenR came from.

2) How did you get into design and modest fashion?
When I started wearing a headscarf and even before that, I always tried to dress modest and have it look cool at the same time. I’ve always been into the arts, sketching almost everyday, painting, creating crafts. I would flip through fashion magazines and be inspired by the different ways women can dress. Of course the way Muslim women approach dressing is very different from how we see dressing presented in the mainstream fashion world. That aspect of this “under ground” modest fashion movement which has been underway with Muslim women the last 5 years is what inspired me to start designing and create sixteenR.

3) What is the most important piece of advice about design that you have received?
Knowing what type of material you use for a scarf is really important. Whether or not it is easy to wrap or not.

4) If you could collaborate with any designer who would it be and why?
This is a really hard question because I love too many designers! I would collaborate with Prada, because I love their creativity on how they present their clothes. They look into the past and take certain design elements, but their designs end up looking into the future. I also love Diane Von Furstenburg. Her story and stance on feminism is very inspiring and would totally be awesome to work with.

5) What are your top 3 essentials that every hijabi should own?
1. Under scarf. Either a headband or inner scarf.
2. A hair band to tie the hair.
3. A lot of self-confidence

6) If you could dress anyone, who would it be and why? (could be someone who is not alive)
I would love to do a photoshoot with Yuna Zarai and style her. I would also love to dress Ibtihaj Muhammad or Nour Tagouri.

7) What part of our faith that inspires you the most?
The part where it teaches you to be confident with your faith despite what others may think or say. The part that encourages to connect with your Muslim sisters and be a part of the community and to contribute.

8) You’re not only a fabulous designer, but a mom too. How do you balance work and family?be
Time management and going to bed really late. 🙂 My family supports me and gives me time to work. Otherwise it would be impossible to do. I am blessed allhumdulilah.

9) What is one thing your fans may not know about you?
I’ve lived in 5 different cities, in 3 different states, in 2 different countries the last 5 years.

10) What beauty product do you swear by?
Black pencil eyeliner.

Follow Friday: Marwa Atik

Marwa Atik

Marwa Atik, the designer behind Vela Scarves is a mix of rock and roll chic with easy California style.

Salaams my lovelies and jumuah mubarak! As you know, Friday, I try to do a Follow Friday post on an Instagram account that I love to follow. Since I realized that it seems like I am obsessed with hijabis from the UK, I decided to feature an American hijabi this week! I want to introduce you readers to Marwa Atik. Marwa Atik is the designer behind the beautiful hijab line called Vela Scarves. Born to parents of Syrian and Turkish descent, Marwa realized that she wanted to design scarves when she would doodle scarf designs during her nursing classes. Luckily for all of us, she switched majors and is now taking classes in Fashion and Merchandising.

Marwa has two Instagram accounts. The first, @velascarves is her line’s official account and features not only her eclectic style, but also a variety of hijabis who wear her scarves that are affectionately called “Vela Girls”. One of my favorite Vela Girls is aspiring news anchor Noor Tagouri.

Marwa Atik’s personal Instagram account is @marwa_atik. This account is all Marwa and shows you a sneak peek into her life as a busy designer, diligent fashion student, and hijabi on the go. I love checking out her account for the latest on ways to mix edgier pieces. Plus, she has a professed love for old school rap. How can you not love her? As a non glamorous mom, it is always nice to see a hijabi who can always look amazing (even when sleep deprived) so that I can get some inspiration for myself to get out of my easy jeans and into something a little bit cooler. Check out Marwa Atik and her gorgeous hijab designs and let me know what you think.

Online Shopping Review: Abaya Addict

Abaya Addict Solidify

Abaya Addict Makes Amazing Clothing for Hijabis

Salaams my lovelies! I hope you are having a great week. With the Bay Area heating up to almost summer temperature, I really can’t complain. However, when it comes to what to wear, I never know quite what to wear. I want to look nice, but I also want to be comfortable too. I always end up in jeans or a maxi skirt, but I always feel too hot in jeans with this nice California weather and maxi skirts get annoying because most of mine need a lining. I just want a piece of clothing that I can slip on and go and do my thing!

Luckily for me, Abaya Addict has the perfect pieces that look stylish, but are made with comfort in mind. I ordered the Solidify Abaya in Caramel in a Medium size. I wish I could say more about the shipping, but I think I had the unlucky timing to order my items when the force behind Abaya Addict was ready to deliver her baby! I will say that the customer service is superb because even though I had a few ordering issues, once they realized my items had not shipped, they just shipped it along with extra scarves! I had originally ordered a Solidify in Denim, but that piece was no longer available so they asked me to pick another one. I am glad when it came because it fit well. It was modest, well tailored and can be dressed up or down. I dressed my abaya up with a sparkly belt when I headed out to halaqa last week. All the ladies kept asking me where I got my abaya from. Thank you Abaya Addict!

I also like how I can wear this to my office and make it a part of my work wardrobe. I would just throw a blazer on top. It literally is a piece you can wear a million ways and if you feel lazy like I do sometimes, you can just throw it on by itself and go.

I wore one of Abaya Addict’s hijabs yesterday in the California heat and it was so lightweight that I didn’t get my usual headaches from the heat. Plus, the print was so festive that everyone in my office stopped and commented on how nice the hijab looked too.

This online shopping destination is one that any stylish hijabi should visit. Once you do, let me know what you think.

