Muslim influencers are diversifying the industry, leading a fashion revolution like never before, and the world is paying attention. From high-end designers offering contemporary modest fashion to mainstream media and social media, this business, which was once a niche market, is growing rapidly.
Modest fashion influencer, designer and part-time stylist Nabilah Kariem is one of the most influential South African social media personalities promoting modesty in the fashion world. We chatted to her about her life and career, and she shared her Eid al-Fitr style inspiration.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I am a modest fashion influencer, designer and part-time stylist. I’m also a newlywed, so right now I am all really about my career and my marriage.
Q: What is your definition of fashion?
A: Fashion or the way you choose to dress speaks for you without using words. It’s a reflection of self.
Q: How would you describe your personal style?
A: Classic chic, with a pop of trend. And modest, of course. My religion plays a big role in the way I choose to dress (“a reflection of self”).
Q: What about your journey to modesty; have you always dressed like you do now?
A: No, not at all. I’ve had so many phases, but I think I’ve always really been into fashion. Growing up and understanding my religion is what changed things the most; it gave me clarity with regard to fashion and what I want to do
Picture by Rizqua Barnes
Q: What will you be wearing this autumn/winter season? Any trends that have caught your eye?
A: Oversized tops are definitely my go-to this season. They are so trendy, yet so comfy (no suffering for beauty this season). I’ve also been playing around with variations of cool sleeve details. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know how obsessed I am.
Q: Who are your favourite modest fashion bloggers? And how do they influence your style?
A: Definitely Ascia AKF (a blogger from Kuwait).
I love the way she layers her clothes. She has the perfect balance of the East and the West incorporated in her looks.
Q: What would you say is the best way to generate income from fashion blogging?
A: The best way to monetise your fashion blog/social media platform is not to monetise it for as long as you possibly can.
The social media generation grew up watching ads and sponsored posts, so they can spot them from a mile away.
Usually when a blogger takes money for a post, they end up posting content that is much less authentic than their usual stuff, and their followers notice this.
You should focus your energy on providing value to the community that follows you. This is how you grow your platforms.
Eventually, if done correctly, your platform will start to make money naturally without compromising itself.
I see too many people trying to monetise way too early, and as a result they stunt the growth of their platform.
Q: What is your daily beauty routine?
A: I tend to focus more on skin care on a daily basis more than actual make-up.
Cleansing and moisturising in the morning and evening is a must for me.
I love looking fresh and awake. The make-up I use to help achieve this look is a water-based foundation (so my skin still looks natural and my freckles show through), concealer for the dark area under my eyes, blush, natural-looking highlights and hydrated lips.
Q: Who is your favourite designer?
A: I wouldn’t say I have a favourite, but currently I am obsessing with UAE-based designers like Hessa Falasi.
Q: What is the one fashion item that you couldn’t live without?
A: Mom jeans or straight cut jeans (I’m not a skinny jeans kind of girl).
Q: What is the ultimate fashion item that you dream of purchasing?
A: An abaya from Hessa Falasi. (I don’t care which one, as long as she designed it.)
Q: Your tips on how to take the perfect outfit photograph for Instagram?
A: Have an amazing photographer and team on a well-planned set. Take hundreds of shots and spend hours editing the perfect ones.
Instagram is the number one fashion publishing platform in the world right now, and that’s the level it’s at to be competitive.
But for those who don’t take it that seriously, be confident in your look. It translates on camera. Great lighting can make average smartphone cameras take amazing images.
Research photo composition and make sure you get it right.
* Connect with Nabilah on Instagram or Facebook - @nabilahkariem