I am always free to be who I am
Todays special guest on our week long feature is Zirak Khan. We asked Zirak to share a little bit about herself and this is what she had to say.
My name is Zirak Khan, I’m 28 years old (eeks), and live in Mississauga with my husband. We rent a one bedroom, and live like college roommates, and its ridiculous fun! I grew up with my grandparents, mom, and sister, in good old Brampton, and we moved around locally quite a bit within that area. I spent some brief time in the United States, until we eventually wound up in Oakville, from where I attended the University of Guelph. I’ve also had a vast diversity of people, culture, and things around me, and that definitely has shaped who I am today. I studied international development, and had a lot of dreams of getting out there and saving the world. In fact on my last day of University, the class was asked to identify their future plans, and I indicated I would be out teaching english in underdeveloped countries (the dream). When i discovered there wasn’t enough bug spray in the world to deal with my phobia of nature, I settled into being a corporate slave, and five years later find myself working as a Project Management Consultant within the technology industry lol! I definitely do like to do my part, and I try my best locally, but definitely a different reality than what I had envisioned back then ;). I’m a bit of a social butterfly, I love meeting new people, trying new things, and supporting good causes, and most importantly, I value family 🙂
What does being a fashionable Muslim mean to you?
When was growing up, I was literally the token victim recipient of family hand me downs. As luck would have it, the family member ahead of me, was my elder male cousin. His mom would bring a monthly stash of clothes he had outgrown, and hand them to my mother, who would happily parade me around in boy clothes. I absolutely hated this at the time. my friend would be princesses in jelly shoes, and butterfly clips, and i’d be in jeans and a mickey mouse t-shirt.
I look back at those photos now so fondly, because that is the stuff memories are made of. I had a wild uninhibited childhood, my parents let me explore and adventure. I never had to worry about not getting my shoes wet, or tears in my shirt. As much as its a good laugh to look back on and make fun of my childhood wardrobe, I really felt like it was part of the puzzle to complete who I am.
Fashion to me is about being comfortable in your own skin. That is intricately tied to being a fashionable muslim. Islam is so tightly woven into being simple, modest or a sense of haya, appropriately dressed, well dressed, maintaining cleanliness, feeling confident, uninhibited, and a sense of identity through our appearance/apparel. It isn’t about a specific trend, or piece of clothing, or accessory, or market share, or what is prescribed.
This is how I was raised, to believe that my sense of fashion represents “self”, that I should feel comfortable in my own skin, and that I am always free to be who I am.
How would you describe your style?
I would honestly describe myself as having zero style LOL. I know this is ironic, but i guess we are our own worst critic :). But if you’re asking me to get to the nitty gritty, I think the key to style is knowing what suits your personality and physique. I entirely base my purchasing decisions, and outfits, on what will suit my body, be flattering, and trendy. They say fashion is what you buy, and style is what you do with it, and I guess I definitely believe that. I also love solid and dark colours, its a statement, and always makes you a little more noticeable if you pair this with funky jewellery or dramatic makeup. Honestly speaking, if its flattering, and doesn’t make you want to pass out at the end of the night – its me ! Style should be effortless, comfortable, my happy place!
What inspires your style the most?
I love being inspired! One of the magical things about being tapped in to social media and networking, is that the fashion world and icons are like a kaleidoscope, always dynamic, always changing. We are constantly absorbing the colour, smell, taste, feel of fashion. i love local bloggers and and local fashion businesses, and make it a point to keep up with them to see what is unique that i can add to my collection. Being a muslim woman requires wearing a lot of different “hats” the mother, the homemaker, the professional, the community advocates, the wife, the sister – but all of this can be done in style 😉
I will admit however, being recently married, the most inspiring thing about dressing up and embodying a style for me, is wearing something that makes my husbands eyes light up when he sees me. I’m all about comfort, confidence, and feeling good, being independent, etc. But at the end of the day, a true girl at heart, i love the “wow factor” when my husband appreciates what ive adorned for a night out, or even just a night in. I think my style is really influenced by how people around me appreciate it, and im lucky to have a lot of positive influential people, who are supportive and encouraging about how i choose to look 🙂
Favourite fashion items:
-Head gear accessories(for western or traditional outfits)- teeka, tiara, chains to drape around the head (greek goddess style)
-Brown boots – every girl must have a pair of these, they are so chic and versatile
-Black dress – its always fun to wear funky jewellery and have it pop against a plain black canvas
-Tights – in all colours, patterns, solids, a great way to be semi formal, or semi casual
-Coats – a trendy coat is an absolute must, its the first line of site when people see you, and ets the tone for the rest of your look
-Blazers – look chic, and if tailored well, give you those curves you want
-Crocs – don’t lose all hope in me! Crocs is an amazing durable brand, and my shoes are so comfortable I feel like I’m walking on a cloud. Most people are familiar with conventional crocs, but they
actually have a diversity of styles that look great !
-Watch – don’t ever look at the time, it sends bad signals when you’re out having fun, but wearing a watch is key. ah the irony!
Biggest fashion frustrations:
-Colour blocking – i will never buy into this. It looks like you’ve picked your outfit in the dark !
-Short shorts – sorry Miley cyrus, but fashion[hion should can be sexy and classy simultaneously. short shorts look like overgrown undergarments.
-Fishnet pantyhose – need i say more?
-Sandals with socks – why, just why? Either you have pulled out your sandals prematurely, or you’re looking at a stinky situation at the end of the day wearing socks in heat !
Favourite element of men’s fashion:
Blazers can make and break a guy. Along with his beard line. Blazers are available for any occasion, and are so versatile in that they can be worn formally, or casually with jeans. Blazers separate the boys from the men. Tailor them well, and voila !
Thank you Zirak for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share your ideas and opinions with us.
For our Instagram users you can follow her at http://instagram.com/zrakhan
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