Friday, May 27, 2011

Hip Hijabis

I recently did an audio interview with Carmel Delshad, who is an NYC based journalist. Here is the video she prepared.

Hip Hijabis from Carmel Delshad on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

BBC Photo Shoot Pictures PART I

Here are some of the pictures from the BBC Photoshoot taken by our amazing photographer Nicole Queen. To see more of Nicole's work, you can visit

If you missed our earlier posts about the BBC filming, you can read them  HERE

Models, Zehra Nur and Fatima with Elif Kavakci and Ayse Akin


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Update Time!

We've got some catching up to do. I feel like I haven't written a personal post in a while. I think Confessions of a Manhattan Hijabi was the last one. I didn't even get to finish that :-(. But soon inshallah.


I hope all of you are doing wonderful. I personally can not wait for this summer. Summer is always really busy for all of us, HijabiTopia girls. The schools are out, and we tend to travel back and forth wherever home is :-).

Inshallah we will keep the blog going with lots of exciting posts. However, we may not post as often during the summer. If you're already subscribed to HijabiTopia then you should have no problems, you will receive the posts as soon as they are available online. It's that instant. And if you haven't subscribed yet, you may want to do so. That way you don't miss important posts that we have coming up.

Also, if you can't seem to get enough of the HijabiTopia girls (that seems to be the case since we're so much fun, LOL, :-) you can follow us on twitter. I share the funniest experiences of living in NYC and daily randomness that I run into.

Elif @hijabitopia
Nazreen @zsquared2
Nicole @queensofislam


The last month has been fun and busy. I've been working on some summer collections that I have to design for my clients. It's been time consuming and a bit hectic. I like to put a lot of time and thought in to each design. Being the Type A personality that I am, sometimes it takes forever :-). But then there are times that I need it to be done asap, and will finish a product in 24 hours, buy the fabric and it's made and delivered to the client within a few days. That's when I get the adrenaline rush. I like what I do, because I get to design for high profile ladies who are in front of the public eye. They are all super hijabis who are out to accomplish their goals and dreams. It gives me great pleasure to have them wear my designs while all eyes are on them. :-). Fun, fun, fun!


With summer around the corner, and some TV interviews coming up, I wanted to take my workout up a notch so that I can do some shaping and shedding :-) since the camera adds 10 lbs :-@

I've joined a club in Manhattan and have been enjoying getting back in the shape that I used to be. My first day there, I was shocked at how out of shape I was. My legs felt like marshmallows. My whole life I've been really good about having a healthy figure and focusing on good posture but wow, 2 years of only running and I've lost touch of where all my muscles are. Shocking! I realized that if your work out does not include a concentration on different muscle groups, and weight lifting exercises then it's no use. But anyway, it actually only took a week, and I'm on top of my old routine and loving it.

I've been doing planks, squats, crunches, push ups, sit ups, you name it, I've done it. I guess it's been more work then play, but just completing a work out and immediately seeing results has been very rewarding.  I'll admit pilates and nia have been my favorite classes. Pilates is amazing for working out all the different muscle groups and gaining strength. Nia is one of the most fun exercises that combines breathing, dance and martial arts together. That sounds boring. Here is a better description, imagine doing tai chi to Michael Jackson, doing karate to country music, and tae kwon do to slow french music. Yup, it's so much fun! And I still haven't done the cardio kickboxing, zumba, or boot camp classes. Hollaaa!!!

My favorite aspect of a healthy work out is the high I get from knowing I take care of myself first. It's time away from the stress of work, time out from being a mom, it's all about ME, MYSELF, and I. Talk about being selfish :-)

Do you work out?  If so, what kind of work out routines do you enjoy?

For those of you who are debating working out, or joining a club, I say do it now, there is nothing or no one more important than YOU in your life!


Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hijab and the Queen

Thanks to our lovely friend Iman, we recently saw the most amazing picture of Queen Elizabeth wearing Hijab.

