Dawgs with Style: Mask edition

Nadia Issa poses in her coordinated outfit and mask. Photos by Xan Korman. 

JA’SIA WARD | STAFF REPORTER | jrward1@butler.edu

Nadia Issa, a junior economics and finance double major and full time Instagram influencer, styles masks as accessories to incorporate them into her signature bold and elegant looks. Interviewed for a non-COVID Dawgs with Style two years ago, Issa’s modest and elegant style has been complemented by accessorizing with masks. 

The Butler Collegian: What does your style say about you?

Nadia Issa: When you first look at me, you get the idea that I’m a Muslim because I cover my hair with a hijab. I try to make it fun and colorful because I know a lot of people would perceive Muslims as wearing all black. I’m different.

TBC: How has your fashion evolved in the past year? Did you have to get more creative when masks became necessary?

NI: I did have to get creative. I went out to the store and found some masks that matched my wardrobe. I try to color coordinate my looks which can be hard, but I would say I’m managing.

TBC: Where do you get your masks from?

NI: Etsy! There’s a lot of local small businesses that make unique handmade masks. I think they are very cute and unique. They make your outfit shine more than if you were to just wear the regular blue masks.

TBC: What are your favorite colors or patterns to incorporate into your looks, and how can you include masks?

NI: I don’t like patterns and I rarely wear them, but when I do, I make sure it’s one pattern per outfit. I don’t like mismatching different patterns. Therefore, when it came to wearing masks, it was hard in the beginning. At first, I didn’t have as many masks as I do now, so it was hard to coordinate them with every outfit. When purchasing my masks, I wanted them to function as an accessory. Just like you would wear a necklace with an outfit, I wanted the mask to be the accent piece.

TBC: Who are some of your favorite fashion icons that you have seen incorporate masks into their looks during the Covid-19 pandemic?

NI: My favorite fashion icon is my mom. That’s where I get my style from. She is a big fashionista! If you think I’m fashionable, she’s on a whole new level. She gets everything custom made. We are African, so my mom will get African clothes made and she will have the same fabric the outfit is made out of incorporated into the mask. She will wear a patterned dress with a matching mask, then wear a solid color hijab and it looks amazing!

TBC: You radiate confidence and elegance, what are some tips to radiate this energy while wearing a mask?

NI: Self-confidence and self-love is something you can have even if your face is covered completely. If you are confident in yourself and your abilities and who you are; you walk differently, you talk differently, the world gets a different energy from you. I always tell people that confidence is not something you just sit there and wait for. You’ve got to take action to figure out why you are not confident right now. When you figure that out, work on it! When you’re confident everything just fits in.

TBC: What is your advice for people who may be afraid to wear certain colors, patterns or accessories?

NI: Do you! There is always going to be someone who disagrees with you or doesn’t like the way you look or dress. The minute you start to notice negativity, you will always find negativity. You need to be able to block out everything and say, “this is me,” regardless of what others may think.

TBC: In one of your Instagram posts, you state that you love when your outfits look cohesive and well put together. How do you look cohesive and well put together with a mask on?

NI: I incorporate masks as my primary accessory. I wear a hijab, so I am already wearing a lot of stuff. To look cohesive, I don’t want to have too much going on. Instead of looking at my mask as fabric, I look at it as jewelry. I like to incorporate masks that have jewels and rhinestones.

TBC: People feel like it’s harder now more than ever to express themselves and their feelings because half of their face is covered when interacting with others. How do you express yourself and what you are feeling through fashion?

NI: I used to think about how I was going to express myself through what I was wearing a lot, but now it comes naturally. What I hope my fashion is representing is no matter the chaos that’s going on in the world, I can still be that light that reminds others to stop for a minute and smile. I use fashion to keep myself uplifted.

TBC: Why is fashion important to you?

NI: It’s a way to express my individuality. I feel like I live in a world that defines me or who I am before they even see me. I make it a point to walk into a room and redefine any preconceived notion of who people think I am. I want people to look at me and want to get to know me for who I really am.

Many Butler students are looking for ways to incorporate masks into their everyday looks. Junior theater major, Vicki Turner, and junior piano performance major, Claire Porter, are Butler students who sell masks on campus. 

Turner offers masks in a variety of patterns, such as checkered and cheetah print, and sells them starting at five dollars. Not only are the masks cute and affordable, but they are also sustainable. 

“You can also reuse them and they’re washable. Since you’re going to need to have one on anyway, you might as well like it and have a cute one that you want to wear,” Turner said. 

Porter started making masks two months ago since the surgical blue masks didn’t fit her face right, as well as to encourage her piano students that wearing masks can be a way to express themselves.

“I wanted [fabric masks] partially because they were cute, but also because I teach piano, so I wanted to show my students that they could make this fun because they really hated to wear them,” Porter said. 

Porter offers various boho style masks, starting at six dollars. Both students will personalize masks for a slightly higher price. 

Porter and Turner can both be reached via Instagram direct message @claireportermusic and @vicster.turner, as well as through their Butler emails. Buying masks made by Butler students is a good way to add personality to your looks while supporting your peers as well as the environment.

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