hijab, hijab fashion, ethical fashion, ethical fashion blog, hijab editorial, iranian fashion, iranian blog

If you're following me on snapchat (@hodakay), you probably got to see the sneak peek of photographer Daniel Chen & I as we were first arriving on set for this shoot: 9am in below freezing temperatures in a field of snow and ice by the lake. It was gorgeous. (and cold). Despite the temperatures I could so easily fall asleep to the sound of the waves crashing against the ice. Or maybe it was just because I was sleep deprived. 

But for the sake of blogger transparency (apparently it's like the latest trend to be honest to readers. What a concept!) I would like to mention that shortly following that magical moment we were promptly chased by a massive, terrifying dog. See? My life is still a mess.

Speaking of messes, let's make sure we're all on the same page for a quick minute. If you've been following the news about the protests in Chicago following the release of the video* of the murder of Laquan McDonald--a 17yr old black teen shot by an American police officer 16 times--I don't think it would be necessary to remind you that I'm not a fan of mainstream news (especially when it comes to representing minority groups...*cough* Muslims *cough* Black people, etc), so here is your alternative report:
Black people have a right to be angry, a right to express their rage. Private property and company profits are not more valuable than black bodies. This is not an isolated incident. Here is more on that. And this is why it matters to you.

*P.S. Laquan's family actually does NOT want you to watch or share the video. You do NOT need to watch violence to know that it happened. The consumerist nature of this video release is disgusting. 

But back to the post.
I was gifted this beautiful KowTow Phase Dress in navy chambray by one of my absolute favorite ethical boutiques, New Classics Studios. (If you remember, I mentioned them in my post listing 6 (Ethical) Brands You'll Love as Much as Zara)!

hijab, hijab fashion, ethical fashion, ethical fashion blog, hijab editorial, iranian fashion, iranian blog
hijab, hijab fashion, ethical fashion, ethical fashion blog, hijab editorial, iranian fashion, iranian bloghijab, hijab fashion, ethical fashion, ethical fashion blog, hijab editorial, iranian fashion, iranian blog
hijab, hijab fashion, ethical fashion, ethical fashion blog, hijab editorial, iranian fashion, iranian bloghijab, hijab fashion, ethical fashion, ethical fashion blog, hijab editorial, iranian fashion, iranian blog
Dress: KowTow Phase Dress c/o New Classics Studios | Boots: c/o Zappos | Leggings: c/o Macys | Scarf, bracelet: Iran | Bangle: Morocco 

KowTow is one of those rare, successful blends of ethical and aesthetically pleasing--"from seed to garment." Their employees are paid livable wages (read: different than minimum wage, which, is def. not livable) and their children are given free education, among other benefits. Also, the oversize-fit of this dress makes it perfect for crumpling and structuring for all of those strange poses that I do. (The back also has the cutest pleats and yes, it has pockets!)

These photos were shot in collaboration with Daniel Chen, a Korean photographer now based in Chicago. (He shared a few other shots on his insta that did not make it to this post, so be sure to click through and take a peek)!

P.S. Alyssa Lau, the beauty and brains behind New Classics Studios, also has a wicked blog and Insta. Just a PSA for your inspirational benefit~

P.P.S. To answer all of your emails at once, YES, the Tehran Streetstyle photography book is definitely still happening. Keep watching this space & sign up for my email list to be first in line for the pre-sale in early January 2016. We (the blog & I) are really, really psyched. Thank you for all of your support throughout the excessively tedious process of publishing a book. Much love.



Every time my social media and day-to-day experiences as a Muslim in the USA becomes more and more saturated with hate, I feel the need to open the blog back up for questions about a topic that is clearly time after time misrepresented in the media: Islam. And this time, it is more than just right-wing, conservative news outlets *cough* Fox News *cough*, so that's worrisome.

