In our final piece on Muslim women and fashion we have Wafa Aouchiche, a local resident of the Toronto area she describes herself as:
My name is Wafa Aouchiche, I was born and raised in northern Africa, Algeria. When I was 9 years old, my family left Algeria because of a civil war. We first spent 5 years in Montreal and moved to Toronto in 2000. I completed my undergraduate studies at the university of Toronto where I completed a double major in French and history. During my studies, I would attend university for 8 months and travel for 4. I’m not working as a high school teacher, teaching French in an all-girls private school. I’m loving it!
What does being a fashionable Muslim mean to you?
I’m not sure how to interpret this question because I find the term ‘fashionable’ very relative. Sometimes, sisters ask me if I have youtube tutorials or a fashion blog. To be honest, I never look at fashion magazines and I’ve never been able to follow any trends.Being a fashionable Muslim means being comfortable in one’s skin. It also means diversifying your Hijab style (not for the sake of fashion/blogs/magazines) as a way of expressing one’s various moods and styles. My Hijab always reflects my mood; both color and style are often determined by my emotions that’s why I find it difficult to pre-plan outfits… I may wake up the next day and not be in the mood to wear what I prepared the night before.
How would you describe your style?
Many people would say ‘hippie’ I like anything that’s long, flowy and elegant (maxi dresses and long scarves…) I don’t like blazers because I feel constricted in them.
What inspires your style the most?
I would say my mood and my travels. I love collecting random items in various places; that’s usually how I build my wardrobe. I travel and collect pants, scarves and shirts from various parts of the world. My mood determines my fashion sense and what I’m in the mood for. It determines what I’ll wear, how I’ll wear it and what color it will be!
Favourite fashion items:
Biggest fashion frustrations:
I find it frustrating when the fashion industry doesn’t pay attention to the various needs of various women. Fashion these days seems to be very cookie-cutter like; it doesn’t take into consideration the ‘individual’ and as a result of that we all end up looking the same. I usually purchase dresses from regular stores and alter them with a hijab, cardigan and some accessories.
On the “Mipsterz” phenomenon
Over a year ago, I was approached by a friend who asked me to be in the video (Somewhere in America) She asked if I knew how to skateboard or had any “specific talents” to show on camera. I declined and said i didn’t wanna do it because it seemed fake…it seemed like “it” was trying too hard hard to show the world “Hey guys! Look, we’re just like you!” And now that I see the final product, my opinion hasn’t changed much. The footage is good but I’m not impressed with the video. As hijabis, we often try a little too hard (in my opinion) to get other people’s approval/acceptance. Truth is, the women in the video do NOT fairly represent the hijabi community. On the real though, how many hijabis with high heels and skateboards do we see? I find that the video paints a rosy, utopian picture of hijabis. I personally have big beef with the hijabi fashionista industry and “how to pull off a halal Kim Kardashian look” youtube tutorials. F that! Videos are easy to make but its all about authenticity and being who we *really* are. Skateboards and fashionistas aside I also declined because I had an idea of what the final product would look like. Don’t get me wrong; its wonderful to bridge gaps and break down stereotypes, but to what extent? I find that people are more respectful when one is more genuine and comfortable with who they truly are. Here’s very interesting commentary on the video
SPI would like to thank Wafa Aouchiche for answering our questions and sharing her sense of style and views with us. It’s been an amazing week full of amazing,muslim women.