Monday, August 30, 2010

Hijabistas @ HijabiTopia Iftar Dinner

We had so much fun! Here are the pictures from our Iftar Dinner 2010.


The HijabiTopia Team

"This date smells so good, when can we eat?"

Hijabi Power x 30 +

Beautiful Smiles

Our Long Table

Ladies looking over the menu while the beautiful Natsiria looks over

It's all about Friendship !

Anequenetta - Happy As Always

                                                     Mary - Pretty Woman
                            Wearing the Comfijab by KAVAKCI COUTURE

"Would you like a cupcake?"

Morioh - The Hijabi Barbie

Elif & The Stylish Hijabi - Rula Rabah

Thank you all for coming!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friends of HijabiTopia Iftar

The HijabiTopia Team recently hosted an Iftar dinner for it's fans and readers.  We had an amazing turn out, over 30 beautiful hijabis showed up, in their fashionably stylish outfits. 

Nicole Queen organized the beautiful dinner. Her creativity shined through as always. She designed customized Ramadan Mubarak cards and thanked all the fans for attending. Each guest also enjoyed a fresh cupcake made specially by Nicole.  The guests devoured the butter pecan and chocolate cupcakes that she spent the whole day baking.

We had an amazingly delicious dinner, and got to mingle with everyone and meet new friends.

Everyone that walked in looked like they jumped out of the pages of an Islamic magazine.  We saw amazing styles, and will post them soon, once Nazreen edits all the pictures. Nazreen ended up volunteering to take the pictures while our photographer Nicole took a break from having to do the job at every event :-)

The stylish Rula Rabah was one of the guests, and you will have to see what she wore, she looked stunning!

We also got the pleasure to meet a brand spanking new hijabi! We will tell you about her in more detail soon...

After the dinner, we all drove to pray taraweeh prayers together. We spent a wonderful evening full of the Ramadan spirit from the moment we all broke our fasts. We shared food, enjoyed delightful conversations, and took the time to meet the new faces attending the dinner. As I looked across the table, I saw happy ladies who were laughing and having a good time with other hijabis. It felt so magical and so empowering to be able to connect through one main commonality, being Muslimahs.

We were all in total bliss in HijabiTopia!

Thank you all for coming, and for those of you who could not attend, we will have many more events to look forward to.

Sending you all a big group hug and lots of love,

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Nicole's Famous Chocolate Cupcake

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Stuart Weitzman Avignon Peep Toe Pumps

I have a confession to make. I have been absolutely obsessed with the Nude Shoe Trend that has been popular for the last few seasons.

I've had neutral shoes in the past, colors close to camel, or light brown, and espadrilles that are off white or straw-color. But this trend is not your ordinary neutral. There is something so mesmerizing about nude patent heels, peep toes, and sandals that I just had to try it out.

Not being able to wear heels much on the streets of New York City, I've really missed it! I had to find an excuse to buy a new pair. When we had the HijabiTopia launch party, I thought, now's my perfect chance to join the nude-shoe band wagon. So I drove all over town trying to find the perfect nude heels that I could wear with different outfits. Ofcourse, I needed my best friends' immediate help. I texted Nicole and Nazreen, who happened to go by the mall. They took pictures of nude shoes that they saw at department stores. They sent pictures of several options that were available at different stores. Isn't technology amazing?

Then I finally saw the Enzo Angiolini, nude, high skinny heel peep toe sandals. They were perfect, but unfortunately they ran out of my size and I needed them asap, ordering them online was not an option.

The next day, I bumped into another pair of Steve Madden nude patent leather kitty heels. I was wanting a higher heel, but had to settle for the one I found.

I wore my nude heels with my black silk dress. There is something about applying contrast to your style. Black dress with nude heels is such a beautiful combo, it brings a freshness to the little black dress.

Nude heels are the perfect complement to bear legs, whether you wear a pencil skirt or short pants, or a short dress to an all girls party. However, they still look great on hijabified outfits. I tried the same look with my long black floor length dress, or even abayah. They definitely make an impact on your outfit.

Lately, I've enjoyed wearing them with my skinny jeans that are folded at the bottom. When you pair it with  a simple tee and skinny jeans, it adds class to your outfit, and takes it from ordinary to extra ordinary.

This is a trend that I will be following in winter as well. I've already seen nude patent leather boots, and nude suede peep toes for the upcoming fall season.

What do you think? Is this a trend you would like to try out?
Stuart Weitzman Nude Patent Leather Pumps

Here is one of my favorite runway looks with the Nude Shoe Trend...

