Even in today’s social climate, where women donning the hijab is more represented in the media than before, hijabi woman occasionally still get targeted and sometimes marginalised. We may have taken back control of the narrative but there is still quite a long way to go to gain inclusivity and acceptance.
This scrutiny is not just confined to outside of our community but also within. Muslim women get judged from both sides – either on the notion that the hijab oppresses them or on the notion that their version of the hijab is not representative of the faith.
So yes, there is still a long way to go to gain inclusivity and acceptance on both sides. We applaud those who have and are striving to speak up and speak out. Whether it be a social activist, a fashion influencer or a fashion label, speaking about the hijab (your version of it) and seeing it portrayed confidently in beautiful imagery gets the conversation going and that is the gateway to change.
Today we speak to Firdaus Amran from one such fashion label based in Singapore, SF Scarves.
How did SF Scarves start?
I have always been wanting to have my own business since young. The first business I set up was an online blogshop on Facebook when I was Primary 4. I had to close it down because my parents did not approve with the idea of having a business at such a young age.
Now that I am 18 turning 19 years old, just graduated from diploma in business and law, I guess it's the right time for me to start my very first official business. If you are wondering why scarves, it is because I realised that there is an increase in market demand of people wearing the hijab ever since the birth of modest fashion. Therefore, I quickly grabbed the opportunity and got SF Scarves started.
What was the inspiration behind the birth of the label?
My mum is the greatest blessing Allah SWT has given me and I am thankful for having her in my life. I want my mum to be a part of my business. Hence, SF Scarves got its name by having both her initial and my initial put together.
Tell us more about SF Scarves, your collection and the fabric you use.
In SF Scarves, we want to inspire every woman to have faith and confidence in themselves despite colour, size, shape or race. We want everyone to feel beautiful and equal. Hence, we ensure that all our collection can suit everyone. Every collection in SF Scarves will always have a personal story behind the creation of the scarves and the naming of the collection. We ensure that the fabric used for all our scarves are the best material in the market and also material that will suit all of our customers. Before modest fashion burst into the scenes, the hijab was viewed as a sign of oppression and in some cases, hijabi women were seen as backward, less educated and have also been passed off on job positions. Do you think we have made that change in perception since the birth of modest fashion and the emergence of hijabi social media influencers? If so, do you think there is room for improvement? Ever since the birth of modest fashion, many people started to change their view towards hijab. This has resulted in the emergence of hijabi social media influencers as hijab now is seen as something fashionable. We have famous celebrities, doctors and athletes donning the hijab. Even our president, Mdm Halimah Yacob is donning the hijab.
Hijab isn’t a barrier for you to be who you want to be. You can have your freedom despite donning the hijab. However, there is always room for improvement for everything in life. One improvement that our society can make is to ensure that our future generations will understand the meaning behind donning the hijab. We do not want our future sisters to don the hijab solely because of fashion and not because of Allah SWT.
When it comes to today’s version of the hijab, there are many styles of hijabs in the market – this all depending on the woman’s individual style, culture, etc. What are your opinions on this?
As how everyone has their different ways of expressing their personality and interests, fashion also embraces that belief. Everyone has their own right to dress up the way they want it to be. You can be a turban lover, a khimar lover, a shawl lover or even a bawal lover but what’s important is the relationship you have with Allah SWT.
The hijab (and different styles of it) gets debated on both sides – the side of the Islamophobic community as well as the side of the Muslim community. What are your thoughts on this and do you think we should comment/judge a woman’s version of hijab and style?
“You do not do evil to those who do evil to you but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness.” - Muhammad PBUH (Bukhari)
We should always practice what our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH has taught us. As long as we know what we are doing is right, we should not bother about what others have to say about us. One’s appearance or the way they choose to express themselves by the way they dress doesn’t portray or reflect their spiritual level. We can’t simply degrade someone solely based on their style, preference nor spiritual level.
What, in your opinion, sets SF Scarves apart from the rest of the many hijab labels in the market?
We have to admit that when it comes to hijab labels, there are millions in the market. Perhaps, every industry will have their competitors. We strongly believe that Allah SWT has decided on the rizq each person would get. What sets SF Scarves apart from the rest of our competitors is that our scarves have its own story behind each design. We also ensure that every single design that we produce is suitable for everyone regardless of age, colour or size.
What are the future plans for SF Scarves?
As to our future plans, we hope that our aspirations to make our brand internationally known will become a reality. We want to further inspire and educate more people all around the world. We want them to realise that this piece of cloth on our head isn’t a hinderance for us, muslim women to be who we want to be.