Our continuing Feature on Muslim women and fashion we have
Fatima Sheikh, principal stylist and founder of FS Charlie, comes from a long line of celebrated film and television actors. Instead of following in their footsteps, Fatima found a different way to express her creative heritage: through hair and makeup. A native Californian, Fatima’s love affair with style started at age 3, when she was firmly convinced she was Madonna! At 18, her cousin, the noted Hollywood actor Yawar Charlie, asked her to style a New Year’s Eve party in West Hollywood. The rest, as they say, is history. Formally trained by MAC, Michael White, the key hair stylist for such acclaimed films as Milk and Jerry Maguire, and Deborah Dietrich, head of the hair department for NBC’s hit show, Trauma, Fatima started doing makeup and hair for films, including Milk. Aspiring actors, for whom looking their best was top priority, sought her expertise for headshots. Soon, her talents included eyebrow threading and henna art, which she learned from none other than Madonna’s personal eyebrow and henna expert, Sumita Batra of Ziba Beauty. Fatima’s creativity, talent, and laid-back vibe led her into fashion, where she did hair and makeup for fashion shoots and worked on several high-profile fashion shows during L.A. Fashion Week, such as Rock & Republic. The Bay Area called Fatima back, where she became the go-to stylist for many high-profile weddings. Her Bollywood vibe and Hollywood expertise made her the premier wedding stylist for discerning South Asian brides who wanted to look dazzling for their weddings held in the US and abroad. The best part: South Asian brides love that Fatima is a one-stop stylist. Not only is she an expert with hair, makeup, henna and threading, she can easily dress South Asian brides and their bridal parties in their traditional attire. Rather than get comfortable, Fatima moved to New York to make her mark on the fashion capital of the world. She was soon hired by Rare NYC, the celebrated Tribeca salon founded by Ruth Roche, who’s styled celebrities such as Mariah Carey, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Szohr, and, Kelly Ripa, and whose work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Vanity Fair, and In Style. At Rare, Fatima’s talent led to work for fashion runway shows, such as Christian Dior, fashion shoots, and celebrity clients, such as Victoria Secret models. In November 2010, Ruth passed the torch to Fatima, who is now the owner of Rare Salon. Fatima’s company, FS Charlie, is named in honor of her grandfather, Noor Muhammed Charlie, the legendary comic of Bollywood’s silent film era. She lives in New York City and travels to California frequently.
I have never considered myself much of a stylish person. I honestly struggle with it every day. I always felt torn between what looks good in general and what works for me. I go between looking at these amazing designs in magazines and runways and see what is available in stores and am like…but how? It took me a long time to figure out how to translate what I feel I look like in my head to what I wish I could look like. Some people may call it superficial to care that much about our clothes but honestly it’s the image you put forward so to not care is saying we don’t care about ourselves. That’s just not an acceptable answer. So first things first I figured out my body. Next I figured out where I want to spend my money meaning what are the things I find to be timeless.
Lastly I threw out any style rules and go with what excites me. I really feel that when you’re trying to define your wardrobe it’s imperative to remember that if you don’t have bad clothes in your closet you don’t wear them. Don’t give yourself the option to dress badly. If you feel lukewarm about what you purchased you will probably never wear it and it probably doesn’t look good on you. When you’re starting health routine whets the first thing they say to do. Get the bad food out of your house. Clean the fridge; make sure there is nothing that will tempt you. So take a long look at your wardrobe. Really what do you end up wearing most often? What is it you like about those things? Is it the way you feel when you put it on. Is it the fabric? Is it the fit? Then you know what gets you going. Now I know there is a big difference between me and my lifestyle and yours. Maybe some of you are in a position where you don’t have to worry about what you wear everyday but I would say most people have a job in which there is a constraint on your fashion choices because you have to put on a look for work. Remember this in making your choices. What would you wear to both work and out? This is what I meant about where you want to spend your money. Don’t fill your wardrobe with work clothes ….it’s basically a uniform. Or don’t spend money on pieces you don’t care for. I’m not saying it has to be crap. I am saying there are affordable options that your special pieces will make look fabulous. People do assume I spend a ton of money on my clothes. Not true at all. I spend money on what I love. I don’t spend on filler pieces in my wardrobe. Plain black skirts…slacks…blazers. Unless you see one that is to die for then by all means go for it. They are a dime a dozen so get something that works…pick good fabrics that fit well. I can stress fit enough. When you wear those basics with your incredible blouse that you feel like a million bucks in no one is paying attention to the filler wardrobe. I have rocked target shoes with McQueen blouses….no one including (most importantly) myself is looking at the shoes. Sometimes you just need things that complete the look. I love forever 21, asos, target, zara, mango etc they totally work for getting the things I need to make sure my wardrobe is complete. I touched on fit. You can wear the plainest cotton tank top. When it fits you amazing it doesn’t matter where you got it or who it’s by it will be worth every penny. But something that is not well fitted was a complete waste. Doesn’t matter how great a bargain it was you might as well have thrown the money away. Don’t bargain the way you look in something. Make sure your pants are tailored. I swear it doesn’t take much time. I am very short and very curvy….
this usually means they don’t make pants that fit my hips that are also my leg length. Just get them hemmed it’s not a painful experience and you’ll have a renewed love of your pants!
This last tip is a tough one to wrap your mind around. But the biggest thing that helped me look and feel like I’m always put together is I stopped wearing jeans. Ladies this is especially pertinent to you. Replace jeans with cool printed pants, or a great skirt or even just slacks. All of a sudden you’re not overly casual. I tend to wear a lot of dresses because I find them so easy. One piece I have to put on and no more thought put into it. I love tanks and cotton skirts with sandals in the summer its comfortable casual but not sloppy. Try replacing your jeans once a week the practice of the whole idea is to not default to putting on jeans. You will start thinking about what else you already have that you always say you never wear. See how you feel. Lastly why have an occasion to wear what you love. Every day is the perfect day to walk out the door and feel incredible. When you love the way you look you’re mood changes. When you love your wardrobe there is an infinite amount of things that make you feel like it’s an occasion. There is no reason to wait to feel great. The occasion is life. You never know who is waiting to be impressed by your confidence. You will never seek the opportunities you never knew you had. Invite people in to see how incredible you are. Your image lets people understand you’re worth opening doors for.
Thank you Fatima Sheikh for taking the time to share your insight and expertise in the industry with our readers. Be sure to check out her Salon out
Simar – SPI