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Monday, August 23, 2010

Howdy Y'all?

For those of you who are not from the south, Texas is famous for it's southern accent and it's southern slang.
In Texas instead of saying "how are you all doing" we shorten it and say howdy y'all!

Here is a real life Hijabi Texan Cowgirl look...

 I combined my hat with my comfijab (Comfortable Hijab - a KAVAKCI COUTURE design) my striped shirt and my wide legged jeans. In this picture it was around 116 degrees Fahrenheit outside, and in that heat I can not handle wearing my cowboy boots. So I decided to ditch those and replace them with my more feminine brown leather platform peep-toe sandals that have flower decorations on them. It's fun to mix and match styles.  These sandals softened the masculine look of the hat.

Are you ready to try the Cowgirl Look? Here are some tips.

Pick a cowgirl hat that you like at one of your local stores and try it on.  If you don't have a comfijab like I do, here are some tricks to make your hat and scarf look like it's a one piece. 

1.) Choose a scarf that will complement your hat, and will blend in with your hat. Stick to solid colors, if you have a straw hat similar to the one pictured below, I would suggest choosing a white or off white scarf. It would help if your scarf is of thin material and has no patterns on it.

2.) If  you are wearing a square scarf that is folded into a triangle, I would pin it under the chin, and pull my scarf back on top, to reveal a little bit of hair. Don't worry, I'm not going to ask you to show some hair. LOL. When you push  your scarf back, it opens the side of your face, allowing your hat and scarf to look like it's one complete piece. Once you've pulled your scarf back, put on your hat pushing it down to comfortably sit on your head.

3.) If you have long hair, it always helps to tie your hair in a pony tail, or a braid in the back. This allows your hair to be pulled back, and when you place the hat over your pony tail it holds it firmly in place. If it feels too tight, then you can loosen or lower your pony tail and try it again. I think this is a key when wearing hats, that way your hat is not "gone with the wind" when the wind blows it.

4.) If you have a long square scarf, I would again tie it in a way that your hair in the front shows a little bit, and pull back the scarf from completely covering your cheeks. And apply the hat in the same manner.

5.) Once you've got your scarf and hat on, I would make sure the ends of my scarf are completely tucked in to my shirt, or in most cases, to my sleeveless, high neck tee.

6.) Stay away from the Shayla, or the Amira hijab styles when you wear a hat! Don't overcrowd your look, keep it clean and simple!

Any questions? Drop us a line and we will solve your fashion dilemma!

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Living in Texas definitely changes you as a person. The south has its own aura about it. In the heat everyone is more relaxed, kicked back, and happier. (It might be because they are about to melt :-)

The Texas Size lifestyle where everything is bigger: bigger cars, bigger houses, bigger food portions (well, I don't know if the last one is that great?).

Today we finally got my 9 year old the cowboy boots she had been asking for. I didn't have cowboy boots when I was her age. I got my first pair a few years ago, and wondered why didn't I get a pair sooner.  The store we shopped at had such a huge selection of western wear for men, women and kids. We managed to get out of there with only one pair of boots and nothing else. Huge accomplishment I say! So in the spirit of "THE LONE STAR STATE" here is a Texan Cowgirl Hijabi Look I wanted to share with you.

Who says you can't wear anything you want and cooperate your hijab into it?

This lonely cowgirl has literally hit the road!

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Barefoot in Bagdad by Manal Omar

If you haven't already heard, well-known Muslim Women's Activist, and journalist Manal Omar has recently published a book called Barefoot in Bagdad. I've ordered the book and am eagerly awaiting its arrival. I can't wait to start reading it.

Manal has a special place in my heart. In May 02,1999 when my sister Merve Kavakci was prevented from taking her oath in the Turkish Parliament, Manal formed an organization named "Sisters United for Merve" and held hundreds of protests in Washington, D.C. I had talked with her over the phone and remained in contact through email. I could tell that she was a Super Hijabi by the way she fought for another sister whom she had never met.

Interestingly, with Allah's will, my sister ended up moving to Washington, D.C. Manal has been a close friend of hers ever since.

In May of 2010, just a few months ago, I met Manal Omar in person at my niece's graduation party in D.C. It was a wonderful experience to meet her in person, to see the powerful hijabi who doesn't just talk the talk, but walks the walk. A very inspiring personality, I'm looking forward to reading her memoirs of living in Baghdad.

Below is a clip of Manal on MSNBC's Morning Joe interview.  Barefoot in Bagdad is available on, and

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Burqini Sale !!!

