Modesty to Me: Farah Amin Khan

Director of the renowned Super International School and a PhD holder in Leadership, Farha Amin Khan is breaking the glass ceiling in the city of Kanpur. She is one of the very few females in the city leading such a huge institution and popularising the hijab for the good.

The word ‘Modesty’ for Farha  means humility, respect and covering in terms of clothing as well as in conduct.

“I developed the true understanding of modesty when my daughter was almost 7 years old. I realized that I should be a role model for her. I should exhibit modesty in my clothes and conduct so that she will grow into a graceful, respectable lady.”

Farha considers being modest to be a personal choice. “Some people do connect it with religion but for me it is a ‘calling’ from within, irrespective of one’s religion.”

On being asked if she ever felt that she was being judged or criticized for being modest, Farha said there had been numerous such occasions. “Unfortunately in our country, modesty is equated with lack of education and exposure. People start treating you differently.

I did lose my cool many times but then I realized that that’s not the right reaction on my part. I had to represent myself as a modest person who is pleasant and educated. I think patience is the key to deal with such situations.”

Farha hopes to inspire young girls around her and propagate the idea of Modesty. She wears modest clothes to school and wishes to set an example in front of the younger generations that anything can be achieved while remaining modest.

“We modest women have a huge responsibility of making sure that if we are wearing an abaya or a hijab, we must make sure that it looks presentable. The abaya and hijab should be neat and ironed to begin with. We must respect our modesty first before expecting others to respect it,” Farha pointed out correctly.

Farha shops online for her modest dressing needs and sometimes tries to self-design her clothes. She says that till a few years back, it was very difficult to find modest clothes in the market but now all the popular and mass market brands are producing modest clothes due to their huge demand.

Farha’s favourite attire is a loose fitted salwar suit with a matching hijab. She loves wearing long shrugs as well.

“Being modest does not make you backward. Don’t be afraid that if you dress up modestly, you will not be able to hang out with a certain group or you won’t be able to visit certain places. Modesty makes a woman beautiful and brings out the best in her. Dressing up modestly gives me the most liberating feeling. I feel like I can face any challenge with confidence.”

Farha is an example of how monumental changes in the society begin at the ground level. As the world today moves towards acceptance and the fashion industry towards modesty, women like Farha trigger these movements in the masses.

Modesty to Me: Presenting Franka Soeria.

“ Try to be like a cat with nine lives….” says the witted co-founder of Modest Fashion Weeks, #Markamarie & Think Fashion, Franka Soeria.

Intrigued by music and writing at a young age, Franka entered the world of Modest Fashion as a designer, stylist and became a Global Fashion Networker.

To Franka, Modesty means being Modest from the inside and outside. It’s not just about the look, but how you contribute to the world for the greater good.

“I developed this understanding after my journey both in mainstream fashion and modest fashion. Modest Fashion is great, but sometimes we tend to get stuck in visual translation.. Modesty is more than that- it’s a way of life”, says Franka.

Franka considers Modesty to be a personal choice. “I had my time when i didn’t wear modest fashion, but I did feel more comfortable wearing covered clothes, long before when I started wearing hijab.”

 On being asked if she ever felt that she was being judged for being modest, Franka turned out to be no exception. “I have been judged not only because of wearing modest clothes but also because I am Asian. I think people react like that because they don’t know who I am at first. By the time I start to speak is usually when they realize that I am not the girl they think I am.”

Franka doesn’t believe in propagating modesty. “Much before we did Modest Fashion Weeks, modest fashion was already everywhere. So we just collect people with same interests to celebrate modesty and help them to be recognized more and have more achievements. That’s what we do.”

Franka is a minimalist when it comes to dressing. She shops everywhere possible but what she buys has to be reusable and flexible enough to be worn in multiple ways.

“I am a supporter of ‘Re-wear Your Clothes’ idea. I have my own style.  A long chiffon scarf & white sneakers- that’s what I mostly wear when I go around. I minimize my time to think what to wear basically. I don’t wear branded stuff- its part of my personal branding.

My black scarves, white sneakers, sling bag and sometimes a black dress makes up my favourite attire. I am a ‘behind the scene’ woman, I wear stuff that can make me act and move fast.”

Franka’s take on modesty is simple and practical. When ‘who you are’ becomes more important than ‘how you look’ is when the real beauty comes out.

Franka says, “It is best to accept who you are and embrace it. Never do something because you are pressurised to do it. 

Don’t just dream to be somebody, make efforts for it. Start small and constantly move forward. Don’t listen to the negative voices.

Try to be like a cat with 9 lives. Dont hesitate to rise again after falling multiple times.

As long as you are trying to be a good person, you will always be great.”

Modesty to Me : Presenting Fatima Mukhtar.

Taking the ‘Modesty to Me’ movement forward, I have been speaking with a lot of women around us, understanding their take on Modesty and sharing their life experiences. This month, we present to you the story of Fatima Mukhtar.

Living in the suburbs of Houston, United States and parenting her three kids, Fatima is an imminent influencer in the modest fashion industry and writes a blog on the subject by the name of ‘Modestly Speaking’.

