Everyone who knows me knows Gaya. Because, well… I’m obsessed. With every single issue – the dedication, the commitment, the amount of energy that goes into the project of every magazine is astounding. And like I gush to everyone who would listen, it’s the style magazine every stylish person should be reading.
In my interview with Juliana Iskandar, CEO and Editor-in-chief of the magazine – where we, amongst other things, talked about the story behind Gaya and she said;
‘…what I believe we are doing here at GAYA, is using fashion, in this case modest fashion, as a vehicle to deeper conversations and to show the world the beauty and diversity of our Muslim women, whether hijabi or not, and hopefully changing the narrative about Islam and our sisters…’
Having had the utmost privilege and pleasure to be on the magazine twice (and counting), I can relay firsthand what an absolute dream it is to be a part of the Gaya family.
Issue after issue, Gaya is focused in bringing to the limelight various voices from every aspect of the globe – celebrating them, amplifying them. Making them count.
‘The Power Edit‘ is no different and in the opening words of Juliana:
‘As I perused the submissions for this issue, one theme kept glaring at me – power. And not just women or female power but power in our voices, power in our convictions. And that is why, I’ve decided to title this issue The Power Edit. It wasn’t something we carefully crafted particularly to celebrate International Women’s Day (or month), although that would have been great, but it’s deeper than that’.
True to form, in this issue, Gaya explores captivating stories from powerful women in the fashion industry such as; Emma Khoo of FYi Photography who talks about capturing the Alpha Woman in her shots.
In her own words;
‘I hope to see more fashion
narratives that encourage and celebrate women whose beauty are not within the current standards
monolids, dark skinned, hijabi,
curvy, petite and more…’
From the start if my photographic journey until now and whenever I shot women, I only wanted to show how kick-ass women can be…
; as well as Abigayle Andre who beautifully encapsulates the power and feminity of the female in her fashion label –Modessa– which is centered around capturing the essence of today’s modern woman.
The brand which launched in March is aimed at inclusivity, practicality and modesty.
Modessa’s ‘The Jada Blouse’ paired with ‘The Degha Trouser’ and ‘The Eeda Dress’
According to Abigayle;
‘We wanted to make our range accessible to all women who had a desire to cover but look chic! As beautiful as abayas/shalwar, kameez/jilbabs are…it is not always practical or to everyone’s style. Modest garments are also hard to come by during the Summer season on the British high street…’
‘OUR BRAND IS NOT JUST ABOUT CLOTHING…IT IS ABOUT PEOPLE, RAISING AWARENESS AND CHALLENGING PERCEPTIONS. WHILST WE ARE A MUSLIM
BRAND IN OUR VALUES BUT WE ARE A BRAND THAT IS INCLUSIVE…’
Modessa’s ‘The Jessi Jumpsuit’
The issue didn’t stop with these amazing interviews but went further to explore the beauty of the fashion brand B.Zarina as it showcased it’s collection ‘The Embellished Modesty‘ in the New York Fashion Week while also taking us down East to the Oriental Fashion Show and Modestissime make history by hosting France’s first Modest Fashion Parade.
Culled from The Oriental Fashion Show
What makes this issue even more powerful is the spotlight on MOGA’s PRIDE scarf celebrating the LGBTQ+ community. According to Juliana;
‘It was a sensitive topic to broach, I won’t lie, but MOGA’s convictions in their stand inspired us to do the same.’
MOGA’s ‘PRIDE’ headscarf
MOGA – a fashion brand and online retailer of women’s headscarf and shawls – released it’s first ever PRIDE headscarf and shawl last year to support the marriage equality movement in Australia and the LGBTQ+ community.
“The idea (of the PRIDE scarf) came
about when we wanted to publicly show our support for marriage equality in Australia. The plebiscite and postal vote on whether same sex couples should have the right to marry has brought out some rather unpleasant and nasty rhetoric recently. We wanted to counter
the negativity and hatred with a message of love and unification, which has always been at forefront of our brand,”
Personally, I consider this feature a bold move in the magazine as it is a sensitive topic, especially in the Muslim community. However, Gaya is raising the bar when it comes to diversity and that is one of the things that makes this issue so refreshing.
The issue further shed the spotlight on Zalora’s Nike Pro Hijab launch and the Hijabican – an online fashion retailer catering to American Muslim womeb looking for modest clothing and hijab at affordable prices.
Nike Pro Hijab
Nafisa Bora also thrilled in her ‘Mother Pride‘ piece where she dished on expecting and gave amazing styling tips.
From the Beauty corner, I got the whole tea on preventing breakout from stress (Company Law has got nothing on my skin this semester! I’m gonna be glowing even as I try to memorize fifty Acts and case laws).
My piece on ‘Living Muslim in 2018‘ opened up the Opinion section where I talked about the challenges of the Muslim community in the face of violence in our world, followed by Malikah Aquil’s incredibly thoughtful piece on Interfaith marriages.
‘24 Hours in Limbo‘ is an equally incredible piece on the experience of a British grown lady going back to Afghanistan (her motherland) as a foreigner.
The issue delved into Home Decor and made me fall in love with Pink in ‘Pink Is All Grown Up’ (All I need right now is an apartment to try out these stylish home ideas on).
And before you say Gaya did not do anything for your health, food blogger Sarah Machbaete literally dished on the perfect morning routine for a healthy stomach!
Finally, the issue rounded off with a flourish in an amazing piece on ‘Diversity in the Health and Fitness Industry’.
I remember reading this issue when I got it and thinking ‘Wow, the whole Gaya team outdid themselves’. This issue practically oozes hardwork and commitment and is as near perfection as anything I have ever seen.
To cop the magazine, click here and go ahead and have the most awesome read while we wait with bated breath for the next amazing issue.