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Shaykh al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The conditions of hijaab: Firstly: (It should cover all the body apart from whatever has been exempted). Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allaah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” This aayah clearly states that it is obligatory to cover all of a woman’s beauty and adornments and not to display any part of that before non-mahram men (“strangers”) except for whatever appears unintentionally, in which case there will be no sin on them if they hasten to cover it up. Al-Haafiz ibn Katheer said in his Tafseer: This means that they should not display any part of their adornment to non-mahrams, apart from that which it is impossible to conceal. Ibn Mas’ood said: such as the cloak and robe, i.e., what the women of the Arabs used to wear, an outer garment which covered whatever the woman was wearing, except for whatever appeared from beneath the outer garment. There is no sin on a woman with regard to this because it is impossible to conceal it. Secondly (it should not be an adornment in and of itself). Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “… and not to show off their adornment…” [al-Noor 24:31]. The general meaning of this phrase includes the outer garment, because if it is decorated it will attract men’s attention to her. This is supported by the aayah in Soorat al-Ahzaab (interpretation of the meaning): “And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance” [al-Ahzaab 33:33]. It is also supported by the hadeeth in which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There are three, do not ask me about them: a man who leaves the jamaa’ah, disobeys his leader and dies disobedient; a female or male slave who runs away then dies; and a woman whose husband is absent and left her with everything she needs, and after he left she made a wanton display of herself. Do not ask about them.” (Narrated by al-Haakim, 1/119; Ahmad, 6/19; from the hadeeth of Faddaalah bint ‘Ubayd. Its isnaad is saheeh and it is in al-Adab al-Mufrad). Thirdly: (It should be thick and not transparent or “see-thru”) - because it cannot cover properly otherwise. Transparent or see-thru clothing makes a woman more tempting and beautiful. Concerning this the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “During the last days of my ummah there will be women who are clothed but naked, with something on their heads like the humps of camels. Curse them, for they are cursed.” Another hadeeth adds: “They will not enter Paradise or even smell its fragrance, although its fragrance can be detected from such and such a distance.” (Narrated by Muslim from the report of Abu Hurayrah). Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr said: what the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) meant was women who wear clothes made of light fabric which describes and does not cover. They are clothed in name but naked in reality. Transmitted by al-Suyooti in Tanweer al-Hawaalik, 3/103. Fourthly: (It should be loose, not tight so that it describes any part of the body). The purpose of clothing is to prevent fitnah (temptation), and this can only be achieved if clothes are wide and loose. Tight clothes, even if they conceal the colour of the skin, still describe the size and shape of the body or part of it, and create a vivid image in the minds of men. The corruption or invitation to corruption that is inherent in that is quite obvious. So the clothes must be wide. Usaamah ibn Zayd said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave me a thick Egyptian garment that was one of the gifts given to him by Duhyat al-Kalbi, and I gave it to my wife to wear. He said, ‘Why do I not see you wearing that Egyptian garment?’ I said, ‘I gave it to my wife to wear.’ He said, ‘Tell her to wear a gown underneath it, for I am afraid that it may describe the size of her bones.’” (Narrated by al-Diyaa’ al-Maqdisi in al-Ahaadeeth al-Mukhtaarah, 1/442, and by Ahmad and al-Bayhaqi, with a hasan isnaad). Fifthly: (It should not be perfumed with bakhoor or fragrance) There are many ahaadeeth which forbid women to wear perfume when they go out of their houses. We will quote here some of those which have saheeh isnaads: Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Any woman who puts on perfume then passes by people so that they can smell her fragrance, is an adulteress.” Zaynab al-Thaqafiyyah reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If any one of you (women) goes out to the mosque, let her not touch any perfume.” Abu Hurayrah said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Any woman who has scented herself with bakhoor (incense), let her not attend ‘Ishaa’ prayers with us.” Moosa ibn Yassaar said that a woman passed by Abu Hurayrah and her scent was overpowering. He said, “O female slave of al-Jabbaar, are you going to the mosque?” She said, “Yes,” He said, “And have you put on perfume because of that?” She said, “Yes.” He said, “Go back and wash yourself, for I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: ‘If a woman comes out to the mosque and her fragrance is overpowering, Allaah will not accept any prayer from her until she goes home and washes herself.’” These ahaadeeth are general in implication. Just as the prohibition