Something has been weighing on me tremendously lately. It has been a constant topic of conversation with both my partner and my friends. It all started when we celebrated Fashion Caravan’s 1st birthday back in December 2015 and started planning for an exciting, rewarding and successful year two ahead. During this process, I’ve had to question different marketing strategies while also asking myself if Fashion Caravan still represents the values it once started with. I realized that while the values remain, the company, products and mission have not only evolved but also expanded. This makes me happy because it is an indication of growth. What bothers me is the sustainability of this growth without using “sexy-scarf” strategies.
Let me explain. When I started wearing the scarf…it was not to ENHANCE my beauty. It was also not conceal my beauty. I never believed and still don’t believe that the scarf is to conceal a woman’s beauty from the world. Wearing the scarf to me is purely an act of obedience and I don’t question it beyond that. I don’t argue about the verses, I made an educated and informed decision a few years ago and I am comfortable and confident with the answers I found. So I wore it. Wearing the scarf has been a trying journey for both my faith and self-esteem. I once relied on my hair to complete my outfit…and now I rely on my colorful scarves. (Trust me, it’s not the same. Nothing is like a good blow out! ) But that’s okay-nothing good comes easy. It took me time to become comfortable with this new identity and image and almost a new person that the world now saw. I’m still the same purse-obsessed girl who also happens to also indulge in a little shoe therapy every now and then. (More often than I’m claiming). What I’m trying to say is that Fashion Caravan represents that journey to me. Fashion Caravan encompasses everything I’ve experienced and gone through in the past few years…particularly a journey of who I became when I started wearing the scarf.
And now I’m annoyed. I am mad; I am discouraged. In thinking about how to grow my company, I am constantly bombarded with messages, images and marketing that suggests that the ONLY way to take my company to the next level is by turning into a “sexy-scarf” company as I like to call it. I need to “invest” in pretty faces with great bodies who also happen to be makeup Gods.
I know sex has always played a role in marketing. A VERY intimate role, and an extremely successful role. I don’t deny that aesthetics are VERY important in marketing your product but why does it have to be the beauty of a woman, yet again? Being Muslim does not mean we are not a part of society. It does not mean we do not have the same issues that every other woman has. It does not mean that because I cover my hair, I suddenly don’t care about what I look like. I do and probably more than ever…but being a Muslim means having a set of moral standards that VALUE the soul far greater than just the physical being. It values obedience to the Creator much more than obedience to social norms and standards.
Why are we here then? It makes me sad to hear young girls question their beauty because some scarf wearing blogger is “prettier than them, skinnier than them and has a huge rock on her finger.” Those same girls not only admire and value physical beauty as their beginning and end but also use terms like #GOALS to signify who they want to be like and it is all based off an image. More than ever, I see young Muslim girls who are already struggling with their faith…struggling harder. Not only do they struggle with covering their hair in a society where it is not the norm…but they now have to struggle to become stylish, pretty and skinny within their own communities.
So I end this post by calling myself to celebrate and accept the direction we’re taking here at FC. We’ll be more focused on building confidence….no matter what kind of “hijab day” we’re having. We’re encouraging gratitude no matter what purse or shoes I’m wearing and we’re certainly encouraging #GOALS beyond mushy-cute-we-never-fight pictures of Husain and I…because we do and this is us.
So WHO are you? Tag us in your pictures using #thisismeFC and tell us a little about yourself.