Hip and Hijabi? Here’s a designer for you!

Hip and Hijabi? Here’s a designer for you!
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Hip and Hijabi? Here’s a designer for you!
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Updated 29 August 2015

Hip and Hijabi? Here’s a designer for you!

Hip and Hijabi? Here’s a designer for you!

Does Hijab become an obstacle for a Muslim woman to express herself through fashion? Ask Saudi designer Nabila Nazer and she will whip out some of the trendiest and coolest looks for a modest, modern woman. She says the purpose of her fashion venture is to revive modest yet fashionable clothing among the young generations of Muslim women. Her popularity and appealing designs vouch for her success in her honest ambition.
Nabila designs ready-to-wear Hijab wear, casual dresses, kaftans, abayas and evening/bridal gowns. Her clothes represent an empowering group of women who wish to align their spirituality with their personal style. Arab News had a chat with the pioneering designer, whose clothing line is as inspiring as she is:

Tell us about your brand.
I design for modern, modest women, for the new age businesswomen and students. It is for women who are up-to-date and open-minded, someone who is fashion forward and is always on the lookout for new things. She is modern yet modest and so is always looking for something to cover up, something that is easy and not hard to wear. At the same time, something that suits our weather.

What are the fabrics you use?
I always a.m. on the lookout for the most comfortable fabrics that are of very high quality. I use Italian cotton or 100 percent cotton — it’s very soft and comfortable. It is light in the feel but rich in the look. I travel a lot to get for my clients the best fabrics and prints. I ensure that it is high quality so that they can wear it all day long.

What is the inspiration of your designs?
Each of my collections is inspired by Saudi and Khaleeji women because I am one of them, although I do observe what people wear outside this region so that I can translate it into designs that suit our modest ways.
My latest collection is called ‘The Canvas Collection.’ I call it so because the canvas can be empty and you can paint it the way you feel. I was inspired by the fabric itself. It feels like it is hand-painted. The colors used in this collection include shades of blue such as rich blue, royal blue and baby blue; yellow, pink and off-white — the most important color.
How would you describe your collection — traditional or modern — and why?
I don’t describe my collection as traditional. It is modern even though it is modest. The new generation is always up to date and knows what is new because of social media. I always do modern designs in a classic way, not traditional. I like to be back to basics, something that reflects the 50’s old glamor style. I add handmade embroidery details using paper, crystals and stones so that each design is unique and is made here in Jeddah.

Who are your target customers?
I design for Saudi and Khaleeji modern women, starting from age 12 and up to women in their 40’s.

What is the price range like?
Prices depend on the fabrics and embroidery. The blouses start at SR300 and most cost around SR500. Those with embroidery and expensive fabric can cost SR800-SR1,000. Prices for embroidered abayas range between SR1,800-SR2,100, while the evening gowns can cost up to SR3,000.

What would you say to those who say the entire purpose of wearing Hijab is not to attract any attention whereas such beautiful and ‘fashionable’ clothes and abayas do anything but avoid attention?
i agree but the problem is people mix religion and tradition. The tradition here is to wear black plain abayas whereas the religion says that you shouldn’t be fashionable in a way that attracts the attention of men. In Jeddah, I believe you should be open-minded. We wear fashionable abayas between ourselves i.e. women. I can wear a trendy abaya when I am visiting my family and friends. But when I go out in public places where there are men, I don’t wear these fashionable abayas.
 What are the latest trends and fashions in Islamic clothing?
I would like to talk about Hijab here. Why do you call Hijab Islamic clothing? We should all wear this type of modest clothing. I design such clothes only to let the young generation want to wear it the modest way. You don’t have to show your legs to be fashionable and unique. You can be fashionable by covering up. You don’t have to be fashionable in front of men. You have to be stylish in front of ladies. I do this not to go all around and show people what you are wearing. What’s halal and what’s not — that is not for me to comment on.
How did you make a foray into the world of abaya designing? Was it by chance?
It wasn’t by chance. I decided to do modest clothing because eight years ago it was very hard to find nice clothing for this hot weather. I didn’t want to wear many layers or something from Zara or Mango that everyone wears. So I decided to make something unique and special that is also chic.

What is the most important tip you would give to a Hijabi fashionista?
The most important tip is: Simplicity equals elegance. Wear something simple and standout with your accessories, such as a bag. It’s hard to be elegant. Don’t overdo. Find what complements your body, skin tone and personality. Don’t go with the flow. No one can see your beauty if you don’t feel it.

Tell us a little more about yourself.
I graduated from KAAU in Jeddah with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and took several courses in Fashion Design from both Jeddah and London. I am currently pursuing MBA. My hobbies include drawing and designing. I also like sports, traveling and of course, shopping.

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