covers perfume applied to the body, it also covers perfume applied to the clothes, especially in the third hadeeth, where bakhoor (incense) is mentioned, because incense is used specifically to perfume the clothes. The reason for this prohibition is quite clear, which is that women’s fragrance may cause undue provocation of desires. The scholars also included other things under this heading of things to be avoided by women who want to go to the mosque, such as beautiful clothes, jewellery that can be seen, excessive adornments and mingling with men. See Fath al-Baari, 2/279. Ibn Daqeeq al-‘Eed said: This indicates that it is forbidden for a woman who wants to go to the mosque to wear perfume, because this causes provocation of men’s desires. This was reported by al-Manaawi in Fayd al-Qadeer, in the commentary on the first hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah quoted above. Sixthly: (It should not resemble the clothing of men) It was reported in the saheeh ahaadeeth that a woman who imitates men in dress or in other ways is cursed. There follow some of the ahaadeeth that we know: Abu Hurayrah said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed the man who wears women’s clothes, and the woman who wears men’s clothes.” ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: ‘They are not part of us, the women who imitate men and the men who imitate women.’” Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed effeminate men and masculine women. He said, ‘Throw them out of your houses.’” He said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) expelled So and so, and ‘Umar expelled So and so.” According to another version: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed men who imitate women and women who imitate men.” ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘There are three who will not enter Paradise and Allaah will not even look at them on the Day of Resurrection: one who disobeys his parents, a woman who imitates men, and the duyooth (cuckold, weak man who feels no jealousy over his womenfolk).” Ibn Abi Maleekah – whose name was ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Ubayd-Allaah – said: “It was said to ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), ‘What if a woman wears (men’s) sandals?’ She said: ‘The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) cursed women who act like men.’” These ahaadeeth clearly indicate that it is forbidden for women to imitate men and vice versa, This usually includes dress and other matters, apart from the first hadeeth quoted above, which refers to dress only. Abu Dawood said, in Masaa’il al-Imaam Ahmad (p. 261): “I heard Ahmad being asked about a man who dresses his slave woman in a tunic. He said, ‘Do not clothe her in men’s garments, do not make her look like a man.” Abu Dawood said: “I said to Ahmad, Can he give her bachelor sandals to wear? He said, No, unless she wears them to do wudoo’. I said, What about for beauty? He said, No. I said, Can he cut her hair short? He said, No.” Seventhly: (It should not resemble the dress of kaafir women). It is stated in sharee’ah that Muslims, men and women alike, should not resemble or imitate the kuffaar with regard to worship, festivals or clothing that is specific to them. This is an important Islamic principle which nowadays, unfortunately, is neglected by many Muslims, even those who care about religion and calling others to Islam. This is due either to ignorance of their religion, or because they are following their own whims and desires, or because of deviation, combined with modern customs and imitation of kaafir Europe. This was one of the causes of the Muslims’ decline and weakness, which enabled the foreigners to overwhelm and colonize them. “…Verily, Allaah will not change the condition of a people as long as they do not change their state themselves …” [al-Ra’d 13:11 – interpretation of the meaning]. If only they knew. It should be known that there is a great deal of saheeh evidence for these important rules in the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and that the evidence in the Qur’aan is elaborated upon in the Sunnah, as is always the case. Eighthly: (It should not be a garment of fame and vanity). Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever wears a garment of fame and vanity in this world, Allaah will clothe him in a garment of humiliation on the Day of Resurrection, then He will cause Fire to flame up around him.’” (Hijaab al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah, p. 54-67). And Allaah knows best.
