Ameera Hammouda (Questrom’18) has launched a clothes model that redefines modesty as vibrant and stylish
In our collection My Large Thought, we deliver you interviews with BU alums and different members of the College group who’ve launched a enterprise, constructed a brand new product, or solved issues huge and small. We ask them how they obtained the thought, what have been their greatest hindrances, and what’s subsequent for his or her huge concept.
For those who suppose modest clothes needs to be drab and forgettable, you haven’t met Ameera Hammouda. The 26-year-old’s designs—a fuchsia silk chiffon cape that cascades to the ground, a polka-dot satin costume trimmed in black ostrich feathers—are as dramatic as any runway ensemble.
For Hammouda (Questrom’18), an Egyptian-American Muslim lady, modest clothes doesn’t should be shapeless and boring—she prefers to put on lengthy sleeves and free matches bursting with coloration and element. Her clothes model displays that philosophy: Ameera is dedicated to redefining modesty as stylish, full of life, and youthful.
Its choices—which embody attire, skirts, and a cape—fulfill the sartorial wants of many Muslim ladies who, like her, honor their religion by masking uncovered pores and skin. However modest trend traces like Ameera are interesting to a rising variety of ladies generally. Final yr, as established manufacturers and start-ups alike started providing fashionable-yet-modest duds, the modest trend trade was valued at $277 billion and is predicted to achieve $311 billion within the subsequent two years, based on the 2020/21 State of the World Islamic Financial system Report.
With its candy-colored hues and luxurious materials, Ameera takes a daring stance. Hammouda, who’s had a lifelong curiosity in trend design and did a stint in BU’s Trend and Retail Affiliation, was 25 when she based her clothes model in 2021, with the assistance of crowdfunding and her personal financial savings. Now, Ameera has outgrown its humble beginnings—up to now yr and a half, the model has attracted a global buyer base and earned a stint at New York Trend Week in September 2022. A few of her most eye-catching designs—just like the Noha, a grape-colored shift costume with waterfall sleeves—have develop into bestsellers.
Hammouda not too long ago spoke to Bostonia concerning the lengthy highway that led to Ameera’s launch, what’s subsequent, and why she thinks modest trend is (lastly) having a second.
with Ameera Hammouda
Bostonia: How did your sense of trend develop?
Hammouda: I’ve undoubtedly had a powerful imaginative and prescient since childhood and have at all times been all in favour of trend. I used to see high-end designer items in catalogs—that I might not be shopping for from as a nine-year-old—however I might rework them into my very own items by slicing or BeDazzler-ing them. As I obtained older, I developed a method round clear traces, good colours, and high-quality materials, and that’s undoubtedly current all through my line.
Bostonia: Who’s the Ameera lady?
Hammouda: Our lady is busy. She desires one thing straightforward; she doesn’t wish to should layer objects or put on one thing that’s dry clear solely. She simply desires one thing that she may throw on. However that being stated, she desires one thing that’s nonetheless distinctive and timeless, as a result of a part of that ease will not be essentially needing to refresh your wardrobe each single season. She values issues which might be handmade, made in America, and he or she values modesty.
Bostonia: What makes a modest garment thrilling and contemporary?
Hammouda: I feel the impetus behind Ameera is that modest trend was at all times geared towards older ladies. It’s type of drab. Boring shapes, boring colours, and unhealthy materials went into the modesty bucket—and every little thing that was good was not modest. I might query sure items of clothes, like, why can’t this be made with a unique neckline? It will nonetheless be simply as trendy. I assumed that we may deliver these two issues collectively: you may make good, modest clothes. A maxi costume might be very trendy. It’s simply concerning the material you choose and the way in which it’s reduce and the way it matches.
Bostonia: What’s your design course of?
Hammouda: Designing modest trend virtually makes issues simpler, since you’re at all times going to have sure restrictions, like how the ultimate garment will look on the physique. It’s not going to cling. However then you may have room to play with every little thing else: the materials, the colours, the shapes, the sleeves.
I begin with the design. Both I get impressed randomly and I do a fast sketch, or I would see an previous movie and suppose that I’d like to see [a costume] in a modest silhouette. Design, silhouette, and material are the three most vital components of the ultimate piece. Fortunately, I discovered some superb producers who I belief.
Bostonia: The place does the model’s give attention to sustainability come from?
The model is closely influenced by my religion, and I feel caring for the earth and sustainability are large pillars of Islam. It’s undoubtedly not one of the vital highlighted ones, both in Islam or in mainstream media, however there’s truly a saying from the Prophet that if the very last thing you are able to do in your life is plant a tree, you must do it. These parts are all linked: modesty, sustainability, and philanthropy, and that’s why we plant a tree for each buy. I be sure that our clothes and the method itself are as sustainable as attainable by selecting sustainable materials and designing timeless items that gained’t be thrown away in a month. I make every little thing in New York, so I do know I’m not going to should fly abroad each time I must make one thing.
Bostonia: What’s developing subsequent? Any particular collections?
Ramadan is tremendous particular to me and it’s clearly a giant deal for Muslims everywhere in the world, and this assortment is certainly one thing I’ve dreamed of for a very long time. I’m working with this very gifted Muslim artist, and we’re doing somewhat Ramadan toile de Jouy assortment. The print itself is impressed by traditions of Ramadan, with dates and prayer beads integrated within the print. While you go to the mosque, there’s a practice that you simply put on new garments, or no matter makes you’re feeling good and assured. Our most important customers are Muslim ladies, so I felt like it could be good if these garments may develop into heirlooms that these ladies can pull out each Ramadan and possibly someday cross all the way down to their youngsters or their grandkids.
Bostonia: Do you may have any recommendation for budding trend designers?
Lots of people have persistence, however after they’re informed “no” from somebody with a whole lot of authority they may suppose, okay, that’s it. However there’s at all times a manner of negotiating. I attempted all 4 years of faculty to get a trend internship, however obtained rejected. Now that I’ve a enterprise, I’ve much more persistence. Don’t hand over and simply don’t take no for a solution. While you’re informed “no,” suppose, is there one other manner to do that? Did I actually give it my all? Did I ask each single particular person? Typically, for those who have a look at issues with a birds-eye view, you’ll see there’s one other path to take.
Bostonia: What has been essentially the most rewarding a part of launching Ameera?
I not too long ago did a pop-up at New York Trend Week, and we had this beautiful younger girl cease by who was very passionate concerning the model—she used the phrase “obsessed”—and stated that we’re altering modest trend, which I discovered so humbling. We’re nonetheless in our growing-pains part, the place we’re searching for consciousness, so the truth that somebody can, in a single yr, really feel that linked to us was tremendous rewarding. The truth that somebody may really feel that linked to the model actually made me really feel prefer it’s all been price it.
My Large Thought