Update: Let me be quite clear, I am not apologizing for anything. At. All. But, I do see the responsibility, as someone who manages an online platform, in using this space in order to counter what is I think is being falsely conveyed in the media. I'm doing it now as a Muslim, and I did it before as someone in solidarity with Mizzou.
The one thing I'm not doing is apologizing. For myself or for my faith.
Now let's get back to this.
Islam, Muslims, ISIS, Islam Q&A, Paris Attacks, Paris terrorism, Islam fashion
Photo: Captured by Felton Kiser for Choices Clothing

I'll keep this post short and sweet,* because if I start a rant on how I feel right now I don't foresee an end. But before you do submit, please do peruse through the following FAQ to see if your question has not already been answered.

*update: thank you to the person who used the anonymous ask to correct my grammar. Haha ya'll are ridiculous.

If none of the above posts seemed to help clarify what is on your mind, then please feel free to drop us (the blog & I) a line (p.s. the question form is anonymous!) and I'll try my best to get you an answer as soon as possible.**

**Please note that I do run on Persian time, meaning that everything will happen much later than when I say I will get things done, but you already knew that.

The anonymous form is here and is also reproduced below for your convenience. 

Create your own user feedback survey


~P.S. please share, because with knowledge comes understanding and love~


"We are obliged to act in times of injustice; understanding that these incidents are not isolated, but an outburst of systemic racism in public and private academic institutions, it is our duty to confront the administrations of these institutions."
 – National Black Student Caucus
In the past few weeks, black (primarily female and queer) students at the University of Missouri (Mizzou) have, to be blunt, successfully shut sh*t down. While a culture of racial intolerance historically has, and continues to, poison campuses nation-wide (including here at the University of Chicago), black students at Mizzou decided they're sort of tired of dealing with an unresponsive administration that perpetuates this culture of hate through its silence. And so, they quite simply shut it down. Here are their demands.
But after a hunger strike and forcing the president of the University to resign, black student activists on campus were met with anonymous death threats and chased and harassed by white supremacists.

Activists from the Concerned Student 1950 group at the University of Missouri// photo via The Black Tribune
The recent incidents at Mizzou--the culture of hate, the protests of black students, and the responses of white terrorists--should not be seen as isolated or even surprising. They are quite clearly the manifestation of a civil rights movement that is not over, reparations that have not been paid, justice that has not been served, and a system that is still structured to privilege white people over blacks and people of color.

We are not in a post-racial nation/world. 

The KKK has not disappeared. It has been institutionalized: blue uniforms are the new white. This year alone more black people have been killed by police than at the height of lynching in the 1920s. Black students have been threatened to be shot on sight. On campuses around the country. Yes, all lives matter, but it's just that the system (and those complicit within it) seems to forget that fact when it comes down to the lives of black people. (Or else it wouldn't have created a culture where a black person is killed every 28 hours in the United States by police, security guards, or vigilantes, and is still vicitm-blamed.) (Or not deeming threats from white students seriously--why did it take so long for law enforcement to respond to the death threats at Mizzou and other universities? Would that have changed if a Muslim was making threats against white people?)

This is systematic. This is calculated. Here are the details.

blacklivesmatter, mizzou, chicago, protest, socialism

As online influencers, we have a responsibility to speak out on injustice, no matter the niche that you occupy or way you identify. Institutions of racism permeate every part of the system you occupy. This is relevant to fashion. Relevant to food. Relevant to blogging.

As Muslims, we are obligated by our faith to stand up for justice unconditionally. To quote--we are required to be “persistently standing firm in justice...even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives” (Qur'an 4:135).

As feminists, we fight for our sisters who are forced to endure the heaviest weights of the patriarchy: black women and trans black women.

As people of color, we must understand that our liberation is fully and intimately dependent on the liberation of black people. Our chains may differ, but our oppressors are the same.

As individuals living in the United States, if we are not fighting injustice, we are complicit in it.

The civil rights movement is not over. We are in it.
Your move.