Praise be to Allaah. 1 – Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, headcover, apron), and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms) and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islam), or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of feminine sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allaah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful” [al-Noor 24:31] 2 – Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And as for women past childbearing who do not expect wedlock, it is no sin on them if they discard their (outer) clothing in such a way as not to show their adornment. But to refrain (i.e. not to discard their outer clothing) is better for them. And Allaah is All‑Hearer, All‑Knower” [al-Noor 24:60] “Women past childbearing” are those who no longer menstruate, so they can no longer get pregnant or bear children. We shall see below the words of Hafsah bint Sireen and the way in which she interpreted this verse. 3 – Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allaah is Ever Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful” [al-Ahzaab 33:59] 4 – Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! Enter not the Prophet’s houses, unless permission is given to you for a meal, (and then) not (so early as) to wait for its preparation. But when you are invited, enter, and when you have taken your meal, disperse without sitting for a talk. Verily, such (behaviour) annoys the Prophet, and he is shy of (asking) you (to go); but Allaah is not shy of (telling you) the truth. And when you ask (his wives) for anything you want, ask them from behind a screen, that is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. And it is not (right) for you that you should annoy Allaah’s Messenger, nor that you should ever marry his wives after him (his death). Verily, with Allaah that shall be an enormity” [al-Ahzaab 33:53] With regard to the Ahaadeeth: 1 – It was narrated from Safiyyah bint Shaybah that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) used to say: When these words were revealed – “and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)” – they took their izaars (a kind of garment) and tore them from the edges and covered their faces with them. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4481. The following version was narrated by Abu Dawood (4102): May Allaah have mercy on the Muhaajir women. When Allaah revealed the words “and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)”, they tore the thickest of their aprons (a kind of garment) and covered their faces with them. Shaykh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shanqeeti (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: This hadeeth clearly states that what the Sahaabi women mentioned here understood from this verse – “and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)” – was that they were to cover their faces, and that they tore their garments and covered their faces with them, in obedience to the command of Allaah in the verse where He said “and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)” which meant covering their faces. Thus the fair-minded person will understand that woman’s observing hijab and covering her face in front of men is established in the saheeh Sunnah that explains the Book of Allaah. ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) praised those women for hastening to follow the command of Allaah given in His Book. It is known that their understanding of the words “and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)” as meaning covering the face came from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), because he was there and they asked him about everything that they did not understand about their religion. And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And We have also sent down unto you (O Muhammad) the Dhikr [reminder and the advice (i.e. the Qur’aan)], that you may explain clearly to men what is sent down to them, and that they may give thought” [al-Nahl 16:44] Ibn Hajar said in Fath al-Baari: There is a report of Ibn Abi Haatim via ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Uthmaan ibn Khaytham from Safiyyah that explains that. This report says: We mentioned the women of Quraysh and their virtues in the presence of ‘Aa’ishah and she said: “The women of Quraysh are good, but by Allaah I have never seen any better than the women of the Ansaar, or any who believed the Book of Allaah more strongly or had more faith in the Revelation. When Soorat al-Noor was revealed – “and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)” – their menfolk came to them and recited to them what had been revealed, and there was not one woman among them who did not go to her apron, and the following morning they prayed wrapped up as if there were crows on their heads. It was also narrated clearly in the report of al-Bukhaari narrated above, where we see ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), who was so knowledgeable and pious, praising them in this manner and stating that she had never seen any women who believed the Book of Allaah more strongly or had more faith in the Revelation. This clearly indicates that they understood from this verse – “and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)” – that it was obligatory to cover their faces and that this stemmed from their belief in the Book of Allaah and their faith in the Revelation. It also indicates that women’s observing hijab in front of men and covering their faces is an act of belief in the Book of Allaah and faith in the Revelation. It is very strange indeed that some of those who claim to have knowledge say that there is nothing in the Qur’aan or Sunnah that says that women have to cover their faces in front of non-mahram men, even though the Sahaabi women did that in obedience to the command of Allaah in His Book, out of faith in the Revelation, and that this meaning is also firmly entrenched in the Sunnah, as in the report from al-Bukhaari quoted above. This is among the strongest evidence that all Muslim women are obliged to observe hijab. Adwa’ al-Bayaan, 6/594-595. 