Wednesday, March 28, 2012


As most of you know we currently only design couture. This means that each and every one of our clothes are specially made for each customer, hand sewn by our tailor in Turkey according to their measurements. In other words, unlike designers who mass produce their collections and first make samples to present to their buyers, we only have one of each item made. Sometimes the clothes are made in such a rush to get to the customer that, we may not even have time to take a picture of them. Often, the design goes straight to the atelier to be made and from there straight to the client. There have been many designs that I haven't seen until our client goes on TV or attends an event and I see it on the news. :-)

The fun part about designing couture is that each outfit is inspired by the client. When we sit down with a client, we first look at many factors. We answer some of these questions: how old is the client, what does she need (several designs, a special outfit to wear to an event, a wardrobe, or a whole collection specially made for them, etc), what does she do for a living, what is her style and what is her lifestyle. The majority of our clients are professional women who are in the public eye, so we tend to design a lot of pant suits and skirt suits along with some evening wear. So most of it is formal, sophisticated wear. 

I wanted to share with you a fun project that I worked on that required a bit more creativity than the usual. This is also a great example of how designing couture works.  

My customer was a 15 year old urban hijabi, with a very unique sense of style. First of all she is a student, she is active in sports, she has more of a masculine, tom boyish style, she prefers long tunics and pants over dresses, in her wardrobe she has items that are pop, rock, punk, emo, goth, and anything that would be defined as funky. When we peeked in to her closet we saw that the number one staple in her closet are jeans. She likes anything and everything with skulls on them, enjoys wearing black, but isn't also afraid of color. She likes her clothes to be comfortable, fun and most importantly hijab appropriate.

She came to us requesting an outfit to wear to a family wedding. She wanted something appropriate for the occasion but wanted to also be able to wear it for many years after the event. Since she is not crazy about wearing dresses and looking older than her age, we decided to design a formal yet funky tunic that she could wear with pants and not compromise on her style or her personality.

We brainstormed and thought what would be pop, yet formal for a wedding? We came up with Pop Couture! 

Here are pictures of our final design :-)

Fabric: Navy 100% Silk Taffeta
Trims: Metal zippers, and soda tabs

Our customer loved it, and wore her tunic proudly. :-)

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Monday, March 26, 2012


After the bitter cold, the wet streets and heavy wardrobes, we are sooo ready for spring. We just feel so much happier in the spring, don't you? One thing is for sure, the lighter clothes make us feel like a feather when we head out the door.

Here are some trends that we are excited to try out this spring. Which ones will you apply to your style?

Color Me Happy

Plastic Fantastic



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Super Hijabi: Tawakkol Karman

“Do not be silent. You ask, ‘What can we do?' You have to be the leader, you have to lead with action. You have to think that ‘I can be the leader' and not be the victim. This is what happened in the Arab Spring. Women decided to be the leaders, to suffer and to struggle and to be killed for their freedom, for their dignity.”

Tawakkol Karman

At HijabiTopia we love celebrating, congratulating and sharing information about wonderful hijabis who are great role models. These women are educated, corageous, hard working, and take a stand that no other human might dare to take. They don't sit around and say, "oh, I was dicriminated against because I wear hijab" or, "I didn't get that job because I wear hijab", they don't sit around and make excuses, or decide to take off their hijab, they take the action to make the necessary change. They are empowered by their hijab and the strength in their faith to become the action. 

Here is an article about Super Hijabi and Nobel Peace Laureate Tawakkol Karman, written by one of our favorite writers Richard Peres.

More power to amazing super hijabis!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Maher Zain: Number One For Me

Here is Maher Zain's latest video.

Friday, March 16, 2012


KAVAKCI COUTURE has gotten more than usual coverage in the press lately thanks to an amazing Super Hijabi who wears our designs proudly. Most people know of the clients I work with, eventhough I try to keep most of their names confidential, the media tends to do their part in revealing them. However, the one name that I openly announce and am very proud to have the honor to dress is my sister Merve Kavakci.

As most of you know fashion and politics, as contradictory as they may appear, tend to have a huge impact on each other. My sister Merve has always had a great sense of style. I guess it was kind of genetic, or inherited from our mother, who was one of the few educated women in Turkey, to wear it. As a professor in university, and the only woman to hold such a position wearing hijab, I remember my mom making extra effort to look representable. She would wear the most beautiful silk scarves, on top of a silk blouse, combined with a sharp blazer and a long skirt. 

She was such a great role model and a fashion icon for me and my sisters. 

When my sister Merve was campaigning during the elections, I did not have a couture label, but would try to help put some ensembles together and send it over to her. Because she was the first hijabi to be in the public eye, she automatically became a fashion icon to young hijabis. Her style was followed and coppied by many young girls. The newspapers would print Merve's different attires on the cover page and would assign a name to each outfit. The textile companies at the time, started producing exact copies of her outfits and selling them like hot cakes. :-)

Yes, a trend setter she was.

This was all in 1999. Let's fast forward to 2012. Ever since I got into fashion design more professionally, I started designing for my sister. If you ask any Islamic fashion designer, they will probably tell you who they would like their designs to be worn by. I think it is the biggest honor, and joy for me to dress the one and only internationally known hijab symbol, hijab rights activist, academician, and super hijabi Merve Kavakci. She is still a mega trend setter.

So what is the process of designing couture for a Super Hijabi, you ask?