In case you didn't notice, always has a burqini sale during Ramadan. If you were waiting to get one this is the perfect opportunity. They only do it once a year. So don't miss it!

All of us at HijabiTopia have a burqini and we love it! There are many copies out there that we really don't like. This is the one and only original burqini designed by our favorite designer Aheeda Zanetti. They ship international and it usually arrives within 5 days. The fit is great, the color options are wonderful. They also have amazing customer service. So go for it ladies! Or shall we say, take a dive for it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Nautical Stripes Trend

One of my favorite trends for the summer that never goes out of style is the Nautical Stripes trend.  I absolutely love the combination of white and navy.  It's a casual but classic look. It has a feeling of tranquility because it is a signature of "resort wear".  I love wearing my nautical stripes with jeans, or white pants.  I make sure to add a touch of color with an acessory. Most of the time it's something red-- a bracelet, a hat, a purse, but something red. It's all about the perfect combination of red white and blue, the American in me, I guess :-).

Here is an urban hijabi look. She's out and about in New York City.

So how do you like this looklet hijabi?

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

To Wear or Not To Wear? It's not a question!

I wanted to share with you a few thoughts...  First of all, we formed this blog so that it could provide a support system and a fun environment for hijabis and those who choose to dress modestly. 

Over the years, through my writing, I have been able to reach millions of readers.  Before I started writing for HijabiTopia, I was a fashion writer for ZAMAN - the Turkish daily news, and then transfered over to, where now I have a weekly column.

Also being an Islamic Fashion designer, I've had many ladies contact me about changing the way they dress, and leading a more Islamic life style.

Writing has allowed me to get to know so many new faces, and beautiful ladies, some who wear hijab, some who are in search of how to wear hijab, and others who know exactly what to do but can't take the first steps.

It has been fun to share experiences and support each other through spiritual changes in our lives.

I will now share with you some of my thoughts on hijab. For those of you who may not personally know me, I am not an extremist Muslim, and could never be one. I like to follow the sunnah of our Prophet (peace be upon him) about having balance in my religion. So therefore when I tell you my thoughts on this topic, I don't want you to think that I am some fundamentalist. I'm just sharing my thoughts on the way I feel.

I feel very passionate about hijab.  Alot of Muslims will state that it is an option to wear hijab. I am not one of those Muslims. I believe it is Fard (obligatory), because it is clearly written in the Qur'an that believing women must dress Islamically.

When people say it is a choice, it makes my blood boil. There is no question! To wear or not to wear hijab is not an option. If you love Allah and want to please him, you wear it. If you don't wear it, that is a decision you make as a Muslim, not a choice.

Now having said that, you are probably thinking "she hates all non hijabis, she sounds so extreme". Absolutelly not. I have many friends, those who wear hijab and those who don't.  Those who are Muslim, and those who are not.  I love them all equally. Whether they wear hijab or not does not affect my friendship with them.

But my closest friends are always the ones whose lifestyles, goals, and dreams are closer to mine.  I am encircled by those friends.

I'm not going to tell you that wearing hijab is easy! Untill it becomes a complete part of you, it's difficult to carry. Yes, we get hot! Yes, it gets itchy. Yes we would love to just tie our hair in a pony tail, throw on a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and flip flops and walk out the door. But do we, NO! And why don't we? To please Allah!

This Ramadan, I would like for you to think about that. If you haven't started wearing hijab, just imagine yourself in hijab. Imagine how happy it would make you feel to submit to an obligatory rule from the Qur'an.

Ramadan uplifts our spirits. It's the same kind of feeling when you wear hijab, except it's on a daily basis. Imagine what you would feel like in the beauty of hijab. When you close your eyes, try to get beyond your image, and how other people might react to it,  try to think of Allah, and try to think of all of us who are right there with you. Just like when you fast. You do the act  yourself, but millions of Muslims are doing it as well.

I could go on and on about this topic. We will have many discussions, and I would love to hear your comments, and your stories, whether you wear hijab or not. We love to have you as readers. Anybody and everybody is welcome.

I would like to dedicate the following video, "Not afraid to stand alone" by Native Deen, to those of you who are contemplating taking the first steps. I want to say "you're not alone". You have Allah by your side, through each and every struggle of wearing hijab, and you have us. We are all here to support you!

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Dear HijabiTopia Readers,

We hope you are having a wonderful Ramadan. I know for a few of my friends, this is your first Ramadan, and it's nice to hear that you are enjoying this new experience of fasting.

