Ever since she exploded onto the fashion blog scene Naballah Chi has made a name for herself as a fashion forward hijabi. The island girl from Trinidad and Tobago explores culture and heritage through modestly fashionable clothing, her aim to bring out ones individuality through the comfort of the hijab and fashion.
M: What makes you feel most comfortable with your hijab?
N: I’m honestly comfortable with my hijab no matter what I do. I think I’ve came to conquer being confident in hijab, no matter what the circumstances are, being around other confident Hijabi’s makes me feel right at home.
M: Why have you chosen fashion to express your style?
N: Fashion is something I was born into, so it comes natural. My parents both worked in fashion. My dad was a fashion designer and my mom is an avid fashion designer/seamstress. Being involved in fashion is being engulfed in my natural element…it brings me all kinds of happiness. Fashion has also inspired my life in so many ways, namely to take my natural creativeness far beyond what I think I am capable of achieving.
Style is thus born when I am able to be creative and personalize my pieces, through the conscious arrangement of colours, shapes and movements in an artistic manner, while wearing clothes that fit my lifestyle. My style is a reflection of my personality. It is only when I become creative, then can I become consequently stylish. So in a nutshell fashion enhances my creative ability in expressing who I am.
M: Who are you most inspired by?
N: There is no particular person who inspires me. My inspiration is my life as every aspect of my life has taught me how to rise beyond any circumstance, no matter how hard I fall.
M: How do you feel about the Hijab being expressed through the media?
N: I believe the increasing power of the media to define Islam and aspects of Islam, such as the hijab, causes tremendous negative associations with hijab. As a result, people view hijab as oppressive, because the media, which is supposed to be the peoples trusted source, falsely tells them that hijab is oppressive.
Also most people don’t take the time out to educate themselves on the concept of a woman dressing modestly and what Hijab means to Muslims. Hijab is contrary to images that we are bombarded with where women wear little clothing and expose their bodies in the name of freedom, therefore some people see hijab as taking away a woman’s freedom to choose what to wear, how to live etc. Hijab is meant to free us as individuals and reinforce honouring of the Muslim identity not hold us as prisoners to ideal beauty standards and scrutiny.
M: Why do you choose to explore the hijab?
N: As a hijab stylist, hijab is now a social enterprise that introduces me to business savvy entrepreneurship and stylish flair; essential skills for any modern Muslim female pioneer. Muslim women, young and old are always looking out for new ways to incorporate fashion into the way they wear their Hijabs and so Muslim fashion enthusiasts and professionals like myself have found innovative ways to blend both modesty and style, without having to sacrifice the basic elements of what constitutes Islamic dress or the basic elements of fashion.
Being a trendy hijab stylist is how I explore hijab in today’s society. Fashionable hijab has spread vigorously throughout the Islamic world and in some cases in the non-Islamic, as non-Muslims can occasionally be spotted donning headscarves and Islamic-inspired wear for modest fashion. I’m not a gatekeeper between my hijab styles and the general public, because I know my work is surely a way to inspire other women to share their talents and to empower themselves through a positive turn on self-esteem.
M: Why is there a rise of hijab fashion with modern society?
N: The rise of Hijab fashion redefines what it means to be a modern Muslim woman and now I can enthusiastically flex my marketing muscle in the world of fashion- something that didn’t exist a couple of years back. Having an online hijab store, or even a brick & mortar store, with an array of designs shows that Hijab fashion is empowering Muslim women economically.
I think that Hijab in today’s society has done enough to empower Muslim women and change attitudes towards Muslims in general. In today’s global competitive market, hijab fashion is evolving and one of the utmost advantages of fashion is the development of one’s individuality. When you become confident you can do bold things in the society you live in and as a result you experience inner happiness.
Find out more about Nabballah Chi fashion through her blog