Tasneem Ismail.
In just a year, Tasneem (Taz) Ismael is where she never thought she would be. Inspired by her late dress-making grandmother, Taz started her own brand, Khalees.

“As a woman in hijab, I understand a modern woman’s needs and desires.

“We all want to look fabulous with little effort,” she said. “But today, with all that we juggle, we tend to neglect ourselves. Yes, we’d all love to look like the modern Dubai wife, but that’s not so possible when you’re also running around like the Mad Hatter.”

Khalees, derived from the Arabic word for only or special, was started in May last year to bring more style to Muslim women who traditionally wear scarves to cover their hair.

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“I’m from a Muslim community, and our women wear scarves every day.

“However, my intention was to bring a product that would be good for the hair and skin while keeping hair covered,” said Taz.

Besides the fact that they are imported from Beijing and some are handmade, Taz thinks her scarves are “special” because they have different textures with a natural feel.

Taz Ismail, founder of Khalees.

“When I started Khalees, I wanted to bring in a natural product, hence our scarves are not made from polyester.

“We specialise in different textures of silk, and that’s probably our leading product.

“There are very few people in South Africa selling bamboo cotton, another unique, natural product in which we specialise,” she said.

With designers launching and releasing collections for the autumn/winter season, Taz also has her range ready.

“This season we have a different range of bamboo cotton, in winter colours that are popular. We also have cashmere and hand-crafted women’s neck scarfs.

“Heavier fabric and natural wool that is warmer and thicker are also part of our collection,” she said.

Ammaaarah Mohamed and Tahera Mangera wearing scarfs by Khalees.

For the Eid-ul-Fitr Festival, held at the end of Ramadaan, double raw silk is on the market.

“The Eid Festival is a huge celebration for us and, as with any special occasion, we have glittering gold, double-layer raw silk, which is two layers of silk woven into one fringed end, creating a unique and elegant look,” she said.

Since launching the brand 12 months ago, Khalees has been featured in a popular Muslim magazine.

The brand also showcased at South African Fashion Week alongside Atelier Dajee, who had his models wearing the Khalees double-layer, raw silk scarves. On June 11, Khalees will be showcasing at a Ramadaan pop-up at Industry Bakery in Greenside.