Modest Fashion: An Interview with Zainab Irfan

One of the most sensitive topics in today’s world among Muslim population is fashion, after which the term “Modest Fashion” was invented and introduced by some of the most thoughtful and creative Muslim stylists, men and women. Muslim women were believed to have limited opportunities and a boundary they weren’t supposed to cross in the field of fashion & styling due to the assumption of it being immodest and overly-revealing. However, the widely-believed misconception is now being transformed into something entirely different. Those same Muslim women have stepped up their games in this specific field, proving the world that sky is the only limit to women as well in terms of being ambitious and achieving their dreams regardless of whether or not a specific field is being accepted by the majority to be suitable for women. “What does culture have to do with what’s right or wrong anyway” mindset and stable mentality of the millennials today are simply making the fashion industry even more competitive, intriguing and extremely challenging with a variety of unique clothes and brands. Most importantly with very differently creative-minded individuals working on the same target – “Modest Style”.

Team Merak was more than happy to have a chit-chat with one of such amazing modest-fashion bloggers who is not only extremely motivated and goal-oriented professionally, but also an easy-going foodie filled with positive and positive vibes only personality.


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Could you tell us a little about yourself and the background you come from.

Hey guys! I’m Zainab. I’m a 21 year old fashion stylist and assistant manager of creatives and events of Optimus Ltd. I would describe my background as a strict but, not so strict background, if that makes sense. I am a huge fashion enthusiast and workaholic.

After graduating school I was still trying to figure out what career I wanted to pursue in my life, as I’m not a person who likes to force myself to do what I don’t like, I took my time and did different courses to figure out what exactly I wanted to do. I started with doing my business management foundation after which I started working for Jezza fashion where I was managing social media. After some time I was allowed to direct and style a shoot. I then realised that it is this what I wanted to do, I wanted to style and direct creative shoots because it felt so therapeutic which made me fall in love with it right at the first time.


How would you define fashion from your point of view?

For me, fashion plays a huge role in my life. It is something which helps me to portray my truest self well,  its a way of self-expression. I like to pair out outfits to match my sense of style which is usually quite edgy, street and modest fashion.


Would you describe your signature look for us?

Modest fashion and street fashion is a style that I hugely follow on my page. Everyone has their ways of portraying their style, for me, it’s the baggy clothes styled for perfection.


Tell us about one of your “Woohoo, I made it!!” moments.

I take every little achievement as my “woohoo moment”, every little compliment is an achievement for me. But the biggest Woohoo Moment, when my work was featured on Ceylon today’s cover page (Sri Lankan Newspaper). That really is an and forever will remain as an unforgettable moment. I knew it then that I’ve made it, I’ve finally made my mark!


The designs you have created so far are brilliant. Who or which things were your inspiration while creating those designs?

Let me be honest, I don’t have a specific brand/ designer that I always go to to get my clothes from. I’m someone who already has a style inspiration in my head and goes searching everywhere to get it and if I don’t, I stitch it. When I’m thinking of a design that I want to wear, I always make sure it suits my true self.

I’m inspired by music videos and Pinterest! Yes, I don’t have a specific person who inspires me because everything around me, every little thing inspires me.


Do you mind sharing a few of the challenges that you faced in this industry and how you handled them?

The cyber-world is not always as friendly as it seems to be. As bloggers, you have to face certain issues that are pretty hideous like fake profiles, hate comments, judgments, other people’s opinions, negative opinion about us etcetera.

When you get into the whole blogger field, these come with it. It’s a whole unavoidable package along with other amazing benefits. We just have to deal with it in a manner where there’s no bad blood, explain and tell them nicely that this is not right. I don’t involve myself in drama because I don’t need it and want my page to be as positive and motivating as possible.


‘A woman in such a sensitive field’ that too from a conservative background. How did you cope with that?

People have their judgments no matter what, but what I do is for me, it’s something I love, enjoy and it is very therapeutic for me. I don’t allow people’s judgements to stop me from what I’m doing, If I allow peoples’ opinions mould my future, it’s not going to be a happy one for me. My close individuals’ opinions is all what matters.

As a woman, we can do greats things out there. Watching other courageous women getting out there, chasing their dreams and changing the world has make me so happy and that’s why I chose to do the same being fearless. I’ve seen many individuals hesitate to follow the careers they want to because of this, coming from a so called “Conservative” background. I simply advice them to just do it! It’s your life, that’s it.


What was the biggest setback you faced in this industry and how did you overcome it?

Not being recognised for my work is one of the biggest setbacks I faced during my career, I just let it take over my thoughts for once and it started reducing my motivation.

I realised I shouldn’t allow it to affect my career and instead, I worked hard 24/7. I was putting out a wide variety of content and little by little, people started recognising me.

You have to be confident in what you do. You can go through a lot of setbacks in life, career, and relationships, but it’s how you rise from all the obstacles that matter the most.  In the end, it’ll feel good. When you look back to see how far you’ve come, mark my words.


Who have been your biggest mentors in fashion styling and what is the best advice they have ever given you?

My biggest mentor is my mom. She’s always good in styling us and I’m pretty sure I got it to from her. What I learned from her is how to do you, if you have a specific idea in mind just do it, experience the outcome and learn from it. Eventually, you will find your way to having your signature style.


Your advices to those who seek out a career as a fashion stylist?

I had no idea what I was I doing when I started doing styling, I researched, learned and started experimenting my ways throughout my career. We have to put in the hard work and motivation to our job and then, the outcome will turn out be great.

If you’re a new fashion stylist, start with identifying your style as it is very important to know yourself first and start doing in house content and come up with different concepts and put it out to the world to see. Have self-confidence and motivation. It will help you to do amazing and unbelievable things in life.


After all, it’s about how much dedicated and stubborn you are towards chasing your dreams and achieving every single one of them, starting from minor to major.


You can read Zainab’s cover-page article on Ceylon today here:

Follow her on Instagram @zainabbbbi to keep up with her latest styles.

Merak Editor

May contain contributions from various authors under discussed hot topics. Consent, authority and publishing rights are held by Merak Inc. UK.


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