In recent years there has been a surge of interest in online faith-based and modest fashion through online shopping, social media (Twitter and Facebook) and blogs. Although this phenomenon is a global one, an emerging distinctive voice and aesthetic can be observed here in Australia.
The domain of the blogger has become a particularly powerful one. Apart from commentating on ‘what’s hot and what’s not’ and driving new trends, fashion blogs have become prime real estate for advertising.
In December 2011 influential fashion bloggers Mya Arifin and Delina Darusman-Gala took part in a photo shoot at the Museum as part of the development of the exhibition Faith fashion fusion: Muslim women’s style in Australia (open from 5 May). Mya and Delina discussed their unique sense of style and how they got interested in blogging with curators Melanie Pitkin and Glynis Jones.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your blog?
Mya: I was born in Indonesia but I’ve been in Australia since I was three years old… My blog, ‘MyazFashionSpot’ is mostly directed to Muslim women about fashion and how to dress stylishly but modestly at the same time. In saying that, however, it’s not only for Muslim women, but anyone in general looking for tips about how to dress modestly and different looks and outfits to put together.
Delina: ‘MuslimStreetFashion’ is basically about Muslims and their street wear, a bit of my life, how to wear your hijab different ways and where to get clothes from. It also features shops in the Muslim community, just to help out the Muslim community.
How would you describe your personal style?
Mya: I like to try different styles, I don’t set my mind into one category because I like to be open minded about creativity because that’s what creativity is about – not just about one certain aspect, but you can branch into different areas of it. So, I would call my style ‘open’.
Delina: I would describe it as quirky, personal, what I feel like on the day.
How does your faith inform the way that you dress?
Mya: I try to dress as modestly as I can in my style even though I do dress a little bit differently to a lot of Muslim hijabis, but I do try to keep it as modest as I can, but also different and creative.
Who are some of your fashion influences?
Mya: I have a few designers that I really like including Rabia Z. There’s a famous entrepreneur and she’s also a blogger and a Facebooker, her name is Dina Toki-o. I really enjoy her style. She’s one of my favourites.
Delina: From the Muslim side there is Yuna – she’s a singer, musician and also Hinata Joum, she’s a designer.
What inspired you to start a blog?
Mya: I knew my friend Delina was starting a blog and I had always wanted to do something about fashion and creativity and to put that somewhere to express myself so I thought why not blogging. Blogging is out there – it’s on the web and everyone can access it so I thought why not, it’s a good way to reach people on the web.
Delina: All my friends used to ask me where I purchased my clothes from, so I decided to setup the blog to help them out. I also wanted to let people know that Muslim women can be stylish as well… I started the blog in June 2010. I was up one night, it was about 12 o’clock and I said to myself ‘I am going to start this thing’, so I started, and from then I haven’t looked back.
Are you getting approached by designers and retailers to promote their clothing?
Delina: I’ve got quite a few approaches. I get a lot of emails now, recently I got one for this new swimwear label called ‘Modest Sea’. It’s Muslim swimwear and it’s really different to what you see now. It’s really cute and girly… I have also had people from websites asking if they could put their advertising on my blog – this is really exciting.
What are some of your favourite shops and designers?
Delina: I’m really loving Mimco and Hijab House. Australian Designers would have to be ‘Muhsinah’ (my friend Wasiela), she’s an upcoming designer and I love her stuff, but international designers would have to be ‘Maysaa’ Hana Tajima, Dina Torki-o I could go on!
Where do you like to shop?
Mya: I shop online, I shop in the retail malls and I like bargain shops – I shop everywhere! It just depends what I’m looking for and what I find.
What are some of the challenges of having a blog?
Delina: Some of the challenges are getting permission from people before posting anything up, and finding something before anybody else finds it so you can be the first… It is a bit hard blogging around the family because I do have an almost 2 year old who likes to run amok. I mostly blog late at night when he is asleep so I stay up and then I realise it’s 3 in the morning, but that’s the only time I can do it.
Do you have any plans to move into other online events?
Delina: I recently worked on a hijab tutorial course and makeup course… I’m also starting a wedding hijab thing soon.
This Article was first published in Powerline Autumn 12.
Read about the background to the development of the exhibition here.