Face Behind the Veil: 3 Influential Middle Eastern Fashion Gurus

Flickr/CC/rana ossama

By Minji Hong

Conservative. Restrained. Conforming. Repressed. These are some of the words that are commonly associated with Muslims and/or Arabs. Gradually through time, society has created this invisible dissolution between women in general and those who are Arab/ Muslim, often based on the erroneous perception that the religion Islam constricts and oppresses women. On the very contrary, they are still normal women with the same desire to look and feel beautiful as other women do, regardless of their religious beliefs. So these 3 influential “hijabi” beauty and fashion bloggers are striving to defy the stereotypes against Arab/ Muslim women by revolutionizing how these women are presented in society – that these women have every right and potential to pursue both professional and familial ambitions, and that it’s absolutely possible, in fact encouraged, to rock hot pink lips in hijabs, showing the magical balance between modesty and bold sense of personal style in beauty and fashion.

Ascia AKF (Kuwait), Blog, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, Shop

“I started out as more of a social change. It was more that I wanted women to kind of push themselves into a place where we were no longer kind of hiding behind this veil… And they are not afraid to have their faces behind all of their businesses now.”

Fashion and beauty blogger based in Kuwait, Ascia is a young Kuwaiti/ American wife and mother. Her passion for empowering Arab/ Muslim women through fashion began with the launch of her blog “the Hybrid in a Headpiece” now turned “the Hybrids” to reflect the collaborative work with her husband who also hails from a racially mixed background. Ascia’s fan base of almost 40,000 subscribers on Youtube, and 1.5 million followers in Instagram extends across the Middle East and is composed of young women who are inspired by her innovative and unique sense of fashion style, bringing about a revolution within the Fashion industry of the region. She has also started her own business “Desert Baby” that produces ring slings for moms to carry their babies in a convenient yet fashionable way, a follow-up of the trend she herself had started with her own child, Adam.


Dina Torkia (London), Blog, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, Shop

“I think of dressing smartly as a way to represent myself and my religion. I don’t understand why you can’t be interested in fashion and be a Muslim.”

Dina is a half Egyptian and half English fashion blogger based in London in her mid 20s. After the launching of her blog in 2011, she has soared in terms of social media stats: acquiring almost 700,000 followers in Instagram and about 270,000 subscribers on Youtube, with her channel gaining more than 30 million views in total. She is indeed one of the trailblazers in this fashion industry for Muslim women all over the world and now stands as the most popular hijabi blogger in the UK. In addition to launching her own clothing range, she has collaborated with Liberty, a large department store in UK to create her own range of scarves. But her most noteworthy achievement is perhaps her role as a TV presenter in BBC documenting her participation in the World Muslimah Awards, an annual beauty pageant for Muslim women held in Indonesia and recognizing contestants from many countries including Iran and Bangladesh.


Dalal Al-Doub (Kuwait), Blog, Instagram, Youtube, Twitter

“The goal is to empower women; to provide them with confidence, and to encourage them to become their own stylists and makeup artists.”

A Kuwaiti social media influence, Dalal blogs about fashion and beauty under the name “Dalalid.” Her influence can be clearly portrayed by the 1.3 million followers in Instagram, more than 290,000 subscribers on Youtube and about a 30,000 visitors every month to her website. She started out in 2012 by publishing photos of her outfits and by providing tips on makeup. Soon enough, she became one of the most influential bloggers in Kuwait and beyond. Dalal’s approach is unique in that her content is in Arabic, but also does not hinder non-Arabic viewers to be allured by her innovative and informative video tutorials and fashion-forward styles.