Hind Lafram, the first Italian designer for Muslim women: “I reveal prejudices”

Fashion against prejudice. Hind Lafram is an Italian-Moroccan designer whose collections are a message against discrimination and oppression imposed by society on women, regardless of whether they are Muslim, atheist, Catholic or not. Hind attended the meeting as part of the day Talents for an inclusive societypromoted by the Sangalliche Institute, took place on May 30 in Florence in the Auditorium of the Innovation Center of the CR Firenze Foundation, at the end of the triennium To train to know, to know to live together. Religions and citizenship ‘, with the intention of reflecting not on a minority but on several minorities. With her Ahmed Abdullahi Abdullahi (Turin City Councilor), Hamdan Al-Zeqri (Intercultural Mediator and Arabic Language Teacher), Costanza Pagliai (Apostle Sisters of the Consulate), Filippo Tedeschi (Assistant to the Grand Rabbi of Florence) Alberto Tomberli (Athlete) ). blind triathlon). We interviewed her for Light!

Where did your decision to become a stylist come from?

Hind Lafram stylist for Muslim women: “I decided to wear the veil at the age of 12, I felt the need for clothes that would combine my Italian being with my Muslim being”

“From a personal need, at the beginning. When I decided to wear the veil at the age of 12, I felt the need for clothes that would match my Italian being with my Muslim being. Not finding it out there and loving fashion, I decided to create it myself. In doing so, I realized that this need is not only mine, but it belongs to all Muslim girls born and raised in Italy who feel Italian and Muslim at the same time, and do not want to leave out either side. So I created a fashion that would meet these needs, and in doing so I also denied the many prejudices that exist around Muslim women, including the one who is forced to wear the veil and not the one who decides to do it for her. same”.

Have you experienced or witnessed any episodes of discrimination against Muslims or Muslims in general?

Muslim women in the United States display placards with the face of an Islamic girl wearing a burka made with the American flag, a symbol of integration

“Of course, this is something we live with now. Unfortunately, this is normal. We have to say that fortunately it decreases over time, but very slowly. They range from looks, words, even violent actions. Appearances are something everyday: they go from curiosity to compassion, because they think you’re forced to wear the veil, for example, and people feel sorry for you. community or religion and not the individual who commits it, so that if a Muslim, for example, crosses red because the road is empty, which everyone else does, in his opportunity it becomes the occasion to say that this is because ‘they are like that, they don’t follow the rules, etc.’ interpreted as an offense, so much so that he was shouted at, “You Muslims are afraid of the g bones but you are not afraid to explode ‘. And last but not least, the girl also hit her head trying to remove the veil. Episodes like this, and even more serious, happen every day, sometimes they are reported, sometimes not, because they tend to be silent, also to avoid more problems. Instead, I think it’s wrong, also because talking can help other girls not to live in these situations. “

For many Italians and Westerners, the veil and, in general, Islamic rules of conduct are a limit to freedom and a violation of human rights. What do you say about it?

“Everyone who really knows the Islamic religion knows that it is the only religion that gives rights to people, and especially to women. Obviously I am talking about the true Islamic religion, not the one interpreted by the people in the street, but the one that is the real message of Islam. Islam is more protective of women when it comes to rights. Suffice it to say that hundreds of years ago, the Prophet Muhammad married a hardworking woman who was his boss, a businesswoman, older than him. Then a divorced woman. He set, therefore, avant-garde examples for those times. Moreover, even today in many religions, including Catholicism, divorce is opposed and women who divorce are seen as bad. In Islam, on the other hand, women have always had the right to inherit, the right to vote, and they have achieved many other rights even before any other culture. When Islam arrived, it raised the position of women and protected them. Suffice it to say that in many cultures, even newborn girls were killed because it was a sign of shame. Islam has put an end to all this. And besides, women are life. ”

What is fashion for her?

A sportswear from the collection designed for Muslim women by
A sportswear from the collection for Muslim women designed by stylist Hind Lafram

“Fashion is a lot to me. First of all it is my passion. Then fashion unites people indirectly because in every historical period, even if they don’t realize it, they tend to dress the same way, or similarly to each other. Fashion is expression, it is culture. It is also communication: through fashion you can communicate anything, you can change the mentality of people, you can dispel prejudices, you can improve society. For example, once women were forced to wear uncomfortable, tight, and uncomfortable clothes to prove that they belonged to a certain society. Then came a designer, Chanel, and with her creations she changed the rules of the game, combining style with practicality. The way we dress is always an expression of a company’s culture. Think of the length of clothing, which still conditions women’s social judgment today. Muslim women are “oppressed” because they dress too much and too long. But at the same time, if a woman goes topless, it’s bad. Society always criticizes the way women dress, and relegates them to a role through fashion. A few weeks ago it was in France where a sentence gave the green light to the burkini on the beach and in the pool, for example. But the decision was immediately challenged. To sum up. There is always someone who wants to decide instead of women, what to wear and what not. Clearly, then, it is not religion that oppresses women, but society. And in some countries it is the state. From this point of view, fashion can be an instrument of both oppression and liberation, depending on how it is used.

Where do you get the inspiration for your creations?

“So many things: travel, the cultures I meet, food … everything. A perfume can remind me of a place and that place of shapes, and so on.

What are your ideal customers?

An elegant piece by designer Hind Lafram
An elegant piece by designer Hind Lafram

“I don’t have ideal clients, my collection is not just for Muslim women: it was created for them, but my style is not exclusive, but inclusive and I want to attract all women who love this type of clothing or that collection. All women are my ideal clients. In my collection I have proposals for both day and evening and sports because women need them and to communicate that Muslim women are also women like everyone else, elegant in moments of celebration but also informal in everyday life. And they also do sports. In my collection there are proposals for swimming, horse riding, and more ”.

We are talking about the burkini which is always talked about a lot. What is your proposal?

“My burkini is a swimsuit made entirely of Italian fabrics, like the rest of my collection. Burkini fabric which is a technical fabric that dries immediately, does not absorb water and therefore does not become heavy, it also protects from UV rays. My burkinis are not only worn by Muslim women, but also by women who have skin problems, who cannot be exposed to the sun. After all, I made veils and turbans for women who were in chemotherapy cycles and therefore wanted to wear stylish hats to feel comfortable when chemo causes hair loss. My work is transversal ”.

Future projects?

“Many. The pandemic was a brake on many things, but it was also an opportunity to plan and redesign many things, many future projects, for when everything would have recovered. Now that everything seems to be recovering, I really want to do some projects that I really care about but that I prefer not to reveal, because I think we need to act first and then talk and not the other way around.

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