I just wanted to tell you that we will definitely have more fashion related entries. We're just trying to post more spiritual entries during Ramadan. Because it feels more appropriate.

We would love to hear your Ramadan Stories as well. We would be more than happy to post those on our blog.

Thank you for being a part of HijabiTopia :-)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Article on Ramadan

One of our readers Sonia Laflamme and her family were interviewed for an article on Ramadan.

Here is the link...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ramadan 2010

Ramadan is my favorite month of the year. The whole year it seems like I'm running around, rushing from one place to the next, getting stressed out just trying to make it each day.

In Ramadan I try to put my worldy life on hold as much as possible. It's the one month out of the year when I feel so peaceful, and at ease. I try to delay all  my appointments, and schedule my work and projects so that I can seize the month and enjoy the spiritual side of the month. 

This year, I feel like I was looking forward to Ramadan more than any other year.  Probably because I had such a stressful year of living in the city. It's hard to balance life and family. The last few months have especially worn me out physically and emotionally forcing me to simply hit the freeze button on my life. From the first day of Ramadan I have felt so content with my life.  I was no longer driving 70 miles per hour trying to get to my next destination.  I let life be, and let myself enjoy being closer to Allah.

There is this calmness that comes over me in Ramadan. All the little things I would stress about at other times, become so pointless. I'm a type A personality. Those of you who are like me will know how difficult it is to be a perfectionist. It feels like you can never reach your goals because you set them so high.

The other day I had to take my 4 year old someplace, and she insisted on picking her clothes as usual.  Normally I would make sure her top and bottom matched completely. This time I didn't bother, and it felt so good!

I feel like I have so much more time in Ramadan because I slow down my life. It's also ironic that not eating or drinking leaves me with more time. In a culture where cooking is all that we seem to do, I feel like I have all the time in the world when I'm not worrying about what to serve  for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

In our household we don't have guests over every single day. In Ramadan being able to make it to taraweeh everyday is a priority. Therefore, most of our friends know that we don't really like to go to iftar dinners, and if they are invited to our house, they know that we have to be out for taraweeh.

This allows us to really enjoy Ramadan fully. I think alot of times Ramadan in the Islamic culture ends  up being about non stop guests and 7 course meals. Which defeats the purpose.  Don't you think?

This Ramadan has felt so different for me. I feel like I'm going through a very big change in my life. Constantly thinking about what I can do to be a better Muslim. There is a feeling of content when you submit your life to Allah. Life just seems so easy. I wish I could be like this all the time. I wish this state of being would never end!

In the spirit of Ramadan, I would like to share with you one of my favorite songs. I listen to this song every time I drive. I think it's such a beautiful song that portrays the power of Islam..

Hope you enjoy it.

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Nazeel Azami "Rahmanur Rahim"

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ya Allah!

Here is one of my favorite Turkish Nasheeds .


Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Friday, August 13, 2010

Journey into America-The Challenge of Islam

Assalamu Alaikum ladies! Ramadan Mubarak! I am Nicole Queen and this is my first post on HijabiTopia, and look forward to many more Inshallah. You can also follow my other blogs at: I want to take a moment to share my thoughts (humbly) on this unique and ground breaking book, just released in July.  If you are reading this blog (I’m honored), stop whatever it is your doing and enlighten yourself with the first “good read” for all who desire understanding and acceptance of society, faith, and culture in the beautiful U.S.A.  After reading this I truly felt “proud to be an American” as well as a sense of pride in my faith of Islam (if the two could ever be bridged).  As a matter of fact that’s what this journey is all about, bridges…

Check out Ambassador Akbar Ahmed talking about his new book, "Journey into America" on The Daily Show!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Akbar Ahmed
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

I was lucky enough to be involved in this “Journey into America” when my dear friend Elif Kavakci (blog: HijabiTopia) invited me to photograph for an interview she was doing for Turkish publication, Zaman News. The article featured an America girl who was on an anthropological study of Muslims in America and also life in Muslim countries. 3Hailey was her name, and the curious tendencies of human beings are her game.  Hailey is a star pupil of the famed Professor\Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, of the American University in Cairo, and traveled with him and the rest of their group across several Muslim countries and then across her own homeland here in America. 

