Interview with Hira Ali

Interview with Hira Ali

Today’s blog post is a pretty interesting one. Well, it was definitely an interesting one to put together. A few weeks ago we had reached out to a young blogger, Hira, also known as thedreamingali on Instagram. We had originally asked if she would be interested in collaborating in which she gracefully agreed, however, her response shook our entire team to say the least.

For those of you who don’t know, the terms of a collaboration are usually done with an exchange of payments or the giving of free products, a review of the products are then given online in return. This is a great way for many small businesses to promote their product and for bloggers to make an income doing what they love.

The response Hira gave us shocked us because it was one that we’ve never received in the past. After she so kindly agreed to collaborate, she mentioned that she would like to pay for the hijabs we send her (whaaaaaat?!?!). So not only would this lovely human being help us market our products but she offered to pay for them as well (we literally thought we were being punk’d).

We decided to have a chat with Hira so we could better understand her reasoning and why she offered to do something most folks don’t even think about.

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m currently a junior at Fashion Institute Technology (FIT) and I’m majoring in advertising and design. I tend to focus on campaigns and visuals that deal with a mission for social change, I like to use fashion to speak about social issues, it’s what I’m passionate about. I got into the blogging world because I’ve always had in interest in fashion. Growing up I was the only Muslim in my school so I wasn’t able to dress the way I wanted to in fear of being bullied. Sharing my world on Instagram allows me to keep up with my creative side and allows keeps me grounded in my religiosity.

  1. How do you feel about the current state of the modest fashion world?

I’m not completely content with it because of the lack of diversity. It’s unfortunate to see the modest fashion world has an ideal image as well- light skin models who dress very similarly, it’s all about the aesthetics. It isn’t authentic.

  1. When we had asked if you’d like to collaborate you agreed but you offered to pay for the hijabs- why is that?

 If I’m promoting something on my Instagram, its going to be products I completely stand by. I truly believe in Veiled Beaut’s mission; I believe it’s important for people to understand there are companies out there who are creating the change we ultimately want to see and we should be supporting them.

  1. Why do you think your response surprised us?

I was surprised you were surprised!

  1. Do you feel like bloggers/influencers have a greater responsibility than the average lay person on Instagram?

 Honestly, yes. So many people follow them and if they’re recommending something then people are going to use their own money to purchase these products. They need to be aware of their audience and not just go with the companies that are going to pay them the most.

We’d love to hear your thoughts! What did you learn? What surprised you the most? Leave a comment below! 

The Truth About the Modest Fashion Industry

The Truth About the Modest Fashion Industry

This is a topic I’ve been trying to avoid for many months in hopes of one day accepting the harsh realities of this so called “Modest Fashion Movement.” However, as time goes on I cannot in good conscience allow my heart to become numb to this highly materialistic environment.

Truth is, I’ve toyed with the idea of letting go of my hopes and dreams because I felt as if my heart was not strong enough to endure the constant state of disappointment. Hence, why I haven’t been as present on social media. After many months of prayer, speaking with my loved ones, and the constant renewal of my intentions, the answer was clear; I’m not done yet and if I were to quit now I know I would regret it in the future. You see, we can complain about all of the issues which surround this industry, but if we’re not working towards the change we would like to see, then do we really have a right to be dissatisfied in the first place?

Although there are so many things that I’d like to see change, I’ve listed the key points below in which I want everyone to be aware of (as well as the good that exists!).

  1. This is an extremely competitive market for a start-up. I receive dozens of emails on a daily from people asking for advice when it comes to starting their own business and I tell everyone the same thing- do your research. Everyone knows the biggest form of marketing in today’s high tech world is through social media. However, the issue arises when we’ve handed the power of PR to a select few. Unfortunately, the reality is that if you’re not willing to pay those select few $200-$600 for a sponsored post, you’re not going to get the PR in which you desire.

 

  1. I see far too often the standards of western fashion being mimicked by the same influencers who are supposedly our role models in the modest fashion world, and apparently you all feel the same. We conducted a poll on our social media about your issues with the current state of this industry and almost everyone responded with similar comments stating the unrealistic displays of fashion and affordability.

 

  1. There’s a lack of emphasis on a balanced lifestyle. It’s perfectly alright to desire or have luxurious items, but the problem which stems from the constant promotion of only the good things in life paints a detrimental false reality our youth strive towards. Nowadays, influencers partner up with each other to giveaway a $1500 Gucci bag- that just goes to show you the reality of what I’m referring to. There’s less of an emphasis on supporting our small businesses and more of a push to support large corporate brands but really, what are we gaining from further pushing the agenda of individuals who are completely devoid of any real intention to change this industry to be more inclusive of its Muslim consumer? As I mentioned before, wanting or having nice things is not the issue. Every individual has the right to choose what they do with what they’ve been given. The issue arises when materialism is the only thing we’re promoting.

 

  1. The Muslim influencer/blogger world is increasingly becoming more and more cliquey. It’s emotionally and mentally draining to be in an industry in which only a select few control. If you want a seat at the table, then you must be willing to give up some of your personal morals and values because only then will you truly be able to further push the western agenda and idea of fashion. When I was first exposed to this truth I had a difficult time coping with its reality. I came into this industry thinking the support would be vast, but after a couple years I’ve come to realize that support is rare. I thought the whole purpose of what we’re doing is to create platforms which is inclusive of everyone, however, the harsh reality is that exclusiveness is much more common to find.

 

With all this being said, there is good that exists. I’ve benefitted in so many ways I never thought imaginable. Anything from meeting wonderful people who are just as passionate about doing good in the world, to seeing personal growth and development in myself. Needless to say, I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t pursued this path of uncertainty. Social media has done wonders for communication and small businesses. What I described above is merely just a consequence of being in this industry, as each industry has its own fair share of ups and downs. On the upside, I firmly believe that with advocacy and a positive attitude things can change for the better for the years to come.

I will continue to do what I do because I truly believe in it and I know God has a plan for me as well. Everything that we do is for you all, so if there’s ever a way we can better serve you, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Thank you for reading this rather lengthy post, I hope it was able to give you a little insight into our world. Please keep our little VB family in your prayers!

 

Best,

Sana Mahmood

Founder & CEO of Veiled Beaut