Diaspo #65 : Keltoum Kamal Idrissi, modest fashion for modern Muslim girls in Italy

Moroccan-born Keltoum Kamal Idrissi co-founded a shop that sells modest yet modern clothes for veiled women in Italy.

Keltoum Kamal Idrissi, a Moroccan woman living in Italy./Ph. DR
Estimated read time: 2'

She is confident, optimistic and proud of her new business that she created to help young Muslim women in Italy be fashionable and modest at the same time. The Moroccan-born Keltoum Kamal Idrissi co-founded Hijab Paradise off her own savings.

Born in Casablanca in 1994 and brought to Italy by her parents in 2003, the young girl was able to be self-employed at a young age, conveying a deep message about the Muslim and Moroccan community in Italy and giving veiled girls what that they were looking for.

«When I came to Italy, I carried my studies until I graduated high school. I wanted to go to college but I preferred to find a job first», Keltoum told Yabiladi.

Her first job was one of the many she had in the last couple of years. Her objective was to put some money apart and start a new adventure, an adventure that speaks to her.

Modest yet modern

«In Italy, we had shops for Hijabi girls but the clothes they were selling were very traditional, baggy, and meant to be worn by older women», explained the 24-year-old entrepreneur. For Keltoum and girls her age, those items of clothing did not represent their style and did not reflect their personalities.

«When I look at those clothes I feel like they are things that my grandmother would wear», she joked.

Feeling that she was forced to cope with what she had, Keltoum thought of the idea of modern yet modest. «The idea behind my shop is driven by the fact that girls like me did not have many choices», complained Keltoum. «Most veiled girls are looking for modest clothes but they also want to look chic and put together», she added.

Starting from there, Keltoum and her friend Fatiha Mouradi used their savings for a good reason and opened in March Hijab Paradise in Bologna, northern Italy. «We have modern and day to day clothes for veiled women, they are mostly Turkish inspired», said the young woman.

Islam, integration and Italy

Keltoum and her friend do not design the merchandise they sell but only retail it. They see it as a first step for their bigger projects. «Our dream is to develop our business and have our own brand and produce our own clothes», she told Yabiladi.

The shop is just one of the many activities Keltoum has. The young woman participates in social works and attends conferences and events to talk about Islam, her community and immigration in Italy. For the young woman, however, integration is a word that shouldn't be taken lightly.

«To be honest I just hate the word integration and I hope they remove it from the dictionary because for me it means two things either you forget about a part of your history, story and where you are coming from or the opposite», she said.

Keltoum believes that people need to try to accept others' differences. «We are all different, with different backgrounds and integration should not exclude the fact that we are meant to be different», added Keltoum.

The Moroccan woman wants to be even more active in the Italian society and that's through getting an Italian citizenship. «I am applying for that so I can participate to the political scene and vote», explained Keltoum who is also very proud of her Moroccan origins.

«When I go to Morocco I feel that it is part of me, family, the language and the tradition and here in Italy there is work and everyday life. I am proud that I am a Muslim, Moroccan and Italian woman», she concluded.

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