Young Muslim Designer Puts Her Fashions on New York Runways

Nailah Lymus takes a unique approach to faith and fashion.

By Jorge Rivas Nov 04, 2011

Nailah Lymus, 27, is an aspiring fashion designer who loves using bright colors, patterns in her dresses that almost always show a little shoulder. She’s also a devout Muslim and she hopes to break stereotypes about Muslim women only wearing black.

"I like colors and I like flowers, and I like head pieces with feathers coming off of them, and all I do is just put it on top of my hijab instead of putting it on my hair," Lymus told NPR. "I am a woman — I am attracted to those things, so I really want to break down that stereotype."

Lymus, who’s African-American and lives in Brooklyn, has been designing since she was 7 years old. Her clothing line called Amirah Creations and takes its inspiration from the 1920s-1950s.

"I’m inspired by that era," she says, "but also, Islamically, it is pretty modest."

Although Lymus says she wants to design for both women who are Muslim and those who are not, she can’t wear many of the pieces in her collection because they show shoulders and arms.

Her solution is to "Islamify" her looks.

"That means having to throw a blazer on it, or a sweater … [so] it is modest enough so we can wear it," Lymus says.

Starting a fashion line isn’t easy, especially for a single mom, like Lymus. She’s also a wardrobe stylist, wardrobe consultant and hair stylist to make ends meet.

Watch her most recent fashion show below: