It’s no secret that blogging can lead to success: Top fashion bloggers say they rake in millions of dollars from endorsement deals (see Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad). Other bloggers score smaller paydays—from $5,000 to $10,000 for sponsored content—which We Wore What’s Danielle Bernstein recently revealed to Harper’s Bazaar. It’s a lucrative business but it’s one that’s been missing a key market, until now.
Muslim fashion bloggers have not only come onto the scene, they’re making waves. Blogs like The Haute Muslimah, The Muslim Girl and Hijabtrendz all aim to do one thing: demonstrate how you can have faith and be totally, completely, chic at the same time. These sites focus on fashion and how to stand out while still being true to yourself.
“The reason Hijabtrendz came about was to give Muslim women in the West an outlet,” says blog creator Mariam Sobh. “I grew up reading Seventeen and Glamour and Vogue, and I never saw myself [in their pages]. I'm not saying there has to be a woman in hijab, but there was nothing to benefit me or deal with the issues I was going through. Those magazines were about how to look sexy and how to attract men, and while I don't have a problem with that, my values are that those things are within marriage.”
Sobh isn’t the only blogger filling a much-needed niche in the marketplace. Ikhlas Hussein runs The Muslim Girl, and she started her site to “cater to the needs of young Muslim girls and give them tips and tricks on how to live life both modestly and beautifully, without compromising on their faith.”
She also grew up with fashion magazines and did not feel the content spoke to her. “As a teenager,” she says, “I loved reading magazines like Seventeen, Teen Vogue, Vervegirl etc. for the style tips and general life advice. At the same time, I was always conscious of the fact that the content didn’t really apply to me, a young, practising, hijab-wearing Muslim girl, and topics like ‘How to Get the Best Bikini Body’ and ‘How to Know if He’s into You’ just confirmed my feeling of otherness.”
Asma Parvez, the blogger behind the imminently popular Haute Muslimah, started her site after having her first child. “After my son was born, I really needed a creative outlet, so I began blogging,” she said. “I love making fashion accessible to women, and especially Muslim women who want to dress modestly, while maintaining their sense of style.”
Bloggers grounded in faith and modesty do have a place in fashion, and mainstream sites are taking notice.
The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, Marie Claire, Stylecaster and more are all covering these very chic women.
Uniqlo has teamed up with blogger Hana Tajima for a capsule collection.
But beyond the press clippings, it’s the blog audiences that are the most impressive.
The Muslim Girl has 63K followers on Facebook and a newsletter list of 1,500.
Hijabtrendz has over 800,000 followers on Facebook, and is currently in talks with a brand and working with advertisers, but can’t divulge more at the moment.
Haute Muslimah, which has about 9,190 Facebook fans has a big fashion following. “I have had the honor of working with some amazing people and brands, like Gucci and Chanel, Haute Hijab, Zeena, Inayah, Shopbop and the folks at Lucky Magazine, among so many others!” Parvez said. And there’s more to come, no doubt.
For girls who are still figuring out their own style, these sites are a lifeline.
Sobh feels there’s a change taking place that makes fashion much more welcoming and easier to navigate for those who dress modestly. “The last few years have seen a huge shift in mainstream fashion,” she says. “There are so many options now, that I rarely have to buy items from a specialized ‘hijab fashion’ retailer. I love to mix and match things from various places and put my own spin on things. For example, I might find some baggy tencel pants from the Gap and then pair it with a blazer from The Limited and a T-shirt from The Disney Store, Converse sneaker or heels and a wrap hijab.”
Hussein is hoping to make shopping even easier. “Something else I am working on is a directory,” she says. “Alhamdulilah, there's so many online modest clothing stores and Muslim lifestyle stores, and I'd like to create a directory where you can find everything–kind of like an online shopping mall. This is something that's currently in the works.”
For Parvez, it’s about helping all women and making their lives better. “My main goal is to connect with people. I really hope to impact people's lives. It makes me really happy to see Muslim women, all women really, connect with what they see and read on the blog. When someone tells me I've helped them see Muslim women differently, or helped them learn how to dress modestly and still look good, that makes me happy.”