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11 Arab American Women Giving Us Representation in the Cutthroat World of Fashion

posted on: Mar 28, 2017

BY: Yara Jouzy/Contributing Writer

In an industry where beauty standards are often equated to white women only, Arab American women are succeeding in their breakdown of the diversity barrier. They run the catwalk, they set trends, and they run self-made companies. More and more, Arab American women are becoming designers, models, and editors, changing the way the world views individual creativity and style.   

These women are also empowering people of all backgrounds to find their way into a challenging industry that needs different voices to stay alive. For Women’s History Month, it is important to recognize the women who go to work every, building empires of creativity from the ground up.

Here are the 11 Arab American women in the fashion industry who make us proud everyday.

1. Bella and Gigi Hadid

Bella and Gigi Hadid are known as the “It Girls” every model aspires to become. They’re currently walking every runway from New York to Milan, gracing magazine covers, and telling Arab American girls that they’re beautiful. Both models take pride in their Arab heritage and have voiced their support for their homeland Palestine. Gigi recently covered the first-ever issue of Vogue Arabia, showing off her Palestinian roots while breaking barriers a world over.

2.Reem Acra

The famous international designer from New York and Beirut, Reem Acra is the leading lady of bridal clothing. A fashion editor discovered Acra at a party and then decided to host her a fashion show. Since then, Acra has designed hundreds of dresses for celebrities, such as Angelina Jolie, Taylor Swift, Jenifer Lopez and more. Her name has become synonymous with wedding couture around the world.

3. Dareen Hakim

Dareen Hakim, a Lebanese New Yorker, is a renowned designer for a one-of-a-kind collection. She makes statement metals to put onto bags, each of which have a story behind them inspired by Arab culture. Dareen previously managed brands such as L’Oreal Paris and Maybelline New York before finally fulfilling her dreams of starting her own collection.

4. Norma Kamali

The award-winning fashion designer, filmmaker, interior designer, and architecture, Norma Kamali, is an Arab American based in New York City with origins from Spain and Lebanon. Kamali’s look is legendary, as she is famous for “The Sleeping Bag Coat, the High Heeled Sneaker and the Parachute Collection.”  Her brand has expanded to other product lines in the women’s fashion world, including health, fitness, beauty, style, and entrepreneurship.

5. Colette Malouf

The chic Arab American, Colette Malouf, is of Lebanese decent and grew up in New York City. Her well-known accessories brand is inspired by the diversity of cultures, traditions, and heritage from places all over the world, such as Europe, the Arab world, and Asia. As a young entrepreneur, she started with soft accessories. Now, Malouf’s brand is made up of hair accessories, jewelry, and more.

6. Nadia Aboulhosn

The Lebanese-American fashion blogger, model and designer Nadia Aboulhosn is an incredible role model for Arab American women in the fashion industry. She was previously featured in Vogue Italia, Complex Magazine, Refinery29, Seventeen Magazine, Teen Vogue, American Apparel and Buzzfeed. Nadia loves to make people feel good and is devoted to healthy living and plus-sized street style. She operates her own line of clothing called By Nadia Aboulhosn and has been featured in stores like Lord & Taylor.

7. Iman Mohamed Abdulmajed

The model, actress, and entrepreneur is identified by her first name, Iman, which means faith in Arabic. Iman is an iconic Somali- American, who was discovered by the photographer Peter Beard. She modeled in magazines, such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and earned the title “African Queen” from the renowned fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, who dedicated an entire collection to her. Perhaps one of the most famous models of all time, Iman is credited as being one of the first Arab faces to grace a runway.

8. Khadija Mouh

Moroccan-American designer, Khadija Mouh, is the leading woman in Caftan styles and designs. Her designs are thriving in Europe and the Arab world, and are slowly gaining recognition as foreign designs in America. Mouh is the founder of Moroccan Caftan NY and is known as a bridal stylist, event planner, caterer, and chef. In an industry where African culture and representation is often missing, Mouh is making traditional clothing from her homeland part of the mainstream.

9. Noor Tagouri

Noor Tagouri is a Libyan-American journalist and first woman to pose for Playboy magazine while wearing a hijab. The 22-year-old “badass activist” takes pride in her culture and religion, while doing what she loves as she ignores all the backlash and negative comments about her Playboy. Tagouri may be a journalist, however, she is a fashion icon for Arab American women and Muslims across the country for her historic moment.

10. Halima Aden

The 19-year-old Somali-American is a phenomenal individual, who made history last year when she walked the catwalk wearing a hijab and a burkini in the swimsuit edition. Aden also walked at Kanye West’s fashion show while wearing her hijab. She is recognized for her courage, strength, and commitment to breaking stereotypes in the fashion industry.