Getty Images

I wonder what brand she wears? :-) Burberry, Hermes? Nah, it looks more like Salvatore Feragamo.

Ok, I know some of you are saying "this is not Hijab". Lot's of women in Manhattan also walk around wearing scarves like this.

I know you're saying, "Audrey Hepburn wore it too, so did Grace Kelly". But seriously, did you know that if the Queen dressed exactly as seen in this picture, and tried entering a university in one of the countries where there is a hijab ban (don't need to mention the country's name, you all know which one comes first) that she would not be allowed in! She could not go meet the President of that particular country in a governmental building because this is considered hijab.

Since the Queen is a very powerful woman, and can make anything happen, I so wish she would go to one of those countries (Turkey cough* cough*) and try to go through the doors of a university, or a governmental building. It would be so much fun to see if they would bend the rules for her.

I know, it's wishfull thinking! But a girl can dream, can't she?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chanel Cruise 2012

Imagine going on a cruise...

Far away from the stress of work...

The warmth of the sun on your face...

Feeling relaxed and comfortable while still looking your best.

Most people who use the words vacation and fashion in the same sentence would only mention swimsuits, pareos (wraps), sunglasses, and flip flops. Those aren't the only items Chanel takes to a deserted island.  Well, all that plus sunblock. :-)

When Chanel meets Titanic and lands on a dreamy destination, it does it with demure.

This year the collection pallet consists of  blacks and whites, creams, yellows, lavenders, and flower patterns. The colors might sound ordinary, but this collection is nothing but exquisite. From palazzo pants and pencil skirts, to pleated dresses and chiffon gowns, the pieces are adorned with pearl edges, floral embroidery or sparkling crystals.

"Well, what about flip flops?" you ask. No one can imagine going on vacation without a pair of flip flops. When Chanel hits the beach, flip flops become "tango thongs" :  mid-heel open-toe pumps. 



As we've shared in our STYLE TIPS in an earlier post, it's best to wear solid colors. We've also mentioned that keeping the same color scheme from head to toe is much more elegant than mixing lots of colors together. We strongly feel that "less is more" and that minimalism in an outfit is the key.

Chanel's collection is just more proof that we are right on track :-)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spring is in the air...

After a harsh, long winter, we finally welcome some nice spring weather. Those of us who live in cold, depressing rainy cities, love seeing the sunshine.

Ms. Gardenia could not wait to be out and about in nature. She also knows that it's allergy season. As always she decided to fight the airflight pollen with some style :-)


Note: The models were dressed in a computer program where hijab options are limited. Unfortunately, this program does not carry our designer comfijab. We realize some of her neck/ears and hair is showing. Please don't think that we are trying to make everyone show their neck, or promote un-Islamic attire. Make your own decisions wisely!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


As our Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him) said, "Paradise lies underneath the feet of mothers".

It's the hardest job yet the most beautiful job to be a mother.


 "Motherhood" defined in 34 seconds :-)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

15 Year Old Super Hijabi who got accepted into Harvard

I wanted to share this wonderful article with you. This is another proof that Hijabis can do anything that they put their mind to, God willing.

If this is not inspiration, I don't know what is!

This article was copied from

Aaron Houston/For The Star-Ledger Saheela Ibraheem, a 15 year-old senior at Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison, has been admitted to 13 colleges and chose to attend Harvard this fall.

Piscataway girl, 15, decides to go to Harvard after being accepted to 13 colleges

Published: Wednesday, May 04, 2011, 10:30 AM Updated: Wednesday, May 04, 2011, 7:22 PM
By Kelly Heyboer/ The Star-Ledger The Star-Ledger

PISCATAWAY — Saheela Ibraheem wasn’t sure any college would want to admit a 15-year-old. So the Piscataway teen hedged her bets and filled out applications to 14 schools from New Jersey to California.

"It’s the age thing. I wanted to make sure I had options," said Saheela, a senior at the Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison.

