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Yazid, an Instagrammer who was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, was not exactly pressured to wear a hijab by her Muslim parents, but she always figured that she would eventually have to wear one someday.
When she turned 19, she finally decided to wear the garb, but found that she was struggling with it. She often found herself being out place, especially when she was the only student wearing a hijab in her major. Soon, she began to feel that she was missing out on some of the popular fashion trends in Japan.
“I felt that the hijab was a religious item of clothing, so I was choosing my clothes to match,” Yazid told BuzzFeed News.
“Not only did I stand out as someone with foreign heritage, my daily outfits now consisted of my mother’s old hijab and outfits that were totally different from designs and colors that were popular in Japan at the time,” the 24-year-old freelance creator, who runs the Instagram account under the handle name @aufatokyo, said. “Although it was my choice to wear the hijab, I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel as though the hijab was, instead, wearing me.”
Her struggle with deciding what outfits to wear with her hijab changed after discovering British-Japanese designer, Hana Tajima, who converted to Islam during her teens. Seeing Tajima’s Uniqlo modest collection, Yazid realized that she didn’t have to feel like her fashion was out of place in Tokyo.
“Her fashion didn’t feel like it was trying to be particularly gorgeous, vivid, or even traditional,” she said about Tajima. “That was the moment the hijab changed from an impersonal, religious item of clothing to something that was true to my life.”
She started to style the garb the same way Japanese people style their hair to match their outfit and even mood for the day. Yazid uses different methods to wrap her hijab and chooses different colors and materials to switch up her looks.
Sometimes she even wraps her hijab to give the effect of bangs and even incorporates accessories to her head like hats or even jewelry.
“I also add accessories to create a more lively look,” Yazid said. “I like hats, so I often wear a beret over the hijab.”
Some fashion designers may find Islam’s restriction of showing skin to be problematic, or a challenging obstacle even, but not Yazid. For her, this is the part where she enjoys figuring out how to achieve the look she’s aiming for.
“But for me, that’s part of the fun,” she said. “It’s like solving a puzzle.”
Not only does her work help increase her own sense of pride in her Muslim faith — something very important considering that she is living in a country where Muslims are a small minority — she also wants to use it to show people that they, too, can wear hijabs without feeling out of place in the city.
“Hijabi fashion — Muslim fashion — transcends the boundaries of religion and can be a source of enjoyment for anyone. It’s something that all women who want to look beautiful can empathize with and enjoy,” she said, adding, “I want to use what I do to improve people’s understanding of Muslims, change biased views about the religion, and help people realize the value of living in a diverse society.”
“I want to show myself, a Muslim, living strong and beautiful, through my art.”
Images via Instagram / aufatokyo