Elif Kavakci interviews Hailey Woldt

After photographing Hailey for Elif’s article, I was invited for dinner at the Kavakci home, where Hailey in turn would like to study into my own humble brain for the secret life of an American convert to Islam.  The Professor also attended and it was truly an inspiring evening to top all dinner invitations (in my book). 
Elif Kavakci, Hailey Woldt, Nicole Queen

The next day I met Hailey and Elif and the Professor, along with another star student manning a small camera, at a high end mall in Dallas.  Hailey wanted to perform a sort of anthropology experiment where the three of us would dress in all black conservative garments, looking like what most Americans view as extreme Muslims, with simple black scarves around our hair, and heavy black abaya’s.  This was an experiment she had tried before in a small town on her own (braver than me!) and was able to see a lot of shocked reactions from people, based on merely her clothing.  Honestly, I told Hailey “Hey this is Dallas, people aren’t shocked to see Muslims shopping in the mall, the mall is always full of Muslim women blissfully shopping. Elif and I only know this because it’s what we have heard…LOL”.  We continued on anyway just to see if we could catch a few uncomfortable glances from passersby, curious at our choice of garments.  Later that day I met with Hailey at the hotel they were staying at nearby and we engaged in conversation on camera, for their documentary, “Journey into America”. Which later, was further inscribed into the pages of this challenging novel, “Journey into America-The Challenge of Islam”
I’m not going to spoil it but this book is not your “run of the mill” political or social writings…

“Professor Akbar Ahmed turns his intrepid approach to cultural dialogue and inter-faith understanding onto American society, in this brilliant follow-up to “Journey into Islam”. His insights should be required reading for anyone grappling with national security, national identity and national cohesion in today’s complex era.” Colonel David Kilcullen, author of Washington PostBestseller and Economist Book of the Year, The Accidental Guerrilla
“I have not read a work as insightful, erudite, and innovative on the challenge of American identity since Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Akbar Ahmed sets a new paradigm in the ongoing debate on defining American identity.” Melody Fox, Berkley Center at Georgetown University

  In this book, you will follow the adventures of a group of enlightening students, as they themselves discover what it’s like to be a Muslim in the U.S., post 9\11. You had me at Chapter 1…it’s exciting right off the bat.  Un-Expectantly adventurous and even a little frightening, but only enough to keep you wanting more.  Here is a small preview:
Muslim Odyssey
"I had walked into an ambush. An aggressive sniper was positioned directly in front of me, with two equally effective sharp-shooters to my left and the obvious leader of the group facing me from the back row. Having been in charge of some of the most battle-hardened tribes in Afghanistan and Pakistan, I knew something about war tactics.  One lesson I had learned was to keep cool under fire.”
Showdown in a Mosque
“Where does one begin a search for American identity and it’s Muslim component?  The answer seemed obvious: in the nation’s heartland.  But what could be learned about America’s founding principles of freedom of speech and religious tolerance in a nondescript, almost shabby mosque in Omaha, Nebraska, where I now was?  Especially in the midst of a verbal ambush by an African American man wearing a typical Arab red-and-white checkered headdress, or kufiya, who looked as if he had come straight out of an orthodox mosque in Saudi Arabia.
Hearing my call for interfaith dialogue with Jews and Christians, the man stood up in a startling breach of mosque-not to mention Muslim- etiquette to challenge my interpretation of Islam.  “Good Muslims” could not talk to nonbelievers, he almost shouted.  The salvos continued, despite my well-founded explanation: Muhammad, the holy Prophet of Islam, had himself paved the way for such dialogue.  He had urged Muslims persecuted in Mecca to migrate to Abyssinia, a Christian country, because he anticipated they would be well received there once the natives of that land had met them and learned about Islam.  But, the man in Arab headdress snapped back, the Prophet had really intended those Muslims to convert the Abyssinians by force.”
“The next day the team interviewed people about Omaha’s Islamic center and community.  The four who had challenged me, they learned, had posted a fatwa (pronouncement) in the mosque before 9\11 calling for the killings of Jews and Christians and praising the deeds of Osama bin Laden. All four were converts to what is known as Salafi Islam, in the United States, a fundamentalist version of the faith influenced by Saudi Arabia. It purports to be an unadulterated and “pure” form of Islam that is incompatible with any modern Western ideas.”