Follow Friday: Dina Toki-O

Dina Toki-O

Dina Toki-o has a funny sense of humor, but is stunning in her high fashion ensembles.

Jumah mubarak my lovelies! I know today is a tough and somber Friday. I promise to write a post with some gravity soon. However, I wanted to brighten up your spirits with a very funny and very colorful hijabi that you should follow on Instagram. Known as Dina Toki-o to her fans, her Instagram handle is @dinatokio. Her actual name is Dina Torkia. She is biracial with an English mother and an Egyptian father. While some hijabi fashionistas are more serious, Dina pokes fun at herself and uses endearing terms like “bideo” and “blang blaang” to sort of poke fun at slang we all know and use.

While some hijabis may find her too irreverent, I think some of her hijabi extremes actually translates to striking ways to wear hijab. I sort of view her style as the Vogue extreme. While it looks stunning, it may not work for most women but can be translated into something wearable for the rest of us. She has a background in fashion and really started putting a focus on hijabi fashion after she did some coursework in textiles. No wonder she knows how to mix her fabric textures so well mashallah!

Regardless of what you think, I still think her Instagram snaps are just so visually appealing that even if you don’t like her style, you will still smile. Let me know what you think! As always, you can follow me @hijabilife.

Online Shopping Review: Shop Rayan

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As a hijabi, it can be challenging to find stylish modest clothing. Most chains carry maxi skirts or dresses, but they are either see through or have no sleeves.

Well the great thing about social media is that we can find online hijabi friendly clothing.

One line that is particularly stunning is Shop Rayan. I ordered their Minna dress shortly after Fashion Fighting Famine.

I will say that even though their line is not low priced, buying one of their dresses is far better than my wasting money on lots of stuff from the mall. The stitching and the bow belt really made the Minna dress pop!

I will warn my curvy hijabi readers to order a size up because I ordered a size small and it fit every where but my bust!
Well okay, it fit but you know you are in trouble when your Hubster takes a look at you and asks if you are wearing a dress intended for indoor versus outdoor use! I need to keep this stunner for dinners inside with the Hubs. 🙂

Next time, I will make sure to order a size up though so I can rock some more Shop Rayan soon inshallah.

Savvy Hijabi: Affordable Maxi Skirt

Peach Maxi Skirt

Hjabi Friendly Maxi Skirt

Spring is almost here which means hijabis are starting to tuck away their knee high boots and thinking about long, floaty, maxi skirts in colorful pastels. One of the things that is challenging for curvy hijabis is how to wear a pleated maxi skirt without adding extra bulk.

One way that curvy hijabis can sport the pleated maxi skirt is to wear a high waisted pleated skirt versus one that is pleated down to the hem. This way, you get graceful drapes below with pleats that define your hourglass shape. I found the perfect pleated maxi skirt at JCPenney from the Buffalo Jeans collection. Another bonus is that it is fully lined versus other maxi skirts that only have a mid length lining (I always find this to be super annoying). One thing to note is that this skirt still needs a slip because the lining is too sheer for hijabis.

For $35, I think this skirt is not just cute, but it’s a steal!

Winter to Spring

Winter to Spring

Get a head start on spring fashions with some of your winter pieces

Are you at a loss on how to transition to spring? Are you also on a tight budget? One easy way to transition to spring is to use pink accents to brighten up your winter neutral pieces. If you have a cute winter cardigan, pair it with an easy breezy maxi skirt and some spring shoes and you are ready to get out and enjoy spring!

Hijabi Obsession: Ombré

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I know that deep down inside I am a New Yorker (I love head to toe black) but ever since I moved to California, I have been embracing more colors into my wardrobe.

The sunny warm weather year round here makes it hard to wear black comfortably! So you can imagine that I rock a lot of lightweight layers when I get dressed every day.

One trend I am currently rocking is the ombré hijab. It makes it easy to rock different shades of the same color because the shades are all in the hijab! Perfect for busy moms like me who don’t have time to color coordinate all the time.

And yes, since its sunny here I love wearing a hat on top of my hijab. If there was a non dorky hijab with a brim attached, I would so rock it. Protecting your face and eyes are a must ladies (it helps you look younger too haha).

Try the ombré look and tell me what you think. It’s everywhere now. Head to H&M and pick one up now to try!

Hijabi Trend: Stripes

Outfit based on stripes

Hijabis can rock graphic stripes in style!

I am currently in love with all things Audrey Hepburn. I just loved her polished chic style. One thing she loved to do was wear classics but add her own twist to it. She would pair slim cropped pants with a nice boatneck top with graphic stripes and look instantly pulled together. Since I am more of a curvy body type, I did this outfit set with this in mind. I kept the graphic stripes, but I worked it with a nice dress nipped at the waist along with some wide leg jeans. I picked a dress shape similar to what a curvy starlet like Marilyn Monroe would wear but made it more modest with the wide leg jeans and the cropped white cardigan. Don’t worry about that rule on horizontal stripes. I feel like the smaller the stripes are, the more you can get away with. Plus breaking up those stripes with a jacket helps prevent the widening effect. Heels ensure you look less dumpy as well. I hate heels, but for challenging trends, heels definitely help.

PS: Am I the only hijabi who HATES skinny jeans??? I just feel like they are not modest enough for me. Plus, it makes everyone looked like a stuffed turkey (unless you are blessed with a slim frame like Audrey Hepburn).