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18 May 2018

Blooming With Fashion

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May 18, 2018 Category: Local Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO:  A group of models parading down the runway.  (Photo courtesy: Denise Clay)


The 20th Annual United Muslim Masjid Sisters’ Recognition Luncheon and Fashion Show — “Blossoming In Opulence” — had more than one interpretation.


By Denise Clay

The women gathered in the ballroom of the Hilton Hotel on City Avenue were staring in rapt attention as the models participating in the United Muslim Masjid Sisters’ Recognition Luncheon and Fashion Show walked the runway.

Models of all shapes and sizes wowed the crowd in outfits ranging from smart business suits to luxurious furs that mixed high fashion with the Muslim call for modesty. Pantsuits, dresses and loungewear in a variety of spring and summer hues were also featured. Some of the outfits even provided alternative head coverings and ways to wear the hijab.

At a table with a group of friends and relatives, Aminah Muhammad happily watched the festivities.

“I saw a lot of things that I liked,” she said. “[The show] had something for everybody.”

Emcee Aliya Khabir guides the audience through a parade of modest, yet chic fashions during last Saturday’s United Muslim Masjid Sisters’ Recognition Luncheon and Fashion Show. The 20th annual gathering raised money for the Masjid’s Summer Madrassa program. (Photo courtesy: Denise Clay)

With the theme of  “Blossoming In Opulence: Turning Over The Land for a Field of New Dreamers,” the  annual event provided the women gathered there a chance to celebrate the next generation of Muslim womanhood while sharing a meal and spending time together.

In addition to the fashion show, the women heard from acclaimed author Umm Zakiyyah, whose “If I Should Speak” trilogy of books has been met with worldwide acclaim.

But it was the “New Dreamers” that took center stage to start the event. The group of young women —ranging from an 11-year-old author to an entrepreneur who created the hijabs that she and her friends wanted to wear — were recognized for their accomplishments during the event.

Laila Islam, founder of the “The Future Is Us Collective” was named “Blooming Artist,” 11-year-old self-published author Na’Jon Blocker was named “Blooming Author,” track star Zuri Abdus-Salam was named “Blooming Athlete,” and Amaya Diggins, creator of “Hijabi Fits: The Perfect Sized Hijab for Teens and Tweens,” was named this year’s “Blooming Entrepreneur.”

A model shows that fashion forward and modest can go hand-in-hand. (Photo courtesy: Denise Clay)

In addition, the late Naima Muhammad, the creator of the United Muslim Masjid’s Universal Muslim Weekend Madrassa, or Islamic school, was honored with the Gwendolyn Dawan Continuing Legacy Award and Nalijah Abdul-Karim was honored with the Faatimah Gamble Award, named for the founder of the Sister’s Recognition Luncheon and wife of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Kenny Gamble.

When the last award was presented, it was time for the fashion show.

A group of talented Muslim designers — Hanifah Aziz, Sleedah Abdullah, Zubaidah Abdu Hakim, Habeebah Nur, Lumina Muhammad, Ameerah and Naeemah Khabir and Gwendolyn Dawan —- joined iconic local furrier Zinman Furs in putting together the kind of show that would be at home as part of Philadelphia Fashion Week. Emcee Aliya Khabir guided the audience as it happily took this fashion field trip.

The show is a fundraiser for the Masjid’s youth programs including the group’s Summer Madrassa Camp.

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