EMILY SCHLORF | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Nadia Issa, first-year economics and finance double major is the class of 2022 president, creator of her own fashion line, social media influencer, and advocates for individuality. Through fashion and style, Issa dares other students to dress in ways that complement their personality and true selves.
The Butler Collegian: How would you describe your style?
Nadia Issa: I would describe my style as elegant and modest. My religion has taught me to dress modestly, and growing up, I have always strived to dress up and find ways to dress trendy as well as modestly.
TBC: What and who inspires you to dress the way you do?
NI: My mother actually. I come from a family where all the girls like to dress up, and compared to my family, I don’t even dress up. My mom and sister both get custom-made clothes and dress fancy regularly.
TBC: What role do you think social media plays in the realm of fashion?
NI: I feel like social media and fashion are very connected. When I was in high school, my best friend encouraged me to share my fashion with the world and before I knew it, I was starting to get featured on different well-known Instagram accounts. After being featured on the different accounts, many Muslim girls followed me, which has made me very happy. It’s very hard to find representation of Muslim women in the fashion world who dress trendy as well as modest, so I’m glad I can be an example for my Muslim followers.
TBC: Do you think your fashion makes you stand out in comparison to students at Butler University?
NI: As the only black Muslim hijabi here, I stand out already in comparison to my peers. Since people already look at me since I wear a hijab, long dresses and skirts, I use that attention to fuel my passion for fashion. If someone on campus looks at me because I stand out, I make it worth their while and end up being remembered for my style instead.
TBC: Do you see yourself pursuing fashion as a career after college?
NI: I plan on it! I hope to one day own my own fashion line where people can shop no matter their race, gender, culture, or color. If someone wants to dress modestly and elegantly, they can shop my line and find clothes that help them stand out in a beautiful way.
TBC: Tell us about your passion and involvement for fashion.
NI: As a triple minority in America, people usually already have a preset notion of who i am and what I stand for. For me, clothing is a way to challenge those preconceived opinions and make people remember me as the girl with style, not just the girl with the hijab or the black girl.
TBC: What’s your favorite brand or place to buy clothes from?
NI: Most of my clothes are handmade actually. For me, I don’t have a specific location since most of my clothes were made back in Niger, where I’m originally from. The rest of my clothes that I have with me in America were mostly from gifts from my family members. I also sew, so I make some of my own clothes too.
TBC: What advice can you give to individuals desiring to improve or change up their style?
NI: When it comes to fashion you need to know what you like. It came easily to me thanks to my religion and culture. You just need to sit down and look into what colors you like, how modest you consider yourself, and what you want your look to be. It all depends on you, and if you are not comfortable wearing something, then you shouldn’t wear it because then it wouldn’t reflect who you are. Fashion is about expressing yourself. Your clothing should complement your individuality — not change it.
TBC: Do you think fashion has the power to break down barriers or differences between people?
NI: Fashion is an aspect in my life that connects me to others. Sometimes people will come up to me and compliment me on my style, and I know they probably wouldn’t have approached me if it weren’t for my fashion. Thanks to my fashion I’ve been able to relate to and meet many people who discuss style with me.
TBC: What is your biggest dream in fashion?
NI: I really want to change the way people perceive others through clothing. When someone looks at another person, it takes only a few seconds for them to grasp how they are going to think about that person and what their opinions are. As a minority, I feel like people already have a negative perspective of who I am. With fashion I can break down that barrier by changing their minds and showing them that I am more than just a girl wearing a hijab, but that I am strong, fashionable and beautiful.
Photos by Adam Cvik