When Ayana Ife joined reality TV fashion design competition, ‘Project Runway’, she did not expect to become a role model for Islam — she just wanted to win.
Even as recently as a year ago, I wouldn’t have thought about writing or sharing this story but as I watched the Project Runway, I became curious about Ayana Ife–I wanted to find out more about her. Born in the US to Trinidadian parents a Muhammad, fashion has been an important part of her life and so is her religion. She started sewing at 6 years old. She made dolls from the left over fabric that her mom, a seamstress, threw away.
As Ife got older, her designs took on a unique element but she kept the burqas, a outer garment worn by some Moslem women as a key element to her designs. She saw Project Runway as a unique opportunity to showcase her designs and a chance to win the grand prize. That for her would be the game changer. But it took her three tries before she was finally accepted.
When MIC interviewed her in September of this year, Ife said,
“Fashion pulls influence from pretty much every culture. When it comes to the headscarf, lots of African cultures will wear it for whatever purpose, but the hijab is religious. It’s like wearing a yarmulke. For me it is very personal, and it took a lot of courage to put a hijab on my model in my runway shows.”
Now Ife has a chance of wining the title. Ife is heading into the finals with Brandon Kee, who seems to be the frontrunner at the moment. Here is
Here are some of the comments from people supporting Ayana:
-Just watched the first episode and I must say she is amazing!!! So inspiring that she still sticks to her beliefs, and I hope the judges can understand and respect that. Rooting for you Alana!
-I’m from Utah so it’s amazing to see a local girl represent. I would love to hear how she has been received here. Sometimes it’s pretty closed off to diversity. I hope that’s not the case for her. I think her and Kenya should rock the runway and I’ll be fine with whomever is third
-I support you Ayana ? you Go Girl! Inshaa Allah you will be the winner in NYF
Ife’s appearance on the Project Runway is changing the way Moslem women are depicted in the media-it surely changed mine.