Kiwi Muslim designer launches clothing line inspired by religion video

MAHVASH ALI/STUFF

Her designs are conservative, but her ambitions are not.

Kiwi Muslim designer Farheen Hajira said her new line of modest fashion, inspired by religion, would have global appeal.

​"Fashion is not about skin showing, it's about style. I want to show the world even covered women can have trendy clothes."

Farheen Hajira says ultimately it is how you carry yourself that makes you fashionable.
MAHVASH ALI/STUFF

Farheen Hajira says ultimately it is how you carry yourself that makes you fashionable.

Hajira, 35, said word-of-mouth had proved the most potent form of marketing and she was already inundated with orders for her company F&F Creations.

She said modesty was for everyone and her customers were not just Muslims.

"Ultimately it is about how beautiful a design is and the most important thing is how you carry yourself."

Modest fashion is not just for Muslim women, Farheen Hajira says.
MAHVASH ALI/STUFF

Modest fashion is not just for Muslim women, Farheen Hajira says.

Hajira said she aimed to have her designs in New Zealand Fashion Week within five years. But it was the ramps of of New York, Paris and Milan that the mother-of-two aimed for.   

The woman, who wore the Hijab, said she was confident her conservative but unorthodox apparel would win over the fashion capitals of the world.

She left her high-flying job as a production manager for one of the country's top designer brands in July.

"Ultimately it is about how beautiful a design is and the most important thing is how you carry yourself."
MAHVASH ALI/STUFF

"Ultimately it is about how beautiful a design is and the most important thing is how you carry yourself."

The former nine-to-fiver said climbing the corporate ladder had not been easy.  

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She arrived from India in 2003 with a degree in fashion design, but no one gave her a job that matched her qualifications.

"I started work as a sewing machinist and it took me years to prove myself."

She said she felt something was missing.  

"[When] I got a top position and I was like 'what next? Is this it?' I had worked hard, but I wanted to do more."

And then she saw Indonesian designer Dian Pelangi's designs with hijabs. The designer was recently featured on the runway of the New York Fashion Week.

"That was my biggest inspiration. I thought this can be done. It gave me confidence."

In a "nerve-wracking" move, she handed in her resignation to launch her own brand.

"I knew there was no going back after that."

Hajira said she had been approached by other companies, but luring her back to the corporate life was near impossible.

The designer planned to have her own outlet, but for now she had converted her daughter's pink bedroom into her workshop.

"She is not very pleased about it, but she is a good kid. She understands mummy needs to do this."

 - Stuff

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