In our continuing feature on Muslim women and fashion we have Laila Masri. We asked Laila to describe herself in her own words and she had this to say.
I am a proud Palestinian Muslim woman. I was born & grew up in Abudhabi then moved to Dubai in 1997 because my dad’s business relocated. I studied at the university of Western Ontario and pursued my dream as an artist.
I practiced art professionally after returning from university in Canada, and having let go of my graphic design career around 2009. This was the best and most defining decision of my life.
I’ve been happy as an artist ever since! I wear the hijab, and have defined my style by my random inspirations and personality. I am not afraid of expressing my artistic sensibilities and free spirited character in my conservative Islamic dress and don’t believe harsh polarising choices need be made in that regard.
I create self portraits that reflect my views and thoughts of the world around me and my reaction to it. They come as videos or paintings of drawings.
What does being a fashionable Muslim mean to you?
It means reconciling and embracing my identity in all of it’s shapes and colors. Not being afraid to express my beliefs and feelings and lifestyle the way that I want. It means being fearless and standing up for what I believe in, rather than what people expect from me. It means portraying the magical reality of being a Muslim feminist that’s comfortable in her own skin.
How would you describe your style?
Free spirited at times, preppy at times, a fusion of ethnic and western influences. Colorful and textured materials inspire me.
What inspires your style the most?
Kindness, generosity, optimism, resilience. Organic shapes and movement.
Favourite fashion items:
Handmade turbans, statement accessories, red lipstick, kaftans, printed leggings, decorative
Sleeves and collars.
Biggest fashion frustrations:
Coordinating full ensembles that are on trend but Islamic concious at affordable prices
Favourite element of men’s fashion:
Printed garments and sensible shoes
Laila is also a personal friend of our family and we always knew that she would be successful. Her ability to put others ahead of her own needs mixed in with her amazing talent has really allowed her to excel as an artist and fashionista. She is a great role model for young women. I want to personally thank her for sharing a bit of who she is with the world.