In the end, 13 colleges accepted her — including six of the eight Ivy League schools.

After weeks of debate, Saheela settled on Harvard. She will be among the youngest members of the school’s freshman class.

"I’ll be one of the youngest. But I won’t be the youngest," the soon-to-be 16-year-old said.

Saheela is among the millions of high school seniors who had to finalize their college decisions by Monday, the deadline for incoming freshman to send deposits to the school of their choice. Nationwide, this year’s college selection process was among the most competitive in history as most top colleges received a record number of applications.

Saheela joins a growing number of New Jersey students going to college before they are old enough to drive. Last year, Kyle Loh of Mendham graduated from Rutgers at 16. In previous years, a 14-year-old from Cranbury and two of his 15-year-old cousins also graduated from Rutgers.

For Saheela, her unusual path to college began when she was a sixth-grader at the Conackamack Middle School in Piscataway. Eager to learn more about her favorite subject, math, the daughter of Nigerian immigrants asked to move to a higher-level class. The school let her skip sixth grade entirely.

By high school, Saheela said, she was no longer feeling challenged by her public school classes. So, she moved to the Wardlaw-Hartridge School, a 420-student private school, where she skipped her freshman year and enrolled as a 10th-grader. Her three younger brothers, twins now in the ninth grade and a younger brother in second grade, all eventually joined her at the school.

School officials were impressed Saheela, one of their top students, didn’t spend all her time studying.

"She’s learned and she’s very smart. But she keeps pushing herself," said William Jenkins, the Wardlaw-Hartridge School’s director of development.


Aaron Houston/For The Star-Ledger Saheela Ibraheem, a 15-year-old senior at Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison, has been admitted to 13 colleges, and chose to attend Harvard this fall. Photo taken during a Wardlaw-Hartridge softball game in Piscataway.

Saheela also excels outside the classroom. She is a three-sport athlete, playing outfield for the school’s softball team, defender on the soccer team, and swimming relays and 50-meter races for the swim team. She also sings alto in the school choir, plays trombone in the school band and serves as president of the school’s investment club, which teaches students about the stock market by investing in virtual stocks.

Saheela began applying to colleges last fall. Her applications included her grade point average (between a 96 and 97 on a 100-point scale) and her 2,340 SAT score (a perfect 800 on the math section, a 790 in writing and a 750 in reading).

She was delighted when she got her first acceptance in December from California Institute of Technology. "I was so excited. I got into college!," Saheela said.

More acceptances followed from Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Williams College, Stanford, University of Chicago, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Washington University in St. Louis.

On March 30, she got her sole rejection letter — from Yale. Saheela isn’t sure why the Ivy League school didn’t want her.

"My parents were thinking it was the age thing," she said.

Saheela was torn between going to MIT and Harvard. A visit to both campuses last month made the choice easy. "She went to Harvard and she fell in love with the place," said Shakirat Ibraheem, her mother.

Saheela said she wants to major in either neurobiology or neuroscience and plans to become a research scientist who studies how the brain works. As for her own brain, Saheela insists she is nothing special.

She credits her parents with teaching her to love learning and work hard. Her father, Sarafa, an analyst and vice president at a New York financial firm, would often study with her at night and home school her in subjects not taught at school.

"I try my best in everything I do," Saheela said. "Anyone who’s motivated can work wonders."

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly reported the number of Ivy League colleges. There are eight. Saheela Ibraheem did not apply to Dartmouth College.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Royal Fairytale

Love was in the air this weekend, as the whole world watched  Princess Kate and Prince William take their vows. But more importantly, it was all about THE DRESS! There were so many speculations for months. Who was going to design her dress? What was it going to look like?

Most of us expected something traditional to suit a princess. And the rest of us wished she dared to come out in something a bit more outrageous. I imagined her in a hot pink punk style dress. I would have loved to see the Queen's face! LOL! That was probably wishful thinking.