In solidarity,
<(') Hoda

P.S. Here is recommended reading for how to be a good ally. And video.


Call me biased, but I'm sort of obsessed with the Iranian aesthetic. Something about lightly patterned geometry (hint hint where I get my wardrobe inspiration from), warm lighting, and deep and rich colors that are just so aesthetically pleasing, provoking, and calming all at the same time. Can't help but being nostalgic about my last summer soaking up the sun and emotions of the motherland (and significant progress on my upcoming Tehran Streetstyle book!).
It doesn't help that I've been glued to my books this past week, frantically trying to catch up on schoolwork in anticipation of upcoming midterms.

Whether just dreaming of being back in Iran or trying to procrastinate in my studies (most likely a combination of the two), I've been constantly scrolling through the insta galleries of a few of my favorite accounts, and thought that it would be nice to share a major source of inspiration for me.
I hope you enjoy them, too.

1. Maedeh Aminfar | @maedehaf

(first image in this post is also from this account)

2. Sepideh Farvardin | @sepidehfarvardin

3. Farzader | @farzader

4. Donya Joshani | @donnnya

5. Ali Mohagheghi | @alimohagheghi

6. The Tehran Times | @TheTehranTimes

Brb. Got to go seriously study step up my insta game~


-Help me share the work of these talented Iranian artists! Spread the love-


Remember about 50 years ago when I opened up my site for questions?
Anyway, trying to be a semi-responsible blogger and eventually finishing going through the questions you've left me, hopefully before the internet becomes obsolete and I don't have the patience to switch to whatever will replace it and will not know what to do with my life anymore because my existence is heavily reliant on it.

But back to the questions.

Is it possible to be a Muslim Feminist? How do these beliefs fit together?

Well, as a Muslim Feminist,


TO: Those trying to liberate me from my headscarf. Those who place borders around their solidarity work. Those who are single-issue activists. Those who think Muslims can't be feminists.

1. You're probably referring to the fact that I cover my hair. (which is apparently somehow oppressive now). Not respecting MY CHOICE to dress as I wish is succumbing to the same patriarchal rhetoric that the fraternity at my/all uni(s) use(s) to justify their sexual harassment towards girls wearing, well, literally anything. #notcool.

2. Speaking of how I dress. The Hijab (headcovering) is not even oppressive. It's empowering. For me, it's a feminist symbol itself. It is a symbol against materialism and against sexualization of women's bodies. Although please note--I protest state-sanction mandatory veiling. Just like I protest state-sanctioned anti-burqa laws in France. Feminism is about our choice to choose what we wear, not about state control over our bodies and choices. (We usually would file that under patriarchy).

3. Same with Islam as a whole. Our religion is way more pro-women than what is portrayed in the media. (Pro-tip: never listen to the media). The introduction of Islam actually raised the standard of living for women, banning the cultural practice of killing female-born children and gave women the rigth to own land and vote, among other advances. The patriarchy is a global institution of repression and was present in the Middle East before Islam. Don't equate a global problem with my belief system.

4. "White feminism" stay away. We don't need your saving or your naked bodies (I'm looking at you, "feminist" activists protesting Mosques, topless) to smash the patriarchy or drink male tears. Actually, it's for your own good--we wouldn't want stray glass from the glass ceilings we're breaking to cut all that exposed skin you're using to try to emancipate us from ourselves.
We're down with white allies and feminists who are white, but not an exclusive brand of feminism that excludes non-hetro-cis-white women (black women & women of color, queer & trans women, Muslim women, etc). Real feminism is more than just closing the wage gap for white women.

Much love & solidarity,
<(') Hoda

P.S. Two days ago we shut down all roads to leading to an international police conference in order to make a statement against police violence. Over 66 black and brown youth were arrested. Please donate to the bail fund. Thank you so much Black Youth Power 100 (BYP100) for letting me be a part of this amazing action.

P.P.S. Any other questions?

-spread the love-