Vogue magazine profiles Shazia Ijaz — a Pakistani-American fashion designer from Dearborn, Michigan — who this week launched Seek Refuge which is reported to be the first modest streetwear brand. “Our mission is to empower and represent Muslim women, especially millennial Muslim women like myself,” says the 25 year old fashion designer. The label was conceived after Shazia’s personal search for modest clothing that had a cool vibe, like the black leather jackets and skinny jeans she favored. “Nothing really fit the style of the fashion-forward Muslim girl, or expressed Islamic culture beyond the hijab.”
Shazia says she has a greater mission than fashion, and wants to aid and empower refugees, women, and Muslims by “creating a safe space for people to seek refuge.” At least 10% of the proceeds from the label will go to Humanity First, to be earmarked for schools in Jordan. The fashion designer’s philanthropic efforts started at a young age, when she observed her activist parents taking part in local elections. They also helped build hospitals and delivered refugee aid. “When I was in high school, my parents freed 100 refugees from a Thailand detention center and got them settled back in the U.S.,” she recounts with clear pride.
As she says in a statement on her website: In today’s social and political climate, it is crucial to accurately represent American Muslims in society. We must reclaim Islam for what it is— a peaceful religion and a beautiful, diverse culture. Seek Refuge products do this by combining Islamic aesthetics with American style.