MDIFC And A Few Minutes With Former Fashion Model Romana Kerns-Muhammad

"When the river makes noise, it's because it carries something" A saying referring to something that is about to happen. Indeed, there is an undeniable movement occurring within the U.S. in regards to Muslims and fashion. First, there is the increase number of designers and shops that are growing rapidly across the U.S. Then you have the numerous new fashion shows popping-up all over America whether they are stand-alone or part of conventions. And, this year we have already been through one Muslim fashion design contest and more are in the works for 2013 and 2014.This is where Modesty Design Islamic Fashion Council of America (MDIFC) comes into place. Romana Kerns-Muhammad, a former fashion model, jewelry artist trained in metalsmithing, founder of Muslimahs United To Serve is also the founder of MDIFC

"Our focus is on making the training, mentoring and skill development opportunities necessary available to fully develop thriving fashion entrepreneurial careers for the next generation of Muslim Designers." - Romana Kerns-Muhammad

We wanted to find out more about her and her upcoming event the Islamic Designer's Fashion Workshop geared not only for the clothing designer but also helpful towards business owners. It will cover branding and marketing techniques, using social media platforms, along with business ethics and codes of conducts prescribed by Islamic regulations. The Islamic Designer's Fashion Workshop takes place in Maryland on June 29, 2013.

Why do you think the Islamic Designer's Fashion Workshop is important?

"The Islamic Designer’s Fashion Workshop, in my eyes, is a true asset to the emerging Muslim fashion designers clustered throughout the entire east coast and other areas across the US. The three main elements that will make up the workshop: harnessing your creative inspiration and cultivating this by understanding the business side of designing, learning how to develop your brand and drive awareness to it, and finally understanding various platforms to really push your brand forward, are the missing keys for this targeted group of designers. Many of them have been truly blessed with the gift of fashion designing, but because they have not taking the time to understand how to really develop and push the gift forward, they fail to realize its true heights. Often you see these same designers burnt out after repeated mundane cycles of create a garment, take it to a local event that includes a ‘market place’ and a full audience, sell that one piece for just enough money to make the next garment and start over. 

 Our targeted base of designers, American-based, or born, Muslim designers, seem to successfully repeat this cycle time and again because they don’t  expose themselves to new information that would provoke  a different result.  I often hear mentioned envy-laced sentiments that non-Muslim designers around them appear to be successfully (and lucratively I might add) making it as careered fashion or accessories design entrepreneurs, but our designers can’t grasp how to bring that into being for themselves.  The only difference is KNOWLEDGE. Most of the designers from our community aren’t aware of the technique, technical resources, skill, language or information-base required of them to move beyond where they are.  With this particular workshop, MDIFC intends to eliminate the particular handicap of lack of knowledge.  In follow- up sessions, bi’ithni’ALLAH, we will address the weakness in technique of garment construction, which presents another major obstacle in our designers being competitive with mainstream fashion designers.  You can have a world of passion and creativity focused on a craft,  but you will never really be able to move it past that hobby-ish stage until you’ve armed yourself with the knowledge that opens those doors for you.  

So in summary of why I think this workshop is important, I have to say solely because it is poised to bring about a level playing field for attendees.  We are trying to give Muslim designers the a chance at the same level of success they see  their non-Muslim counterparts enjoying.   That’s the sole focus of this workshop – to equip Muslim designers with the knowledge they will need to pull from at the time opportunity knocks."

What does the workshop mean to you personally?

"What this workshop means for me personally is the chance to be a part of using a subject I am passionate about to benefit the community I love dearly. The opportunity  and information this workshop will afford attendees creates a direct platform for the emergence of Muslim designers to become established as careered designers. This is a critical element because developing these individuals creates an avenue to capture and redirect a portion of the Muslim consumer’s fashion dollars back into our communities to be used for our benefits across the nation. A review of reports published by two sources indicates that American Muslim consumers spent $840,000,000 on mainstream fashion in 2012. We, Muslims, here in and America and abroad, are slammed on all sides by woes, degradation and humiliating circumstances that could easily by addressed by finances. Islam as a way of life is curtailed on many fronts because we don’t have the legal power to fight for its protection here and abroad. More and more of the understanding of Muslim character is lost because, for those of us who believe in the ability of Islamic education to mold this character, we can’t afford to send our children to Islamic schools, etc. These are things that can be fixed by retaining money in our own community instead of putting it in the pockets of those who have no interest in the well-being of Muslims here in America. 

I choose to believe by ALLAH that we can have a healthy, nationally competitive fashion market from, for and by individuals of the Muslim community. Yes, I know it is going to take a lot of hard work. Our designers are desperately lagging in the information and skills that are necessary to bring this about, but MDIFC is ready to jump in the trenches and do all that is necessary to help develop the potential this community has – and that potential is abundant. So for me personally, this workshop is a stepping stone in being a part of bringing into reality a vision that even at this very moment is so clearly tangible in my heart. The creative inspiration of ALLAH shown through the designs of Muslimahs, bringing the influence of modesty to consumers and acquiring the means to make a difference and further Islam as a way of life in this arena in America is what this means to me personally ."

MDIFC is actively bringing workshops for the thriving Muslim fashion designer and professionals within the industry. Visit their site and Facebook page for updates and industry informative information.

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