April 27, 2011

What to Wear? - An Interview w/ Hanifah Abdul-Baqi

Tomorrow is a big day, all your friends and family will be there and you have to look good. Not just good, you have to look amazing. You're sitting in front of your closet and it's completely overflowing. Frilly tops here, printed skirts there, and shoes shoes everywhere! All that is running through your mind is "what do I wear?" Not to fret, Hanifah Abdul-Baqi is here and she always has the answer!

Hanifah Abdul-Baqi
Hanifah is the founder of Emerald Brocade Consulting. She aims to help her clients look good in a way that shows who they are.  Not only that, Hanifah (being hijabi herself) specializes in hijabi fashion consulting and we find that rather exciting!  Hanifah recently gave us the opportunity to interview her:

[insight from a pro, just click below!]

loveHFW: When did you realize fashion consulting was what you wanted to do and how did you achieve this?

Hanifah: From when I was very young, I have loved fashion. A fond memory that I have of myself is breaking two small bangles and wearing them as hoop earrings (smile). In the past, I was featured on the cover of a magazine called Muslim Girl which included fashion tips and trends in its issues. Working with the magazine further inspired me to pursue fashion, especially hijabi fashion, because I discovered the interest it generated.
In general, I have always enjoyed shopping, teaching, putting together outfits and giving people makeovers. A few years back I realized that I should do what I love and what I am good at in a big way and discovered that fashion consulting could be the perfect profession for me. From then until now, I have been doing my research, perfecting my skills and am currently building a fashion consulting business called Emerald Brocade Consulting.
Casual Bohemian Ensemble styling for a photo shoot.
loveHFW: What do you do in your job, what does being a fashion consultant entail?

Hanifah: As a fashion consultant, I help my clients make their clothing a flattering, appropriate reflection of who they are. The services that I offer include Wardrobe Consulting (giving individual personalized advice on what clothing is right for your body type and personal style), Personal Shopping (going shopping with my clients helping them to make the best selections), Closet Cleanup (going through my clients' closets to see what works and what doesn't work for them), and Styling for Events (I style ensembles for special events, photo shoots and fashion shows for individuals and businesses).

Hanifah helping a client during a Personal Shopping trip.
loveHFW: Do you focus on helping your clients follow the latest trends or on helping them to develop their own personal style?

Hanifah: I do a little bit of both.  It is crucial to help a client figure out their personal style so that I know what appeals to them and can create looks based on that.  My golden rule for trends is "Only participate in trends if they flatter your body type and fit your personal style".  Some trends look great on some people, but not on others.  Also, some trends just do not look great on anyone and should be avoided completely. Therefore, advice on whether to follow certain trends is definitely based on each individual.

loveHFW: How does consulting a hijabi client differ from consulting regular clients? Are there any things that you take into account when working with hijabi clients?

Hanifah: Doing a consultation for a hijabi client simply means considering a different set of options that are more modest based on their body type and personal style. There are certain staple modest items that are out there such as wide leg pants, loose maxi dresses, loose long skirts etc that I would recommend for hijabi clients. However, the styles of those items (the styles are numerous) including shape, colors etc would be based on that particular hijabi client's personal style and body type. I would create looks that are modest but show who they are as a person. Modest clothing doesn't have to look the same on every hijabi, it should be personalized.
Caftan Styling
loveHFW: What process do you go through when you are advising clients?

Hanifah: The first step with all clients is to discuss their body type and personal style with them.  For businesses or companies, we discuss what style they are trying to achieve and then go from there. The next step in the process would depend upon what particular service they need whether it be a classic wardrobe consultation or styling for a specific event. 

loveHFW: What do you enjoy most about your job?

Hanifah: I love seeing my client's reaction after a successful consultation. It is very rewarding seeing a client realize how good they can look with the body that they have and just a little guidance in their wardrobe choices.

Thank you Hanifah for your time and for the interview!  Hanifah also has some lovely videos up on the EBC Youtube channel, full of wonderful tips and tutorials!  She recently did a tutorial on how to wear your hijab in the bun style as well as another video on how to flatter your face with your hijab.  Everyone needs to see this video because she tells it like it is!  You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and check out the EBC Blog for more wonderful tips and styling advice!


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