2 – It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah that the wives of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to go out at night to al-Manaasi’ (well known places in the direction of al-Baqee’) to relieve themselves and ‘Umar used to say to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), “Let your wives be veiled.” But the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not do that. Then one night Sawdah bint Zam’ah, the wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), went out at ‘Isha’ time and she was a tall woman. ‘Umar called out to her: “We have recognized you, O Sawdah!” hoping that hijab would be revealed, then Allaah revealed the verse of hijab. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 146; Muslim, 2170. 3 – It was narrated from Ibn Shihaab that Anas said: I am the most knowledgeable of people about hijab. Ubayy ibn Ka’b used to ask me about it. When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) married Zaynab bint Jahsh, whom he married in Madeenah, he invited the people to a meal after the sun had risen. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sat down and some men sat around him after the people had left, until the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood up and walked a while, and I walked with him, until he reached the door of ‘Aa’ishah’s apartment. Then he thought that they had left so he went back and I went back with him, and they were still sitting there. He went back again, and I went with him, until he reached the door of ‘Aa’ishah’s apartment, then he came back and I came back with him, and they had left. Then he drew a curtain between me and him, and the verse of hijab was revealed. Al-Bukhaari, 5149; Muslim, 1428. 4 – It was narrated from ‘Urwah that ‘Aa’ishah said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to pray Fajr and the believing women would attend (the prayer) with him, wrapped in their aprons, then they would go back to their houses and no one would recognize them. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 365; Muslim, 645. 5 – It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: “The riders used to pass by us when we were with the Messenger of Allaah (S) in ihraam, and when they drew near to us we would lower our jilbabs from our heads over our faces, then when they had passed we would uncover them again. Narrated by Abu Dawood, 1833; Ibn Maajah, 2935; classed as saheeh by Ibn Khuzaymah (4,203) and by al-Albaani in Kitaab Jilbaab al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah. 6 – It was narrated that Asma’ bint Abi Bakr said: We used to cover our faces in front of men. Narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah, 4/203; al-Haakim, 1/624. He classed it as saheeh and al-Dhahabi agreed with him. It was also classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Jilbaab al-Mar’ah al-Muslimah. 7 – It was narrated that ‘Aasim al-Ahwaal said: We used to enter upon Hafsah bint Sireen who had put her jilbab thus and covered her face with it, and we would say to her: May Allaah have mercy on you. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And as for women past childbearing who do not expect wedlock, it is no sin on them if they discard their (outer) clothing in such a way as not to show their adornment” [al-Noor 24:60]. And she would say to us: What comes after that? We would say: “But to refrain (i.e. not to discard their outer clothing) is better for them”. And she would say: That is confirming the idea of hijab. Narrated by al-Bayhaqi, 7/93.
Originally from South Africa, Michelle has lived in the UK since 2004. Due to a lack of good restaurants in Essex, Michelle says that she was forced to put her apron on and get stuck in. Since setting up her blog, Greedy Gourmet, Michelle has switched careers from programming to food photography. In this spotlight, Michelle who appeared on our top ten food blog ranking, chats to us about where extracts the inspiration for her cooking, reveals who her culinary icon is and why veganism will be the next big thing in the food industry. If you could describe your blog in three words what would it be? Easy family recipes How did you get into blogging about food? When I moved to the UK in 2004, I didn’t have a clue how to cook. Converting Pounds to South African Rand, I found restaurants hideously expensive and, quite frankly, the offerings in Essex are not all that great. So, I started cooking and documenting my journey, and haven’t stopped since! What are the biggest challenges and greatest rewards of being a food blogger? The face of blogging has changed so much over the years and the biggest challenge for me is keeping up with new technologies. Nothing stays constant and it’s a must to keep up to date with the latest trends. There are plenty of rewards though. I’ve met fantastic fellow bloggers along the way and love connecting with my readers, especially when they have positive feedback. Great food (exercise is a must!) has been enjoyed along the way and lovely travel opportunities arose as well. What’s your favourite recipe? My favourite recipe depends on my mood. Right now I definitely wouldn’t mind steak with a blue cheese sauce! Name one ingredient that you can’t live without? Salt! Where do you draw your cooking inspiration