NOI designer takes Torino by storm and starts a movement in modest fashion
by Abisayo Muhammad
Al-Nisa Designs, Inc. continues to change the perception of modest attire worldwide during the company’s fourth appearance at the 2021 Annual Torino Fashion Week (TFW).
Al-Nisa’s owner and creator, Sister Carmen Muhammad, once again made history as she became the first Black modest designer to be invited to host her own two-day showcase at the international event held virtually for the second year due to Covid restrictions.
Thanks to TFW founder and president Claudio Azzolini, Sis. Carmen accepted the invitation on condition that she bring a team of emerging designers along with her and the ‘Al Nisa Night of the USA’ was formed.
“He was so impressed with the authenticity of how I infused my spiritual beliefs with my fashion,” said Sis. Carmen about Mr. Azzolini. After the success of her first invitation to TFW initially by Alia Khan of the Islamic Design Council in 2017, a unique and respectful friendship began.
A total of 10 designers are featured in The Al-Nisa Collective Group, the brainchild of Sis. Carmen, consisting of a group of diverse modest designers who were given the opportunity to showcase their designs at TFW following the Al-Nisa Designs showcase.
“My effort was to showcase talented emerging designers of modest fashion from all over the world. We also are supportive of Black talented designers seeking a voice or inclusion,” she said.
Nearly 1,500 viewers tuned in online November 15-21 as she showcased her signature presentation of beautiful, bright-colored tailored suiting. This year she added a new urban modest wedding line as well. Though her line embraces modesty it’s for all women who would embrace a luxury clothing style that caters to fashionista women who love fashion.
Already the recipient of the Louis Vuitton Brand Ambassador Award of 2017, this year Sis. Carmen won the Honorable Mention Award and the Special Mention Award of 2021 for her designs.
This is also the second year Al-Nisa Designs were mentioned in Vogue Italia Magazine including a feature article of her longtime friend and member of the Al-Nisa Collective Group, Maki Mandela, daughter of the late South African president and activist Nelson Mandela.
Sister Mandela made her fashion debut at TFW with the streetwear collection titled, “Struggle Series” of The House of Mandela, dedicated to the mission and artwork of her late father.
New designer Sister Nisa Islam of Orchid Allure featured a modest swim and athletic wear clothing line during her TFW presentation. Her modest activewear allows women to go from the pool to the next event and still look beautiful. Her motto is “we want women to look beautiful while doing exactly what they want to do,” she said.
Philippine’s designer Jean Montayre of Iman Montage has been a designer for over 20 years. In 2007 she started her own clothing export factory and she now creates a luxury modest wedding line for women.
Other designers include Baqiyah Adam of Malli Rose, modest children’s line; Ethiopian-born Sara Sheikh of Covered Blissed; Candance Caldwell of Bod’e Exotica; Palestinian born Lina Dweik; Shiaam Abrahams of Modesty on the Boulevard of South Africa and Aminah Muhammad of Queen Aminah Cultural Clothing.
“It was really an awesome experience,” said Sis. Aminah, a friend of Sis. Carmen from Los Angeles. The Afrocentric and modest designer has been designing clothing for over 40 years.
After recently experiencing a near death battle with Covid-19, Sis. Aminah pushed through to fight the virus and with help from family and supporters, she produced a wonderful presentation she worked on and off for 20 years. Sis. Aminah, Sis. Nisa Islam and Sis. Carmen are also members of the Nation of Islam.
“I’m thankful to Sis. Carmen for this experience,” said Sis. Aminah. Along with the professional medical attention she received, she shared how working on this project helped reactivate her memory, speech and drive during Covid recovery.
Candance Caldwell of Bod’e Exoctica won The Rising Star Award. “It made me feel good to be recognized by Torino Fashion Week because of all of the hard work I put into the showcase,” she said.
Sis. Candance worked on her line during most of her first pregnancy and postpartum to present the Queens Empire Collection, a collection dedicated to African queens, 1920s iconic glam and legendary rock stars.
“I’m so thankful to Sis. Carmen for her dedication to help me make it happen. There were so many obstacles I had to overcome but to be invited to return next year as well as have my name mentioned in Vogue Italia is mind blowing,” she said.
Right on the heels of TFW success, Sis. Carmen is excited to announce a “Special Dedication to Modesty” as Al-Nisa Designs, Inc. launches its “First Annual International Modest Arts Award Gala and Fashion Week” event May 25-29, 2022.
This is a major fundraiser event she is spearheading to provide resources and opportunities to Black designers and modest designers across the world. There will be three days of fashion, a gala, and closing ceremony and special celebration of modesty fashion show.
Teaming once again with Sis. Mandela along with high profile Fashion Week founders, Sis. Carmen will celebrate the infusion of art and fashion with a special presentation of rare art drawings done by Nelson Mandela of House of Mandela.
Seven other awardees will be honored including trailblazers in the business of fashion. Upcoming announcements of the event are forthcoming as well as the launch of the revised Al-Nisa Designs website.
“The lack of inclusion and diversity in the business of fashion is what motivates, inspires and drives me to create a platform and framework for these designers,” said Sis. Carmen. “I want the world to know that my personal anthem is, ‘we are here and we have a voice.’”
To view the replay of the fashion showcase and for upcoming announcements visit Carmen Khamillah Abdullah on Facebook and @al_nisa_designs on Instagram.