Fatima believes that modesty has an external and internal component, and according to her, the internal drives the external. To be modest in nature means to be humble in the way you behave and express yourselves. This in turn, drives modesty in one’s attire.  “My definition of modest fashion is a style in which one wears clothing that does not immediately scream ‘look at me!’ but when you are in public, your style speaks of your personality – subtle and sophisticated. Modesty has been instilled in me since I was a teenager. I never felt the need to show more skin because I don’t believe that equates to being fashionable.”

Fatima’s modesty is rooted in faith. She dresses the way she does to please Allah. She says that it is a personal choice, as she doesn’t believe that modesty is an indicator of one’s adherence to religion.

Talking of moments when she felt that she was being judged for being modest, Fatima remembered her times at the beach. “Anyone who has worn a modest bathing suit to the beach knows there is some sort of judgement passed. Fortunately for me, it’s usually just unwanted stares. I’m usually enjoying the water too much to care.”

Fatima shares modest fashion ideas through her blog Modestly Speaking. The idea behind the blog is that it is absolutely possible to dress fashionably AND modestly for all of life’s moments – whether it’s the gym, the beach, or a gala. Living in the United States she shops primarily at mainstream brands there. She has also found a few modest brands and stores where she can find unique pieces once in a while. Finding suitable modest clothing for hot weather is the only challenge she faces.

You can find Fatima in ravishing dresses, jump suits and wonderfully matched separates on her blog, however, the blogger prefers a long sleeve t-shirt and jeans for her day to day living. “I have young kids so I want to wear clothes that are comfortable and easy to move around with them. I do love a good midi skirt, right above the ankle to show off my shoes!”

When asked if she would like to convey any message to her fellow women, Fatima said, ”Modesty is empowering. When you dress according to your own ideals and style, you are conveying a message that you are beyond any fleeting trend. You can also focus more on what you are doing instead of what you look like.”

Practise what you preach as they say, Fatima believes in herself, her faith & her values and it reflects in what she does & how she does it. Find her on Instagram @modestly.speaking and get inspired to dress modestly ever after !

Modesty to Me

Modesty implies humility. For me, it is not only about clothing, it goes much deep. It means following modesty in behavior, speech, mannerism & lifestyle.  I happened to develop this understanding and love for the concept of modesty a few years back when I decided to become a hijabi.

There are certain religions or cultures of which Modesty, is an indispensable part. It is preached, explained or forced upon the young ones in the form of habits that they grow up with. However, as adults, we all have the choice to weigh things rationally and decide for ourselves. Being modest is a personal choice in my case.

There have been many such incidents where I was judged / criticized for being modest especially when I was travelling. The airport security checks sometimes become a tense & tedious affair because of my abaya.  I go through it with a smile and patience because I honestly don’t care how they perceive me or my appearance.

Dressing up modestly instils in me the feelings of liberation, freedom & self-realization & boosts the spirit of womanhood. It gives me the confidence to conceal my body and reveal my mind to the world.

I wouldn’t propagate modesty, but I would definitely motivate my fellow women to continue with their modest beliefs and shed all fears and doubts about it. They should embrace their choice of modest lifestyle, start dreaming big and turn them into reality. Before coming up with my own brand, it used to be a struggle to find pieces that would suit my modest clothing needs. I would visit International brands as well as the local boutiques but whatever I felt like wearing was sleeveless, short, clingy or had a deep neckline. I had to mix and match and layer in order to stay trendy while being a code abiding Muslimah at heart. However, thanks to the global Modest Fashion Movement for so many Modest Fashion brands, boutiques and online stores those understand the need of today’s modest women and cater to them.

I mostly wear my own brand The Hijab Lee now as its creations are a reflection of my thoughts, creativity and rebellion. The designs are trendy, quirky yet elegant just like our contemporary women. My modest fashion pieces are something that is trendy & chic yet respects my beliefs and makes me feel empowered. It could be anything between a maxi dress, wide legged pants, oversized jackets or an abaya matched with a trendy bag, right footwear and some jewellery.  Comfort is the key.

I would like to congratulate my fellow women for being brave enough to be different, for revolutionizing the societal standards and breaking the stereotypes. We are lucky to be a part of this revolution where the world is becoming more inclusive and modesty has made its place in it. Being modest does not stop you from achieving your dreams. Just be strong, confident, bring out your inner beauty and conquer the world!

Hello !

The Hijab Lee is an Indian International luxury fashion brand that believes in the co-existence of ethics & fashion. The brand creates globally applaudable attires in trendy colors & contemporary silhouettes for today’s progressive female youth. Its creations are a unique amalgamation of the traditional Indian hand embroideries & the current fashion trends. The magnificent hand-embroideries are turned into modern pieces of art by creative manipulations.

The Hijab Lee celebrates the Female-Power and aims to empower, uplift and encourage women to believe in their beauty beyond skin and body.  With its exuberant, trend-driven designs, THL beckons our young women to be covered & confident, to chase their dreams and not let their modesty come in the way.

Live your Femininity!

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