There’s always a bit of controversy when you put these two together : Hijab & Fashion, and there are two groups of people that are adamant that these two simply can’t be intertwined. We all know of those Non Muslim men and women that act as if they know every Hadith and Quranic scripture by heart and are on hijab pages and forums trolling and throwing shade on how attempting to look beautiful or attractive is just against the rules of Islam. And then ofc, we have our very own conservatives. These are our own Muslim brothers and sisters that have a holier than thou attitude and insist that the monochrome life, is the more righteous life.

Your hijab shouldn’t be a factor in determining how stylish you want to be. If black abayas are your thing, then that’s great for you. You can still accessorize them and make them your own. They just didn’t do anything for me. When I first started wearing my hijab, I struggled with defining my fashion identity as a Muslim woman. I threw out my entire wardrobe believing that every item in my closet had to be plain and baggy. If 9 years ago, I knew what I know now, I would’ve saved myself some mad money and still have some great wardrobe classics lying around.

I met Humaira Waza, at a pop up fashion event at the Burj Boulevard about two years back, where she was demonstrating various hijab styles. She was also advising women on how to style and play with their outfits. Naturally I had to pick her brains a little. She was the first hijab stylist I had ever met and I wasn’t going to let her go that easily ! Based in the UK, Humaira has created a new opportunity for many hijabi-nistas from the faith that she practices in, and just recently founded the Humaira Waza Hijab School. Humaira has created a niche amongst Muslim weddings, and is a sought after bridal hijab stylist. Here, I wanted to give you a personal insight into how much Humaira has grown in her industry and succeeded in a career that was probably mocked by plenty around her.

Could you give me an intro on your background, where are you from, where do you live, and how long have you been hijab styling for?

I’m 24 and British. My grandparents were born in India so my background is Gujarati Muslim. I live in London and I’ve been styling for over 6 years now.
Your Instagram profile says that you’re a Self Taught Hijab Stylist. How did you get into this line of career ?
I started during my first year of university. As ‘hijab styling’ wasn’t really a thing, I initially started styling for just family and friends. I took limited bookings and tried different styles on those closest around me. The intention at the time was to just see if it could be something I did on the side. Little did I know that years later it would turn into a career.
Were there setbacks or challenges that you had to face and if so, how did you deal with them ?
In all honesty, Alhamdulillah there hasn’t been any real setbacks or challenges.
Do you find your industry competitive ? If so, define how you’re trying to stay above the game.
In the wedding and fashion industry there will definitely be some major competition. I try to stay away from any form of negativity. I focus my energy instead on staying current by collaborating with others who work in a similar field as me. I love working with fellow MUAs and fashion designers. I frequently meet with various other creative artists and work to plan and discuss new ideas. Another important key to staying above the game is talking to clients and asking them what they’d like to see. I also am always asking them how they feel and how I can improve my work and services.
What’s your favorite hijab style and what textures or accessories do you prefer to play with ?
Believe it or not, I’m quite boring so I have to say my favourite style is the simple chucked on wrap. It’s probably the only style you’ll ever find on me. My favourite material has to be a soft chiffon – it’s so easy to work with, looks so soft against the skin and can be easily styled.
Are there any misconceptions that you have to face with your line of work or the styles you represent to your clients ? If so, how do you deal with them.
Erm yeah, there’s a massive misconception that it’s not really a profession. I feel like I’m constantly explaining to people that hijab styling is now like any other beauty service – one that is on the forefront of all things weddings and fashion. Most people choose to wear their hijab on their wedding day and for that bridal hijab stylists are very much needed.
What is a typical work weekend for you like ? and how many appts can you take within a day.
A typical work weekend means waking up at the crack of dawn and going home after working for sometimes 12/13 hours on the go. As a bridal hijab stylist, I am usually all over the place ensuring that my brides are ready on time. The work can be quite draining and means our cars become our offices and dining areas all in one ! But Alhamdulillah, it’s all very rewarding!
How long does it usually take to style a bride, and what elements do you look at when you’re styling a bride vs. a regular hijab style for a party?
Bridal styling takes around 45 minutes to an hour. And the base I’d say is the most important. Without a good base on a bridal hijab the hijab just looks normal and doesn’t sit well. I always emphasis how important base is to my brides. It gives the final look a more professional classier edge. A good base consists of a secure rounded volume that is secure and tight under the hijab cap. This sets the foundation and holds any styling that is then done and is fantastic for holding the weight of the bridal dupatta or veil, which as you know can be quite heavy.
You seem to be quite active with fashion shoots and editorials. Which do you prefer more off ; private clients or fashion ?
Personally I’ll always prefer styling for clients. My bridal and party clients will always take priority. I love fashion and editorial but private styling is much more personal. I get to meet sooo many amazing people through that side of it. Saying that I work with some AMAZING brands and talented people through fashion (not to mention all the cool clothes and accessories I get haha) so that does come close too !
Where do you get your styling inspirations from and do you have any recommendations or hijab styling tips that you could share with us.
Inspiration comes from everywhere ! I style according to the face and head shape and of course the clients personal preferences. But I do love trying out hair inspired hijab looks when I get the chance. I love styling out of the box and going all out to show people the potential of what wearing a hijab has. In terms of tips, I’d say experiment until you find a style that you’re comfortable with.
And lastly, any advice that you’d like to share for those interested in having a career with hijab styling ?
Train, Train, Train ! Definitely take that step and train yourself in styling and practice. It’s the best thing you can do and it’s so much fun. It’s a career I wouldn’t swap for anything else and with hard work and persistence you’ll come to know it’s the best job you can ever have!
If hijab styling is something that you’re interested in, read more about it on Humaira Waza’s website www.humairawaza.com
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