Here is a sneak peek in to my sister's style.

Because Merve is an academician, a politician, a professional woman, a writer, a hijab symbol, a regular contributor to Television, her outfit has to look professional and has to be razor sharp. :-) 

As a hijab symbol, first and foremost, Merve likes her outfits to be a good representation of who she is, a Muslim woman. She does not care about trends that come and go. She cares that her clothes fit her lifestyle and that they compliment her silhouette (her height, her weight, etc). 

Therefore, the style we have created for her is most often military inspired. It's powerful meets elegance with a touch of femininity. A masculine suit with high neck, metallic buttons, apalettes combined with a satiny, silk hijab. No matter which occasion, she always wears the same bright red Paul Frank watch on her right arm. It's her signature. It adds a touch of happiness to her serious subjects and a touch of individuality to her already unique look. When she is not a professional giving lectures, she has a more free spirited style that shows her fun, sporty style.

Ligths, Camera and ACTION

Notice her cute bright red plastic Paul Frank watch. :-)

Receiving an award for her extensive Human Rights work

Off she flies on to another event, The Super Hijabi in her cape :-)

To see more pictures of Merve's powerful style please visit her website

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Merve Kavakci: One Woman's Stand

Dr. Merve Kavakci Islam, answering the media's questions, after her speech in Ankara, Turkey on March 10, 2012. She was invited to speak at a panel on Women's Rights and Violence Against Women in the Media.

My sister Dr. Merve Kavakci Islam has recently been all over theTurkish news, again. She has attended several panels and has done many interviews. She is going through the Turkish legal system to ask for the reinstatement of her rights. Most of you know her story and follow her closely, but just to recap her story, she was the first and only woman in the history of Turkey, to walk in to the Turkish National Assembly wearing hijab. She was also the only Member of Parliament to be prevented from taking her oath, which was necessary formally to become a parliamentarian. Before and after the elections she was targeted by the Turkish media and a lynching campaign was held against her.

Imagine being attacked by the paparazzi 24/7. Imagine needing 4 body guards at once to protect you. Imagine being a single mom with 2 kids and an old grandma. Imagine the media harassing you and your kids when you take them to school. Imagine the media ringing your doorbell relentlessly at 3 in the morning. Imagine the media camping out in front of your apartment. Imagine a judge unlawfully banging on your iron door threatening to break the door if you don't open it. Imagine him screaming to tell you he has the right to arrest you. Imagine only having your own family and relatives and only a few friends who stand by you. Imagine the president going on TV live, to announce you as an "agent provocateur". Imagine having to live away from your kids because you are a threat to their lives. Imagine having millions of fans who support you but have no say in what happens to you. Imagine a country against you. Imagine being stripped of your citizenship in 11 days. Just imagine...

All because you wear hijab. 1 yard of silk fabric that you put on for the sake of Allah. Imagine being a woman with huge dreams who plans on being a voice for the hijab ban and many other human rights discriminations and violations.

My sister's story is very unique and you can soon read about her whole struggle in Richard Peres's latest book The Day Turkey Stood Still: Merve Kavakci's walk in to the Turkish Parliament.

Here is Peres's latest interview about his book and what has become known in history as "The Kavakci Affair"

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Monday, March 12, 2012

Super Hijabis Rock The World

This is all in Arabic but we don't need words to recognize the names, just the faces are enough. My sister Merve Kavakci is in the middle! I feel honored to be the designer for 2 of the ladies and a fashion consultant for a third :-)

Hijab is empowering...

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


KAVAKCI COUTURE was recently feautured in The "KADIN" Turkish magazine based out of Holland. The interview is in Turkish, however if you would like to see the pictures, please go to page 10.

Hollandada yayinlanan Kadin dergisi en son sayisinda tasarimlarimiza ve roportajimiza yer vermis. Assagidaki linkten okuyabilirsiniz. Roportajimiz 10. sayfada basliyor. 
Not: Kadin dergisine tasarimlarimiza yer verdigi icin tesekkur ederiz, yalniz roportajda baska roportajlardan alinti yapilmis, ve cumlelerde degisiklik olmus. Isimleri gecen bir kac musterimin adini ben aciklamamistim, onlarin bana sadece tarzlari sorulmustu, benim cevabimda eklemeler olmus. Her halde editing hatasidir.

Monday, March 5, 2012


I was recently quoted in The Detroit News in an article about Islamic Fashion, please click the below link to read the article.

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia

Friday, March 2, 2012

Rick Owens Fall 2012 RTW

Rick Owens did it again!!! Here is another hijab influenced collection from the creative designer. Whether you call it a veil, or nikab, a cloak or an abayah, this collection is all about the east meets west. To see earlier hijab inspired collections please CLICK

Tasarımcı Rick Owens'dan muhafazakar bir kolleksiyon daha. Paris defilesinde, peçeli ve pardesülü mankenler doğuyla batıyı podyumda buluşturdular. Tesettür dünya modasını sarsmaya devam ediyor. Tesettür esintili diğer kolleksiyonları görmek için lütfen TIKLAYINIZ

Here are some tips from this collection that you can apply to your own wardrobe. Notice that the collection consists of solid colors, from head to toe. He has used colors that are within similar hues as well as colors that compliment each other. This is the key for a style with maximum elegance and an impact statement.

For more detailed style tips please CLICK

Elif Kavakci for HijabiTopia