The time was about 3:00 pm and the weather was a bit on the cooler side of Fall and just about right for a cup of tea and a warm conversation. As we drove over the Queensboro Bridge heading to the bustling streets of Manhattan, our eyes paused to breathe in the incredible Autumn view of the city's skyline. A city where generations have passed and left in its famous cafes and restaurants countless stories. We were about to add one more. We arrived a few minutes early to Teany, a tea cafe spot originally founded by musician, Moby and located in the trendy area of Lower East Manhattan. The scene depicted exactly out of a movie; the noisy cars, the rushed walkers, restaurant workers outside on break and the loud conversations. We enjoyed every second of it!
We chose a cozy cornered area with back cushions to sit and await for our guest. Her name; Sana from ModHijabi. A New Yorker, a daughter, a wife, mother of two, fashionista, a legal licensed drug dealer(Pharmacist) and recently featured in the NY Daily News. Our conversation begin at the arrival of our tea where we spoke about her blog, life, faith and definitely fashion.
What do you love the most about New York?
"I love the diverse people of New York and their acceptance. I think there's unique style everywhere and a total array of people you don't see in other places as much. I do have a love and hate relationship with its hussle and bustle, but love its food and fashion is everywhere."
Do you remember the 1st time you decided to wear the headscarf? What triggered your decision?
"I started wearing the headscarf before the 9th grade. Sunday school introduced me to Muslim friends and they influenced me in positive ways. My Sunday school teacher Shaykh Abdallah Adhami was a huge factor in developing me as a Muslim, opening up my eyes to religion, wanting to better myself and gain more knowledge. For me, wearing hijab was the next logical step my life needed to take as I was growing older.
How do you balance your roles(mommy, wife, daughter, friend) in your life?
"One of the main things that help me keep a balance is working semi-full time, the great relationship between my husband and my in-laws help is essential. I utilize the social events within my family to maximize my time with them and when the kids are asleep I take advantage of that time to hang out with friends for some part."
Describe your style.
"My style can be described as sophisticated and classy with a casual chic mix. My everyday look many times is jeans, no make-up but a statement handbag and shoes."
How do you incorporate trends into your style?
"It depends on the trend. For example, I really love the chunky gold chain look. So, when I saw a scarf from Simply Zeena at ISNA with it, I bought it! In apparel, to sport the skinny pants look, I buy pants two sizes larger , so it fits me in a way where I feel comfortable. I also love clothes that are made with a loose modest fit. Those clothes I buy my exact size.
What are your thoughts on the rise of modest style among American modest women?
"Modest fashion is definitely on the rise right now because it is everywhere. The 'less is more' has been for a long time, but right now it's 'more is more'. It's in both Muslim and non. The other day at the post office I seen a lady rocking a long loose top, loose pants with a summer scarf;she wasn't Muslim. When I saw her, I thought in my head, I would totally wear her entire outfit without any tweaks because she was dressed completely fashionable and completely modest. I also think the rise in modest wear is allowing women to love and respect themselves more."
What message does your blog convey?
"I am a Muslim American educated fashionable woman; hear me roar"
Name one of the happiest moments in your life.
"There are too many but my wedding day, the birth of my sons, completion of hajj and becoming a pharmacist are at the top of my list. An ongoing happy moment; realizing that my mom is perfect in every way possible. I see it more now that I am a mom and I pray that I grow up to be like her; a great mom to my kids as she has been and still is to me. Recently my mom gave me a few heirlooms of her own because some jewelry was wrongfully taken from me. She said she can't enjoy wearing jewelry when she knows that some of it was taken from you. Her action was selfless in every sense and that brought me to happy tears. That was my most recent happiest moment. "
What's your advice on balancing style and faith?
"I have certain guidelines that I definitely do try to stick to in regards to my faith and how I dress. I also implement this on my blog carefully because I don't want people to look at certain things as an excuse that they can do it too. I believe this might be why I have not gotten too many negative comments in regards to whether or not I'm dressing modestly. I really really try to put in a conscious effort to dress modestly."
One thing you are thankful for...
"This is very general, but I 'm thankful that I was born Muslim because Islam provides guidelines for everything I do."
Visit Sana at her blog ModHijabi for style and fashion inspiration.