Black Muslim Designer Elle Mambetov Talks Modest Fashion Trend

African American Muslim women bring their sense of style to clothing that, while modest, can

African American Muslim women bring their sense of style to clothing that, while modest, can still be fashionable. Black Muslim designer, Elle B Mambetov is here to prove that. The term modest fashion refers to a fashion trend for women wearing less skin-revealing clothes, especially in a way that satisfies their spiritual and stylistic requirements for reasons of faith, religion, or personal preference. You can interpret Modest in many ways across cultures and countries. There is no straightforward interpretation as the socio-cultural characteristics of each country influence it. Beyond the multiple variations, many will agree on the concept that modest fashion means comfortable dressing and loose clothes covering the body according to a person’s comfort. When you think of modest fashion, many think of women covered up. Exquisite fashion sense isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. The way a woman chooses to wear her hijab can be a form of personal expression.

Elle: I became interested in fashion at an early age. I asked for a sewing machine for my 7th birthday, and I grew up next door to a professional seamstress. I remembered her having this magical thread wall that had every color imaginable, and it was just this magical world that I love. My mom was incredibly supportive as well, to which she flew me out to Utah to collaborate with a friend who was sewing, and I learned how to make all my doll clothes.

Explain your Modest Fashion/Style?

Elle: I feel like I am the “Lady Ga Ga” of modest fashion. I’ve always had some feathers and was very avant-garde. I feel like I’ve always been this way with my style, even before I converted to Islam.

The statement “The Mission to Change What Modest Fashion Can be”! Please explain?

Elle: People have a perception of what Muslim girls or women are supposed to look like. From how we are supposed to wear solid colors, wear black, and how we are supposed to wrap our hajib a certain way. I did not grow up a Muslim, so I needed to find my own identity when I converted to Islam. I wanted to push the boundaries to show my eclectic style. I like colors, patterns, prints, and feathers. So, for me, I tried to change the perception of what Modest Fashion can be. People would think that I wasn’t a “serious” Muslim because I wasn’t wearing black or a full black dress, and I would say because I don’t have to!

Elle is on a personal mission to change the perception of what modest fashion can be, including the fashion houses that make things for modest women.

How important was it or difficult for you to adhere to your Muslim faith in fashion design and build a successful brand that is chic, unique, and inspiring?

Elle: I felt like as I was looking for something to wear, I couldn’t find what I wanted. I couldn’t find something that spoke to my esthetics, especially in the United States. I would see many solid colors dresses that were just long sleeves made from a linen-cotton, which wasn’t my vibe. I’ve always done doing prints, colors, and feathers, overlays. So, I had to figure out how to create pieces that I wanted to wear that could be modestly dressed, and it wasn’t easy, but I feel like with each collection, I get stronger. So now I will be releasing my first Modest Swimwear collection with FARFETCH (A online luxury fashion retail platform in Brittan and Portuguese that sells products from over 700 boutiques and brands worldwide) in early 2022.

I Understand that this has not been an easy road. You served time out of the country, so how could you keep your faith and stick with fashion during this challenging time?

Elle: When I lived in London, I always took turns that I felt were good for me. I took a lot of odd jobs because I was learning and even moved to China to learn about manufacturing. It seemed like I was all over the place, but I had a strict vision in mind. When in London and showing at London Fashion Week, that was the life that I worked hard for and went against the grain. So, when I was falsely imprisoned, that was a challenging situation for me. I couldn’t understand when you plan your life to go one way, and you end up in the opposite direction: I was mad. I was angry at God. I felt very disconnected from (at the time) my Christian faith because all the Christians I knew completely abandoned me except for my mom. No one wanted anything to do with me or talk to me, and it was a very lonely time. I just wanted to die. When I came back to the United States, I felt lost. I didn’t know who I was anymore. Because I worked my life to be a fashion designer and work as a London fashion week designer, now I’m back in the United States, and I did not know if I wanted to be in fashion again.

Elle Mambetov Chicago DefenderI got married, and I did nothing for a year. No fashion. Nothing. My husband bought me a sketchbook, and I remember trying to draw a few things, and it was difficult. I felt, in some ways, abandoned by my industry. That isn’t the case, but at that time, every photographer, stylist, and everyone I worked with wanted nothing to do with me. My husband encouraged me to try and find something that was going to make me happy again. Fashion has this undeniable pull that just never lets you go. Once you are in it and you do love it, you will always find your way back. So, I started back sketching and went for it.

Tell Us more about your Band? Elle B. Zhou?

Elle:   Zhou in Chinese means completion. When I lived in China, it was the first time I had this connection to the international world. It was the first time I had friends all around the world. I knew I would always create my brand, but it was the first time I had an identity, and it will be my first induction to modest Swimwear. As a Muslim and doing what I do in fashion, I feel the most complete, and Zhou represents more completion than I ever had in my life.

Elle is a partner with FARFETCH! and It’s been a great partnership. Elle always focused on brands internationally but has an emphasis on Arabic and middle eastern brands. She says that it is good to have a retail partner interested in our voices to produce a Ramadan feature with them. Having Farftech as a partner allows Elle to have her black voice, have her Muslim vote, and highlight what she can do as a designer and brand.

What’s Next for you? Your brand? Your Fashion?

Elle: I am excited to be opening a division internationally with an expansion in Qatar. I have a boutique in Beverly Hills and expanding that into a full-fledged department store. It will be the first of its kind with an emphasis on modest fashion. Right now, there are women’s couture, jewelry, bags, shoes, but with the full expansion, we will have children and men. I’ve surrounded myself with fantastic jewelry from Milan, clutches only found in Paris and London. Because we have a lot of fun and fabulous things, expanding and serving more of the market makes it more exciting. You can shop everything from the Farfetch website.

What do you want to say to Women?

“Lastly, to black women, women, Muslim women. I want to say we are the definition. We don’t have to let others define us. We just have to be strong enough to say what we have to say”.

You can find Elle B Mambetov fashions: https://www.ellebmambet.com.

Contributing Writer, Shera Strange can be found on social media at FB: Shera Strange, IG: missstrangefitness, and LinkedIn: Shera Strange.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Muslim Designer Elle Mambetov Talks Modest Fashion Trend