01 Dec “Cover up in style”
With 389 000 followers on the Instagram account hijabmuslim, Sweden has got its own trendsetter within Muslim fashion. On a daily basis Mariam Moufid provides her followers with different trends and inspiring outfits. She was also one of the stylists in the very renowned campaign that Åhléns launched this autumn (Åhlens is a wellknown Scandinavian department store). The Instagram account, which in the beginning was supposed to be an inspiration for Mariam Moufid herself, became a huge success just after a couple of weeks.
-I never thought that it was going to be this big, Mariam Moufid says.
Lately Muslim fashion has become a growing global industry and with its layer outfits even a big trendsetter for Non-Muslims. The style icons are called “hijabistas” och they mix Western fashion with a hijab (a veil to cover the hair) One of these hijbaistas is Mariam Moufid, 23 years old, from Stockholm in Sweden. Three years ago she launched the Instagram account hijabmuslim which in a very short time received a great deal of attention in Sweden as well as internationally.
-It is incredibly fun of course! I have always been interested in fashion, Mariam Moufid says.
Mariam Moufid is raised in Sweden, has Tunisian roots and wears a hijab. Previously she found it difficult to combine Western fashion within Islamic restricions.
-There were not a lot of clothing to choose from for Muslims before. Everything changed at the same time as the trend with maxi skirts as well as maxi dresses became trendy.
It was during that time Mariam Moufid launched her Instagram account and she as well as the global clothing industry realized that there was a huge demand of these types of clothes.
-There is no such thing as typical Muslim fashion. It can be all different kinds of styles, like for everyone else. But what is characterizing for Muslim fashion is that you are fully covered, Mariam Moufid says.
Today you can clearly see oriental influences in western fashion and that the designers have picked up trends as caftans, abayas (a Muslim type of dress) embroideries and even harem trousers. The companies have also understood the importance of marketing themselves with these trendsetters, which Mariam Moufid has some experience of.
-Companies often send me free products and want to initiate collaborations. For the moment I collaborate with www.inayacollection.com, Mariam Moufid says.
Mariam Moufid does not view it as pure product placement because she only collaborates with companies that have products of good quality. She has to feel like she can stand behind the item to 100 % before she agrees to promote it.
-If I get products that do not keep a certain quality I am totally honest with that on my Instagram account. You should be able to trust me. Lying about a product would not benefit my followers or me, Mariam Moufid says.
Her followers seem to appreciate her honesty and often comment everything she does, positive as negative.
-Since I have a lot of followers I also have a responsibility for what I convey. I can influence others through social media. You have to be careful with what you post and it is also important to have good values, she says.
Mariam Mound has some experience of the backside of success. There are some people who have opened fake accounts on Instagram and used Mariam Moufids photos and pretended to be her. Some of them have even gone as far as sending repulsive emails to different men, using her name.
-There are several times that I have been contacted by different men who think that I have been in contact with them through email or in another way, even though I have not. As a matter of fact someone has created a fake account in my name.
She understands that everyone does not like what she does, but she does not understand why they keep on following her on social media if that is the case.
-If you do not like me, do not follow me on Instagram. It is as simple as that. No one is forcing you.
However, the majorities of her followers stay positive and love what she does. Mariam Moufid has met a lot of them in real life.
-There are several people in the street or in other places who come up to me and tell me that they think that I am doing a great job. That is of course fantastic and really great! It is easy for me to just see them as a number on my Instagram account instead of thinking of them as real people. It is very hard to comprehend the fact that there are so many people that actually like what I do, Mariam Moufid says.
She dreams of creating her own clothing line where she can express her creativity and passion for design. In the latest and very renowed Åhléns campaign one of the models, the one wearing a hijab, was styled by Mariam Moufid. She was contacted by one of the chiefs on the department store after she took part in a panel discussion called Muslim Cool. One person from the audience was from Åhléns and caught interest of Mariam Moufid.
-The model’s hijab was styled by me and they wanted me to make sure that her outfit could represent a Muslim, Mariam Moufid says.
The Åhléns campaign was an autumn campaign in Scandinavia and they used different kinds of models that were supposed to represent the society over all. Only one of them provoked reactions like no other –the one with the hijab.
-There were two sides. One of them thought it was about time that they finally show what our society looks like. Both Muslims and Non-Muslims were positive. And then there were those who looked at it as a failure and said that Åhléns encourages the oppression of women, Mariam Moufid says.
In hindsight she is satisfied with her achievement and she says that Åhléns was well aware of what kind of reactions this campaign was going to awake.
-They wanted to show that Scandinavia stands for different kinds of cultures. They knew that there were going to be a lot of reactions, they were prepared for it.
Mariam Moufid can consider doing something similar to this in the future.
-Fashion is something I want to do. I have not figure out if it is as a designer or something else.
Beyond her interest of fashion she studies at the University of Stockholm to become a primary school teacher.
-I like pedagogy a lot and how you teach children. I think it is really important that children receive the right to good education from the beginning. I did not have that luck when I was younger and I still remember that I was thinking that someday I will be a teacher and I will do it in the right way, Mariam Moufid says.
In the future she does not know where she will end up, either with fashion or as a teacher or maybe she will combine the two of them.
-Regardless what I will do, both of those alternatives are great. I am equally interested and passionate about both. The future will tell, she says with a smile.
Until then she keeps on inspiring her hundred thousands of followers with her colorful outfits.
Dalila Megdiche Mouaid