A Modest Movement

This weekend this Mama got to put on her best dress, high heels and face on, team up with her dearest girlfriends and attend Dubai Modest Fashion Week, the first in the city and hopefully the start of many to come.

Where to start? Lets just say ‘Tanja’ and ‘fashion’ don’t really go hand in hand in a sentence. I’ve never been one to describe myself as being even remotely fashionable, in all honesty I hate shopping for clothes! It was only 9 months ago that I reached out to a stylist from Abu Dhabi to come and do something about the ALL BLACK wardrobe that was my closet.

More on my wardrobe makeover later, this post is about girlfriends supporting girlfriends, mingling, laughing, loving, and just enjoying a few hours away from husbands, nagging toddlers or crying babies.

Day one!

My number one @aristochick and I, spent the best part of close to an hour trying to find parking in downtown close to the event. We took advantage of the fact that most hotels in Dubai offer valet parking for paying guests and visitors, GENIUS! So our hotel of choice was VIDA, where we got our caffeine fix, a few epic photographs and made our way over to Burj Park. I swear half the fun was getting to the event. Spending that time with your closest gal pal, these are the moments that I cherish in my heart.

We arrived and unfortunately missed the opening show, got stuck in some very unexpected Dubai rain which for me was absolute bliss. We ran into the media tent and I listened to the sound of the rain feeling incredibly nostalgic of Melbourne. It was officially the first rain of what Dubai likes to call its “winter” season – hahaha if 27 degree Celsius days can be even considered winter!

So the remaining shows were cancelled and the majority of the night was spent in the media tent, chatting away and people watching. We did attend one talk which covered some really great topics and content with a panel of some of my fave online presences such as Dina Tokio and of course Halima Aden the first ever Hijabi super model.

Now I’m not the best person to speak too about the “influencer” world, I honestly know very little about it, but these so called influencers I personally like to call “inspirers” well the ones I choose to follow anyway. Women who I’ve felt have inspired and moved me, purely by sharing their stories and for keeping it real. Like I mentioned before, I’m the least fashion savvy person out there, so the outfits of the day #OOTD or makeup tutorials and skincare routines don’t personally catch my attention or interest, it’s the real talk, the rawness and openness of some of these woman, that’s the stuff I enjoy online. Their struggles about everyday life and everyday Muslim woman’s issues are what keep me engaged. I’ll be honest I did feel awkwardly star struck having the chance to meet a couple of them and have a conversation (I know I’m a bit cheesy like that) but seriously, if you’ve got a following of 1.3 million people online, you’re famous in my opinion. Just being in the same room as Halima Aden, I felt a little too special to be honest.

But back to the influencer world, in the context of the modest fashion movement which is currently moving and shaking the fashion world. I think they have done an incredibly powerful thing in inspiring woman to embrace hijab, to love hijab and have changed an age-old mind set that hijab or modest dressing isn’t appealing and can not be beautiful. What a joke!

Allah (SWT) LOVES beauty! – “Do what is beautiful. Allah loves those who do what is beautiful.” Surah Baqarah – 2:195.

The saddest part about the online world though is that these women are receiving negative commentary and most of the time it’s from the Muslim community which for me is heart breaking. I know many of them have learnt to ignore and block, but I imagine that takes a lot of patience and practice. Words can cut deep, even more then physical abuse. Online and cyber bullying is not ok! Even on public profiles – I can’t explain enough how much it breaks my heart to read commentary like “she may as well take her scarf off” or that’s not “proper hijab” my God! No wonder there has been an incredibly large number of girls and woman taking off their scarves – when your own community, your own sisters pass on some of the most severe judgement and criticism. It’s ridiculous!

Ok I’ve probably gone off track but I really needed to have that rant!

Day 2!

Back to the weekend ! It was great!

Finally we got to watch some of the shows, we took advantage of being “Media” for the day and sat up close and personal with the runway. I decided to blow the dust off my DSLR camera and bring it along to practice some photography skills as I’ve always had a passion to start photography as a hobby. My girlfriends and I were attending DMFW to support one of our dear friends, an up and coming designer in the region, Dulce by Safiya who without being bias has been dominating this region throughout the last year! Hard work and staying true to your core, your essence and your beliefs truly pays off, she’s absolutely killed it this year! We couldn’t be more prouder of her! I’m sorry but if Gwen Stefani puts on one of your pieces on stage at a private show in Dubai, you’ve made it in my opinion! 🙌🏽 You go girl! This weekend was all for you, and I couldn’t be prouder to call you a sister!

Another personal fave was when local muse and content creator Ashley Busmait @desertvogue opened the Zaskia Sungkah show! Just WOAH!

This weekend I got to meet my online pal Tasneem Torkia @2ctorkia who was in town for the first time helping and supporting her sister. I got to share a moment with another online favourite @hautehijab who I think I made cry but they were happy tears of course, just an example of how these women actually do impact our lives beyond there outfits of the day.

Another personal fave was when my local inspiration, muse and content creator Ashley Al Busmait @desertvogue opened the Zaskia Sungkar show! WOAH! Just WOAH!

And that was the highlight of my weekend. Spending quality time with my Abu Dhabi bestie, meeting my fave online “inspirers”, supporting a girlfriend during an incredibly important milestone in her career, and just enjoying some quality girl time, raising and lifting each over UP, the way it should ALWAYS be between women!

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