I was honored to discover that excerpts from my interview with Hailey are featured in such an amazing collection of societal history.  I would have never had the pleasure of meeting Hailey and the Professor if it wasn’t for the selfless act of my dear friend Elif, mentioning to the group that I was also an American who had become Muslim…and that I had a story to tell.  I learn on a daily basis what true friendship actually means, it’s an ever changing definition, and one of my favorite addendums is “A real friend is excited to promote the smallest attributes in their close friends, even placing them before their own much more grand achievements.”  I thank God every day for my new “Friendship Philanthropists”, without I might have never seen it’s true meaning.  Below are a few passages from my feeble attempt at sharing something in this amazing book.  Once again I am so thankful to my dear friend for opening the door to conversation with Professor Ahmed and his star pupil Hailey.  Thank you to the Professor for hearing my words and illuminating them with such understanding and clarity.

Muslim Converts:  Shame and Honor in a Time of Excess
“Religious Conversion is a dramatic event in anyone’s life, no less than it was for Saint Paul on the road to Damascus.  It changes everything. Fashion photographer Nicole Queen of Dallas had arrived at just such a turning point, paradoxically, at the pinnacle of her career. She was standing next to Justin Timberlake, one of pop music’s icons, with cameras flashing.  The glare seemed to illuminate the world of vacuous celebrity that Nicole was part of.  Wasn’t there more to life than this?  At the suggestion of a Muslim friend, she watched motivational videos on YouTube and was impressed by Yusuf Estes, a white Muslim convert from Texas who was once a member of the Disciples of Christ Church.  Shortly after, Nicole converted to Islam.
“One of the reasons for her conversion, Nicole explained, was the excessive behavior of women who appeared to be without shame or modesty, especially in front of a camera: “Girls took off their tops, exposed their breasts, they were making out with each other-and they aren’t lesbians, but if a camera’s there "I’ll do it if you put it on TV.”…Do you think their parents are proud of that?…They want to show that stuff because that’s what people want to see.  How low can a girl go?  That’s what sells here.  They know what everybody likes; everybody likes to see the lowest point that someone can go.  People just want to make a dollar out of it; these are the morals of our nation, whether we want to face that or not.”
“For Nicole, conversion to Islam allows her to reaffirm her American identity. Once the heat and noise subside, it is American converts like her who can play an effective role in interpreting mainstream Americans and Muslims to each other.  By doing so, they are ideally placed to counteract the idea of a clash between the two.”
Reading this treasure takes you on an indescribable journey that truly awakens your mind, clears out cluttered thoughts, and focuses much needed attention on the gripping relationship of Americans and Muslims.  I truly home you will embark on this contribution to the vibrancy of American Islam.

Click below to get your copy of:

“Journey into America-The Challenge of Islam”


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Healing by Sami Yusuf

Our favorite singer Sami Yusuf just released a new song called "Healing". You can listen to it here:

Stylish Hijabi : Ms. Rula Rabah

Here is a beautiful hijabista that I met recently. I had to take a picture of her to share with all of you. Meet Rula Rabah... She is an Interior Design student at University of North Texas. She says her style is influenced by the United Arab Emirates where she used to live.  She mostly wears dresses, and likes to wear the Shayla style hijab.  In this picture Rula is wearing a black maxi dress that she paired with her denim bolero.  Her scarf is a one piece and she flipped it over on top to give it a dynamic look. Her neck does not show at all! She has a bright orange leather purse and gold ballet flats. She is actually also wearing a beautiful multi- colored stone ring on her right hand that has the same colors as her scarf. She is also expecting her first baby.

Let's give a shout out to Rula... Rulaaaa we LOVE your style, and you are a beautiful HIJABI!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Our favorite month of the year is here... We wish all of you a wonderful Ramadan.

Who's that Girl?

We promised  to reveal the identity of the girl pictured in the HijabiTopia Launch Party Look. You are wondering which one of the HijabiTopia Team members she looks like, am I right? Well, it's obviously not Elif, or Nazreen since they both have brown eyes. The girl in the picture does look awfully like Nicole, but not as gorgeous!

Then who could it be? Is it one of the guests? Yes it is. You are right on! It's none other than our own LOOKLET HIJABI!!!

She is a pretty girl isn't she?

Hope you enjoyed the mystery...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

HijabiTopia Launch Party Look...

We had promised you some exclusive pictures from the launching party.  Guess who showed up to the party dressed like this?

Who do you think it is, which one of the HijabiTopia Team members? Hint: look at the eye color!
We'll tell you who it is tomorrow...

This young lady really took the time and planned her outfit. Notice how her dress completely matches the background of the blog! When we said Launching Party, she really went out of her way to dress for the theme.  But as you can tell from the picture the flash went off right as she was saying "OMG!" (Can't believe you started the party without me).

Monday, August 9, 2010

It wasn't always a HijabiTopia...

