Wednesday, July 31, 2013

From Legal Pad to Sketch Pad

We've been fans of Haute Hijab for a long time. The force behind the brand is Melanie Elturk a lawyer turned designer. Like Mode-sty, Haute Hijab has a desire to elevate the style options available for modest women. We love how the brand has showcased sophisticated and contemporary modest clothing so we asked Melanie to share a little about her inspiration and how she got started. 

Baroque Ruffle Back Lace Skirt
What was your inspiration for the gown and lace skirts in your new collection? 
I've always always loved lace - in high school I turned an 80's lace dress into an awesome skirt I wore all the time. It was one of my favorite skirts. I knew that I wanted to incorporate lace into one of my lines at some point and when I first saw lace making a comeback on the runways I knew now was the perfect time. It's such a romantic, feminine fabric, it suits perfectly with our brand and aesthetic. As for the Sophia Gown, the inspiration came from the frustration of not being able to find many suitable options for formal occasions. We had planned on debuting a gown with the very first line back in 2011 but it never came to fruition. With the second line I knew I wanted a long gown with pleats and really loved the silhouette of the Majestic Lace Skirt. Once we incorporated the pleated waist and pleat details on the sleeves, the Sophia Gown was born! Shortly after the gown was in production I watched Valentino's Fall 2013 line and my jaw was literally on the floor. Many of the gowns were very similar to the sketches we had produced for my own line and it was such a magical moment for me!

Do you have any style or designer icons? 
Absolutely! My all-time favorite designers include Carolina Herrera, Ralph Lauren, Valentino and Oscar de la Renta. Lately I've really been getting into Alexander McQueen as well. As you can tell by my favorite designers, I'm really into structured, timeless pieces with an edge. I love all-American style and infuse a lot of prep looks into my own wardrobe. When I'm dressing formally I love to mix classic pieces with surprise elements (think Carolina Herrera meets Alexander McQueen). As far as style icons, my two favorites are Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. (Coincidentally, the first two HH Style Icon's we've featured on our blog). I love the way they are both able to make simple everyday pieces look so glamorous. They also don't fuss with a litany of accessories or distractions. Their style is confident, sophisticated and timeless. Women of that era also dressed rather modestly. Of course it was a cultural norm for that period in history, but it's still very inspiring.
How did you get started creating your own line?I got started after my husband and I had a conversation about starting up a modest focused fashion brand. At the time, there were hardly any truly professional US based brands out there and we knew we'd be a pioneer in he arena. We thought long and hard about the distinct image we wanted our brand to portray and the types of items we wanted to carry. Once the vision was in place, and I got all my designs down on paper, it was a matter of finding talented pattern-makers, pattern graders, seamstresses and manufacturers to bring everything to life! We created a facebook page very early on, which helped us tremendously when it comes to building a client base. Some of our earliest fans are still with us today and we've been very blessed to have an organically grown community surrounding our brand. We just reached over 100,000 facebook fans!

HH Peplum Skirt, Out of Stock
What's a trend that you want to (or are planning to) make more modest?
To be completely honest I'm not really into trends and I tend to design more timeless pieces that will stay in my closet for years and years (especially when they're made with expert craftsmanship of quality fabrics). Our peplum skirt that I designed back in 2010 wasn't based off a trend. It was utter coincidence that the peplum blew-up in mainstream fashion after we debuted it, but before that, you couldn't find a peplum-anything at retail stores. I had always loved the 40's peplum silhouette and wanted to create a full coverage version that I could wear. (The peplum silhouette in the 40's was found almost entirely on knee-length dresses). That's really how I come up with my ideas. I look to the past and try to re-innovate a seam, a detail, a silhouette - anything that really sparks my eye.
Sophia Gown- Sold Out


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  2. nice information, i like to wear hijab and i see the tutorial Cara Berhijab modern to wear hijab