Ayana Ife is a contestant on the new season of Project Runway, and as someone who wears the hijab, has found herself representing the Muslim faith on the popular fashion design contest show. Originally from a small town in New York, the aspiring fashion designer relocated to Utah after a divorce two years ago, moving in with her sister. On the show, her focus has been on modest-but-chic clothing. While her designs do not expose a lot of skin, they do tend to be form-fitting.
“When I first started on Project Runway, my main goal was to win.” declares Ms. Ife. “I want to be an acclaimed designer for the modest market. I really want to be branded that way. Not just for Muslim women — for women who love modest fashion.”
Ms. Ife is also hearing from Muslim female fans who tell her that she’s representing the faith “so well,” that they feel “inspired,” and that she’s helping to normalize Muslims, given the current political climate. “Most people just don’t know a Muslim,” suggests Ms. Ife. “Before I came to Utah, I didn’t know any Mormons… But once you get to know people, you’re like, ‘Oh, this person is actually really cool.’”
New episodes of “Project Runway” premiere Thursdays at 7 p.m. on Lifetime.