Brooklyn based designer opens the first Muslim model agency
Melis Alphan Hürriyet Daily News
Recently showing at NYC Fashion Week 2011 and featured in Couture Fashion Week 2011, Lymus has established her name in the fashion industry. She forged a path for non-traditional approaches to Islamic fashion and custom.There is not a long list of Muslim models in the Western world, but this is likely to change soon. For the girls who want to go into modeling without exposing flesh, Brooklyn-based fashion designer Nailah Lymus has the answer.
“Muslim models come from a background where they dress Islamically appropriate. But to be in the fashion industry and to be a model, you have to forfeit that,” said Lymus, adding that this was the reason of her starting an agency. “You don’t have to lose who you are to be in this business.”
Lymus, a clothing and accessory designer since 2004, has nourished her deep hunger for all things fashion at the youthful age of seven, using her talent to accentuate the natural allure of women. Even though she originally studied child development she interned at a clothing store, which led her to take up designing. Then she turned her hand to adult creations.
Being a self-taught designer equipped Lymus with all of the poise needed to showcase her gift amongst more seasoned designers. Recently showing at NYC Fashion Week 2011 and featured in Couture Fashion Week 2011, Lymus has established her name in the fashion industry. She forged a path for non-traditional approaches to Islamic fashion and custom. Now combining both of her passions – modesty and fashion – Lymus ventured into the world of modeling and launched the first global Muslim female model agency, merging the best of both worlds.
Questining about Islam and being a woman
“I am constantly questioned about Islam and being a woman in Islam. I love the opportunity to address these questions and shed light on the rights that God has given women. I have always been passionate about being Muslim and about fashion. This was the perfect merge of both my passions,” said Lymus.
The agency is called Underwraps, and the goal is to have Muslim women work with mainstream designers while maintaining religious requirements and beliefs: clothes that are loose enough not to reveal the figure, and in which only the face, hands and feet are exposed. Lymus’ wish is to address many misconceptions and stereotypes about Muslim women in fashion by merging covered Muslim models into the mainstream fashion industry and set a new standard in the model world.
Lymus is an American-born Muslim whose parents converted to Islam before she was born. She adheres to the modesty tenets of the religion.
“I feel there is a need to be covered for two reasons,” she said, “one being as women our bodies are very sacred and valued. Secondly from a fashion perspective women look beautiful in head wraps and layered outfits. Think in history how people of royalty and high rankings have always dressed layered and modest.”
Underwraps Agency takes its job seriously and works in a professional way just like the other model agencies. During New York Fashion Week, Lymus sent her models out to castings just like everyone else.
At the moment, the agency has four models in development and two are officially signed. One is African-American and the other is mulatto. Lymus brought them to industry events and parties during fashion week and let them get a taste of the whole fashion scene.
Lymus believes looks are not enough; girls should also have strong personalities to cope in the world of fashion. She wants to help change the perception of Muslim women not working or only wearing full abayas. k HDN