These women CAN: Reflections from a modest fashion collaboration with SHENANNZ

In one of its recent photoshoots for its scarves collection, SHENANNZ brought together some aspiring women of diverse backgrounds and cultures. Being different in so many ways, what was it that led them here and then brought them together? It was the one aim they all had in common: To empower women– themselves first and, by extension, all women, like or unlike themselves, around the world.

Each of these women has a story, and each story is worth telling and holds the power to inspire many others too. Who are these women? What is the journey they undertook before they got here? What do they have to say looking back at this collaboration with SHENANNZ? We dedicate this blog to these women, their recollections, and their aspirations.

Vibrantly spearheading this photoshoot with SHENANNZ, was Moya, a woman who has shown the world her power by using fashion as her symbol of freedom and expression, never being afraid to step beyond mundane societal fashion norms. She truly embraced fashion as an expression of nothing but her own unique self and her freedom.

We also had Eveline Lehmann: A content creator, psychological counsellor IKP, counsellor with Advanced Federal Diploma HFP, and mental coach HLS.

As a former flight attendant of the National Airline, she is a remarkable, open minded person whose interests lie in a plethora of amazing pursuits, including women empowerment, fashion/lifestyle, sports, nature, photography, literature, and meditation!

And that’s not all. There were others who were also a part of this dynamic, diverse team, all of them stunning human beings. Some of their stories and reflections deserve to be shared in their own words. Hear what they have to say.

From Moya:

I was someone who grew up with a taste for fashion, which is also quite strange because, somehow, I started out as a tomboy! I lacked so much self-confidence when I was growing up that I kind of hid behind trying to look like a boy. Once, when walking on the street, this person approached me and told me you look like a model, and I was like, “Far from!”

But somehow, by the time I was 15, I was already doing modeling. I started at 11, however, with little competitions. Mini miss this, mini miss that. At about age 16, I traveled to Germany. That’s when I landed a contract and started professional modeling. For me, modeling became like an alter ego – someone who I would try to be to try and be confident, even though I wasn’t.”

There was something that my mum once said – that I was the kind of child who, if I had to go to the shop, I’d always make sure I go to my closet and put my best outfit on, just as if I’m always in a fashion show.

That’s where, I would say, fashion shows me, because I had a taste where I saw clothes that other people probably wouldn’t wear. I was bold enough to wear colors as a black woman in Germany. When I moved to Germany, there were only black, or white, or brown colors around me. But Moya would walk around with a bright yellow dress and a bright yellow bag, or orange on orange, or reds and blues and pinks and purple…and everywhere I went, as a tall, black girl of 179, I stood out.”

And I think that’s what drew a lot of attention to me. I always wondered to myself: How is it that people always stare at me? Not realizing that it was just me being me, because I just enjoyed wearing clothing that described who I am. And fashion for me…that’s what it is about.

I think fashion is about expressing yourself in the way you dress. I always say this to people around me. They know I don’t dress to please anyone; I dress to please myself. And my outfits always choose me, so you can always tell the days I’m in or the moods I’m in depending on the clothes I wear.”

For all the little girls out there: Never be afraid and never be shy to express yourself. If you can’t express yourself through words, you can express yourself through your attire, the way you dress, the way you look. Because I believe that each one of us is beautiful in their own ways, and the way we dress, a lot of times, speaks about who we are. I have always believed that.

And that is why I have now embraced the way I was growing up. In a way where I never really saw the beauty in my skin tone, or saw the beauty each time I looked in the mirror, wondering: Why do my facial features look different from other girls? Why was I so tall and skinny? Why was my forehead so big? But, for me now, it is who I am.

I’ve always dressed to compliment my body and compliment myself, and therefore, that is what drives me to be in this fashion world…to show the world you don’t have to be like what society wants you to be. Regardless of whether you’re Muslim or if you’re Hindu or if you’re Christian. Regardless of what religion you are, there is beauty in everything that you put on your body. You don’t have to dress sexy to be beautiful. You don’t have to dress too elegant to look posh. It’s about literally expressing yourself through clothing.”

When I decided to do the collaboration with SHENANNZ, for me, it was about what the company stood for – about women, about women empowerment, about showing the world that you can bring quality into style, and you can make that style into something else. And that is what I admired about the logo, about the whole motto, about everything pertaining to the company.

When I thought of the scarves or the silk tops or whatever it is that I was working with, my goal was always to ensure I brought diversity. I brought the 16-year-old girl who could wear something that looked so different yet so beautiful. Someone who maybe would never wear a silk top in their life but would still look at it and see something unique about it because it was about bringing women of all nations, of all skin tones together to create something that was so beautiful.”

From Aya:

(Born and raised in Switzerland, originally from Egypt and Lebanon).

Seeing the beautiful scarves inspired me, and it was important for me to be a part of any Muslim project that was spreading positivity about Islam in Switzerland, Europe, and the whole world. I felt those beautiful scarves would change the light in which people see hijabis in Europe, and so of course, I wanted to be a part of this. As a Muslim girl who wears a hijab, having a modest fashion brand in Switzerland is huge for me, and it’s so high-quality too, which makes it even better.

Working with SHENANNZ and Moya was one of the best experiences I’ve had so far. The atmosphere was very beautiful, we had a lot of fun, no stress, and I am very pleasantly surprised by the results of the shoot. I am proud to have worked with them. It was an honor. Thank you.”

From Talita:

My name is Talita. I was born in Spain and moved to Switzerland as a 7-year-old. My nationality is a mix between Swiss, German, Polish and Spanish.

I have been wearing a head covering for the last 15 months so far. It has become so much more than just clothing for me! That’s why it was so amazing and such a great honor for me to be chosen for this special photoshoot.

I am proud to have represented this meaningful and pretty, high-quality modest fashion brand. For me, this collaboration with Moya and Anila (SHENANNZ) was an extraordinary, beautiful, and empowering experience!

They interacted on such a personal level and were so sweet and kind and lovely! We formed a wonderful connection and had so much fun during the shoot. I look forward to a future collaboration, and, more importantly, to keeping this friendship!

Thank you for this pleasure.”

We too, at SHENANNZ, are honored and overjoyed to have worked with amazing women like these. This bond of womanhood that we share is our strength.

To all these amazing women, and many more across the world, we send our love and more power to them. You can achieve whatever you set your mind to. Believe it. YOU can!

anilahuSSain

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