Monday, 1 March 2010
Hijab Style Exclusive: Masoomah Interview
Today, Hijab Style brings you an exclusive interview with Sadia Nosheen, founder of the Nottingham-based jilbab brand Masoomah.
Jana: Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to start Masoomah?
Sadia: My name is Sadia Nosheen, a mother of two and creator of Masoomah. My first interest in jilbabs was born at university where I studied Law. During this time I started my journey in exploring Islam, I soon found myself wanting to abide by the regulations of Islam in covering myself in Islamic attire. I think this is really when Masoomah started - I had picked up vital sewing knowledge from my mother (whose sewing machine was a big part of my childhood) and in desperate search of clothing that was Islamic but also comfortable and fitting for a young Muslimah in a university/working atmosphere, started to design and make my own jilbabs, not realising that this would lead to other opportunities.
Following on from this, many sisters started to request my services to make them jilbabs, at which point I started to think about Masoomah within a business capacity.
Jana: What challenges do you face when designing jilbabs?
Sadia: As with all designers there are many challenges faced when designing jilbabs, the greatest of them being making sure that they are stylish and comfortable yet modest and Islamic. A full conscious effort is also made in assuring the cuts and styles are not too figure hugging. Another challenge is the type of fabric used - will it aid in producing modest clothing? Cost as always is also another factor; making sure that the garments are reasonably priced whilst still maintaining high levels of quality. Lastly always being on your toes and really exhausting all design ideas to produce designs in align with Islam, with available fabrics to create something different for my customers.
Jana: Who are your favourite designers and why?
Sadia: I don’t really have one favourite designer but I am heavily inspired by vintage and retro clothing, especially Laura Ashley, and this is often seen in my work. In terms of designers of modest clothing, I have a lot of respect for many designers as they are all aiding in providing Muslimahs with appropriate modest clothing, all having very different approaches in their design ideas and styles. I especially have high regard for work by Zainab from Amirah Fashions as well as Shukr's designer Tabassum Siddiqui.
Jana: What do you think sets Masoomah apart from other Islamic clothing companies?
Sadia: From the feedback I have received from many sisters Masoomah is very different to other Islamic companies as it provides a very personal and real service to its customers where each order and jilbab is specifically altered and tweaked not only to fit each sister’s size and height, but also build. As well as providing its customers with that personal touch through a customer consultation and fabric swatch service, Masoomah also caters for the needs of sisters who are special sized and often have very different needs (extra tall or short as well as sisters with disabilities). Another difference with Masoomah is that it is not a mass producing company or a wholesaler, which in effect promotes an element of exclusiveness - this also aids in a faster turn-around in designs and production of stock. Also, being a mother and a Muslimah who wears jilbab, I feel that the feedback I receive from sisters in combination with my personal experience and needs, associated with comfort, practicality and style, help me to really tune into what other sisters want out of a jilbab.
Jana: Describe your ideal outfit.
Sadia: Haha, well all sisters who know me know I am crazy about black, so it had to be a black jilbab, possibly with a Cadbury’s purple hijab with matching brooch and scarf pin.
Jana: Any advice for Muslimahs wanting to start their own clothing line?
Sadia: If you are passionate and feel strongly about starting your own clothing line, I fully advise to start small and to build up gradually. Basic sewing knowledge is a must – I don’t think I could have set up Masoomah without this.
Be prepared for some hard slog and sleepless nights! I think that it’s important to keep going as there are many hurdles and it’s a huge learning curve, but ultimately it will help you to improve your business mind and approach. But I think the most important thing is to put in the effort to the best of your abilities and then make tawakkal – put your trust in Allah (swt) - the outcome good or bad is in His hands and either way, it's Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah).
If you enjoyed this interview, don't forget to check back tomorrow for a chance to win your very own Masoomah jilbab!