Would you say that there is a demand for more women like yourself, to appear in mainstream media? Why would you say this is?
I feel it's just as important to have diversity behind the scenes in mainstream media as well as on screen. Many focus on being the face of something but if we don't have people of diverse backgrounds with a different outlook actually creating the opportunities in the industry, it's still a battle trying to get in to be involved.
What do you think the importance is of creating clothing that is suitable for Muslim, hijab wearing women?
I think now more than ever there are so many options for women who choose to dress modestly. Whether that's from the modest fashion industry or mainstream because right now the trend appears to be rather modest!
Do you think that the fashion industry as a whole is quite marginalising to Muslim women, and women with specific dress requirements?
In regards to dress, again I feel there are options for us however it's about having the correct marketing around it to target a wider audience and working with people from all backgrounds to support the message of inclusivity and display the options of clothing and styling for a variety of people.
Have you found that there is a divide within Muslim audiences? Do you find that a lot of women are worried about the coming together of high fashion and religion? For these concerned audiences, how would you explain this meeting of fashion and religion?
I feel there are blurred lines on how acceptable the movement of ‘modest fashion' into mainstream fashion is and also the many different opinions on what is considered the correct dress code for Muslim women. With grey areas in religion, it's always easy to find misinterpretations and different understandings.
Islamic fashion is really taking off right now, where do you see these fashions going. Do you think that hijab and abaya wearing women will be able to find clothing to suit their needs in mainstream, high street shops eventually?
In regards to women who choose specifically to wear abaya, through my conversations with mainstream brands I don't see many ranges such as the Dolce and Gabbana abaya and hijab range setting off everywhere. I feel brands still have their own branding and style to consider and an abaya may not fit into their brand.
You mentioned in your TedxTeen talk ‘Changing the Face of Fashion', that with the Dolce and Gabbana fashion line, we may observe a woman who is perhaps not completely representative of the demographic for the line. Aside from this particular brand, do you find that it is plausible that there are brands out there who would simply seek to branch out into Islamic fashion, simply because it is a growing industry?
I definitely see brands seeking out promoting modest fashion as a growing industry with money and longevity. As hijab is a religious obligation for Muslims, it's not something that can become a passing by trend as it's something we always need to consider in our wardrobes. I don't consider myself overly sensitive so if I see white models being used to promote modest wear targeted at non white regions, it only becomes a point of discussion when they are still the ONLY models being used despite the variety of diverse models out there.
What you are doing is incredible, and is giving young women and girls someone to look up to that is really changing the ‘game' in fashion. Have you found that you have come up against a lot of adversity in your choice to take on the fashion world?
I certainly have which is why a lot of work I did within the fashion scene was as a speaker and behind the scenes to attempt to open minds who were (and still are) completely new to the concept of modest fashion. I had brands say they will want to work with me when it was ‘relevant' which feeds into the tokenism of models being used from diverse backgrounds. The scene certainly is improving however slowly and I look forward to my journey as a model and much more!
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us Mariah!