Everyone has their own story of how, when, and why they started wearing hijab. I remember mine so clearly, almost as if it were yesterday.

My family and I had just returned from a visit back home to South Africa. It was our first time visiting since we left the country 5 years prior. We had a really good time, reuniting with the family, spending time with grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. We also did some touring. We took a long road trip to Cape Town, a place I'd never visited and toured the Garden Route. We also went to Durban and enjoyed the summery weather and the beaches. Our time there seemed so short and as it ended, saying goodbye was really emotional for me.

It had been my intention to cover my hair for a couple of years, I'd say. So, I thought that since I'd be starting junior high, I'd begin a new school, a new phase of my life, with a new look. Well it wasn't just about the look. For years I'd been wanting to cover. Everyone has their own reasons. I can truly say I decided to cover and wear hijab for God. No. It wasn't peer pressure. No. It wasn't because my parents forced me to. In fact, at the time, my mom didn't wear hijab herself.

Anyway, so we had come back from South Africa on a Sunday afternoon, and the following day would be the first day of school, the first day of seventh grade for me. On that Sunday I remember unpacking and getting ready for school the next day. I even remember an extended family member pulling me aside and to ask me if I really wanted to go through with this and cover, and that once I do it I can't take it back, and that it wouldn't be easy and that I would face adversity. That might have just made me want to cover even more.

I laid out my outfit for school the next day. I decided it would be wise to wear a warm-up suit, white with hot pink, that I had received as a gift in South Africa. You're thinking, hideous. Yes, when I think of it today, it surely was a tacky choice. What was I thinking?! And, to top it off, a hot pink scarf. Talk about trying to blend in with the crowd! Well, at least I matched!

The next morning I woke up early, got ready and went to school with my dad. As we entered the school, I hear a girl shout these words at me:

"Girrrrl, take that thang off yo' head! It ain't rainin'!"

My first day as a hijabi. Great, I thought. I can look forward to coming to this everyday.

I was the first one to wear hijab to that school. And I will be the first to admit that those junior high years were definitely rough. Adolescent teens were mean. They would pull my scarf off and make mean remarks. It would get me down a lot. But I guess what doesn't kill us definitely makes us stronger. And I always remembered that my purpose for wearing hijab was for modesty, yes, but ultimately it was for God, and insha'Allah, He will reward me one day for my endeavors.

Nazreen Hassan for HijabiTopia

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Exclusive Interview with Andrea Crouse

We had the pleasure of interviewing Andrea Crouse, hand bag designer for Kate Spade.
We are grateful to Ms. Crouse for taking time out of her very busy schedule to speak with us.
We met with Crouse in Manhattan's dynamic district of Chelsea. Crouse, a young, hip, New York City girl, is originally from Aimes, Iowa. She received her degree in Apparel Design from Iowa State University. After which she did a one-year study abroad program at the London College of Fashion, and has taken continuing professional courses at Parsons.

   Andrea Crouse "The Designer"

How did you decide you wanted to be a designer?

All my life I’ve loved drawing and by the time I was a teenager, I was very much into art and art history. When the time came to decide what to study in college, I really wanted to continue studies in art, but I thought fashion would be a more lucrative career in a creative field. Since that decision I became completely enthralled by fashion and haven’t turned back since! To be a fashion designer you are constantly drawing and sketching, working with color, materials and proportion. It’s a challenge to keep up with its pace, but that’s what keeps me interested. There will always be something more exciting to keep working for.

Why did you decide to be a handbag designer?

Once I learned how to sew in college, I was very excited by all the things I could make. I started to make hats and other accessories for my friends. I really liked the ease of not having to worry about fit - accessories can be much more sculptural. Handbags have also become far more interesting in recent years, and their importance in the market has skyrocketed.

So, how did your design adventure begin?

My internship in London was my first exposure to handbags. I was a design intern at Pauric Sweeney Bags, a small luxury fashion house that has since relocated to Florence. In 2007, I moved to New York. My first jobs were freelance design work: I worked for brands including Mexx, Oscar by Oscar de la Renta, Adrienne Landau and Kate Spade.

How long have you been working as a designer for Kate Spade?

I started two years ago as a freelance designer, then took a position as a technical designer, and have since worked my way into the handbag design team.

What are your work hours like?

Designers notoriously work long hours. We work 40 hours a week, and often more when deadlines are near.

Do you have deadlines you have to meet?

We are always working on several seasons at a time and the deadlines are frequent for sample production.

What’s the hardest thing about being a designer?