Kate's excuse for keeping the designer undercover was the fact that she didn't want William to know! (Like we bought that excuse. :-)

Anyhow, we all had our guesses with the designers. I was among many who guessed it would be an Alexander McQueen dress. After all, it's a world full of amazing designers but to me 3 names topped the list. First being Marc Jacobs, the American designer. Second being Karl Lagerfeld, the French designer.  And the third being Alexander McQueen, the British designer. Although, Marc Jacobs is the King of Fashion, for some reason, I couldn't see him designing a wedding dress. I could see a Chanel wedding dress. However, Alexander McQueen made the most sense--the best match for  British Royalty.

Now here comes the fun part. The night before the big day, Sarah Burton, head designer for Alexander McQueen, arrived at the hotel where Kate was staying. She supposedly was undercover. But she couldn't fool anyone! This is the funny part that I absolutely don't get. Sarah Burton arrived in front of the hotel, and walked out of the car wearing a fur hat that supposedly covered her face.

I would think, that if someone was trying to hide, they would

1. not arrive where the paparazzi is waiting along with a huge crowd

2. use a back road, or a back entrance

3. wear something that completely provides ambiguity, like a costume, or a burka or something other than a fur hat!

When Sarah Burton came out of the car, she was easy to identify due to her signature belt and shoes. As plain as she dressed, it was quite simple for those who know her style to figure out she was the designer for the dress, hence her arrival at the hotel.


We all loved the dress. Kate Middleton looked elegant. It was indeed timeless elegance. The traditional cut, the sweetheart neckline, the corset bodice, the use of lace, the modesty of the dress, and the humble train was a fresh take on the Princess of the century.

What I admired most about her look was that everything was so simple, and looked effortless. Yet was still exquisite.

I was expecting a much longer train. Her train was only 8 feet long, half-a-foot longer then my cathedral-train wedding gown. After all, maybe Kate took a commoner approach to her first steps in to her fairytale royal lifestyle.

McQueen's Style Questioned

Sarah Burton who took over the McQueen design house after his death has tried to capture McQueen's signature in the collections she has designed for the label.  For her first collection, even Sarah herself admitted how hard it was to fill such an amazing designer's shoes. Interestingly, even though Burton designed the dress, there was no sense of McQueen, or Burton in the final product. Most people can usually tell the designer of a dress by just looking at it, because they see the designers signature in it. When we see a McQueen dress, we can point it miles away!

Grace Kelley's Style Revisited 

Kate's dress did have a distinct resemblance to Grace Kelly's wedding gown.

We're assuming that Kate Middleton clearly had a role in the design process of her dress. She might have told Sarah Burton that she wanted a look similar to Grace Kelley's wedding dress and from there Sarah Burton produced Kate's version of the wedding dress.

The whole world fell in love with Kate because of her simple elegance. Style is about making a big statement with little effort. Less is always more.

If you like reading about Islamic love stories, make sure to visit HijabiTopia Fairy tales.

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Monday, May 2, 2011

Update Time!

Salaams Everyone,

First of all, I apologize for the delays in our posts. Life got busy. I had too many design projects I was working on and deadlines I had to meet, plus family visiting from Turkey. So mix all that up and add it in a blender, and you have a chaotic schedule!

Thank you for all your emails and requests about our Comfijabs. I wanted to clarify a few things. We do not produce the Comfijab in mass amounts. We have small quantities available. We run out pretty fast. We have not yet set up an online payment system or shipping to international locations. We currently only ship within the US and within Turkey. We are definitely working on trying to meet the demand.

I also want to explain one more issue. The Comfijab is not a hijab that you can buy at an Eid Bazaar for $5. It's a couture hijab that has a unique design. These hijabs have been exclusive to my clients for the last few years, but because of the demand and the need, we've recently started making it available to a select market.

It's only available for sale through the email address Several of you have asked over and over if there is a link or a website for online purchasing, there is none. Hope this clears any confusion.

We've got some wonderful posts coming up. So stay tuned, and thanks for following us!

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia