Muslims often find it hard to balance between fashion, comfort and modesty but British-Japanese designer, Hana Tajima, seamlessly blends the three aspects together in her new line with UNIQLO. Hana, a Muslim revert, creates designs which are ideal for all Muslims and modest fashionistas but this is not limited to clothes! In fact, she has designed hijabs made of UNIQLO’s signature material – the AIRism fabric. Read on to discover more about this talented Muslim as she goes on to break barriers with fashion☺️

1. Tell us something people don’t usually know about you

That I love spending time in nature. I grew up on Dartmoor in England, and camped and hiked a lot when I was young.  I think it’s really important for me to feel connected to the world in that way.

2. How has Islam, your Japanese roots and English upbringing inspired your designs?

They are all really entwined, I can see my Japanese side in my love of process and simplicity. My Islam in my respect for the body itself, and my English side in a slightly rebellious nature.

3. What are your favourite pieces from the new Hana Tajima for UNIQLO 2017 Spring/Summer Collection?

I love wearing the linen cropped blouse, there is a real sculptural element to it. I’ve also been wearing the Tencel ankle length pants a lot too. The silhouette treads this line between androgyny and femininity that is really interesting to style.

4. How different is the new collection from your previous ones?

I focused a lot on movement. Both of the clothing and fabric, but also of the body.  I wanted for everything to have that feeling of fluidity.

5. What has been the most rewarding experience for you since you started designing modest wear for UNIQLO?

There is so much about it that I value. Seeing people wearing the clothes, putting a look together that I never would have thought of. It gives the clothing this whole other life. And that makes me the happiest! But really for me it’s the opportunity to be in my studio designing. That process is where I feel most myself.

6. UNIQLO is famous for its travel wear. How are your designs and selection of materials essential for every modest traveller?

I think it comes down to comfort. The silhouettes are loose, but there are details like ties that allow you to adjust how close to your body you want to wear it. With the fabrics I wanted to keep them light and breathable.

7. Any tips for travellers who want to look stylish but remain comfortable even while travelling?

Having simple but versatile pieces that you can adapt and change with different styling. I’ve been trying to perfect the way I pack and, as with a lot of the pieces in the collection, tops and dresses that you can wear in different ways help you to travel light.

8. What are your travel must-haves?

I always bring a lightweight cotton or cashmere sweater to wear while I’m traveling. A loose linen or cotton shirt and ankle length pants. I also make sure I have a good book, a sketchbook, and a pair of slippers.

9. What are your favourite countries to visit?

Japan and England are my favorite places to visit. Both places have the feeling of a second home, but also a sense of the unknown.

I have spent a lot of time in Tokyo, and love to explore the smaller towns and countryside.

10. What are your favourite travel photos?

My favorite travel photos are always those that capture details that would otherwise be forgotten. An evocation of the atmosphere more than the event.

When I first moved to the US, a few friends and I took a road trip along the West Coast. We stopped on a beach and got caught in a rainstorm. I took this picture the moment we ran back to the car, still soaked with rain.

Tokyo. The three dimensional geometry of the wall bent the light into this beautiful shape.

This is actually a photo of the house I grew up in. When I travel back there, I feel somewhere between a traveller and a former version of myself. The strange familiarity of opening this cupboard to get a bowl in the morning, the same light cast inside the door.

11. If you could give one piece of advice to young Muslim women who wish to venture into the creative field, what would it be?

To maintain a strong sense of yourself and your perspective.

12. Fill in the blank: My hope for the world is that…

We try to understand each other.

Hana Tajima for UNIQLO collection is now in stores (UNIQLO Global Flagship store at Orchard Central, JEM, Causeway Point, Tampines 1) and online: http://www.uniqlo.com/sg/store/women/collections/hana-tajima.html

This article was brought to you by UNIQLO Singapore.

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