As a creative person you always have many ideas, and it can be a challenge to filter those to a specific brand, particularly any time you move around between brands. Once you have that, your goal is to create something that your customer absolutely can’t live without.

What do you get inspired by when you design?

Art, architecture, travel, films, stylish friends, vintage designs and old magazines. Those are usually the first places I look, but I can draw inspiration from just about anything.

                                    The Kate Spade Brand

How would you define the Kate Spade customer?

She is a curious and playful woman. She is dynamic and so is her wardrobe.

There are so many handbag designers out there, what makes the Kate Spade brand unique?

When Kate Spade launched her brand in 1993, she sought to fill a void in the market for a simple, classically chic handbag. Color and graphic elements became important in her designs. Deborah Lloyd, who stepped into the role of creative director in 2007 after Kate sold the company, continues these traditions all while making it relevant to fashion today.

Can you tell us about the stages of a handbag design?

Deborah assembles her inspirations she has collected over some months into the story of the season. The design team then sketches into her vision, and over several meetings, sketches get added and edited. Samples are made, more edits occur, and after a few months the collection is ready to be shown.

Do you think there is a direct relationship between the size of a woman and the size of their bag? In other words, should short women use a certain size or style of bag? Tall women? Large women?

The great thing about handbags is that there is no size chart and you’ll never have to diet to wear the bag of your dreams. The most important thing is to match your handbag to your personality and your needs.

In your opinion is there a type of handbag that each woman should have in her closet?

Just like shoes, one handbag is never enough. There are different bags appropriate for different occasions, such as a professional look for work, a practical bag for the baseball game, a casual look for the beach, and an evening bag for that special occasion. A woman’s handbag collection develops over time.

  Andrea Crouse's Style

How many bags does Andrea Crouse have in her closet?

At least a couple dozen. Sample sales are a big perk to working in the industry!

Is there a particular bag that you just can’t live without or one that you would consider a symbol of your style?

I often carry the Small Coal, a decent-sized tote. Living in the city, I stay very busy and don’t have the luxury of keeping things in my car as I used to. I also like to change bags with the season. I’m currently looking forward to warm weather to wear straw bags with sandals and breezy dresses.

Small Coal

  Trends for the Season

Could you tell us about the must haves for Spring/Summer 2010?

The Villa Mae is a classic handbag with a lot of personality. This season it comes in a shiny goathide that is dressed up by a chain handle and the signature Kate Spade pyramid turnlock.

Villa Mae

The Kansas City Claudia is a versatile tote with a front pocket just the size to hold a paperback book.
Kansas City Claudia

I’ve been carrying the Tarrytown Lou that perfectly fits my laptop and accessories, all while remaining feminine and fashionable.
Tarry Town Lou

Is there a particular trend we should watch out for this season?

Straw bags are everywhere this season. The Kate Spade interpretation is colorful, graphic and fun. We have straw bags with ribbon woven through, some with sequin stripes, and others with bright colored trim.

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Meet The Hand Bag Designer for Kate Spade

We are working on an amazing interview with Andrea Crouse, hand bag designer for Kate Spade.  We will post the interview tomorrow, Friday, as a special celebration of our one week launch!

A woman's purse is usually one of the closest items to her. One that really describes her style. The type of hand bag a woman carries can tell a lot about her.

Have you ever wondered what goes into the designing process of your favorite bag? We all walk in to a department store and see a purse we like, and debate if we should buy it or not.  If we are totally in love with the bag we most likely walk out having purchased it. To us it's as simple as that.

But to a designer who designs that purse, she actually puts several hours in to working on each piece.  After which it gets edited, and goes into production and then it is sent to the store.

We were always curious about the design process and about the actual people who design for the big brand names. 

We met Andrea Crouse at a lecture in NYU.  We were so ecstatic, we had to interview her for HijabiTopia.

You wouldn't want to miss the interview... Tomorrow...

Elif Kavakci

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sadaf Syed is on her way to meet President Obama!

                                                                     SUPER HIJABI

We've got the most amazing news to share with you today.  We were going to wait till the interview is published but decided to share the excitement.  One of our really good friends Sadaf Syed, the author of iCover: A day in the life of an American Muslim COVERed Girl,   just informed us that she has been invited to attend a dinner event with President Obama!!! We are a huge fan of her work and are extremely excited for her.  Stay tuned for our exclusive interview with Sadaf.

Sadaf is a SUPER HIJABI and we wish her lots of luck at the dinner on behalf of all the hijabis!

You can see Sadaf's work at