from? Cookbooks and the internet. Pinterest is also a great source of inspiration – I’m awestruck by people’s creativity. Who would you consider a culinary icon? Would it be weird if I answered that I don’t have one? I don’t care if someone boiled a potato, mashed it, deep fried it twice, and then crumbled it on top of some other weird concoction. Instead of faffing around with food, I’m much more impressed by individuals who work tirelessly to help spread the word on environmental matters and educating the public about making better choices for their health, animals and the environment, i.e. making the world a better place. What do you think is going to be the next big thing in the food industry? Veganism. Or at least I hope so. The irony hasn’t been lost on me that I answered steak in question 4. I didn’t know about the atrocities happening behind closed doors in agriculture. This is why I’m systematically converting to vegetarian and ultimately veganism, spreading the word as I go along. How do you like to work with PRs? I love working with PRs and coming up with a custom solution for each campaign to have maximum impact and longevity for each client. It would help if PRs payment wasn’t in the form of “exposure”. What’s one piece of cooking advice you’d like to share with our readers? Don’t ever be afraid to try a new recipe or cooking with a new ingredient. Even if you “fail” you’ll learn something! You’re a popular food blogger, but are there any food blogs that you follow? Running a blog is quite time-consuming, so the only blogs I read are the ones that will help with blog growth, such as SEO. What’s next in your career as a food blogger? To keep doing what I’m doing. I love capturing authentic recipes with chefs in different travel destinations!
Natasha Nuttall is an award-winning blogger and the author behind Graphique Fantastique. Describing herself as a freelance graphic designer by day, blogger and vlogger by night, Natasha is used to wearing many hats. It was after Natasha moved to London in 2014 that she decided to pursue a career in graphic design and since then she has not looked back. Having established a successful blogging career, Natasha has worked with big brands such as Fanta, Winsor and Newton, Snapfish, Specsavers and MTV. In this spotlight, Natasha who recently appeared on our graphic design ranking chats to us about why she loves being a part of the blogging community, building successful relationships with PRs, and why she is driven by wanting to make a difference. What inspired you to create your blog? It’s actually less of a what, and more of a who. I started my blog back in 2009 on the recommendation of my college tutor, Chris. He had just started a blog of his own and said that I should give it a try. This was back before blogging was really ‘a thing’ and I saw it as a way to put my design work from college out into the world for feedback. Honestly, it’s a bit cringe to look back at those posts now, but I haven’t deleted them as it shows the journey and how far my blog (and design) has grown. What opportunities have been presented to you through blogging? I feel lucky to have experienced a lot of cool things thanks to my blog and the online world, sometimes I can’t really believe it. There’s been geeky design related things like being invited to the reveal of the Pantone colour of the year, being one of the first to visit the GF Smith Showspace when it opened and spending time with my favourite designers – those are definitely highlights. But all of the events aside, the best thing has been finding a community of like-minded people. The #cbloggers community might be quite small, but everyone is very passionate about what they do and super supportive. Most of my URL friends are now IRL friends, all thanks to blogging. What has been your experience with working with PRs and marketers? As a whole, it’s been positive and I’ve enjoyed working on some creative and fun projects. My blog doesn’t really fit into one of the loose blog ‘boxes’ e.g. Fashion, Beauty, Lifestyle, which in my eyes is a strength. Over the past eight years, I’ve met and built relationships with a lot of great PRs and brands who really ‘get’ Graphique Fantastique. As someone whose currency is ideas, I always try to do something different – a new angle on a product review or a graphic twist to the visuals. But there are still many PRs that are confused by my blog and don’t necessarily see my relevance or the potential of working with a creative influencer. It’s a shame, but you can’t win them all! What kinds of PRs or campaigns are you interested in working with/on in the future? As a creative, I’m open to lots of different things as I will put my spin on it, along as it’s relevant of course. My content is all about ideas and being relatable, with graphic influenced visuals. I’ve been transitioning and working on defining the ‘creative lifestyle’ niche, ultimately to help more people to understand and discover creativity. A lot of people have no idea what Graphic Design is, so I’m doing my best to inspire & inform people of the part that it plays in everyday life. But in the future, I would really love to start pairing design and travel together – I need to set that ball in motion. Watch this space! Do you consider social media an important tool in directing traffic toward your blog? Definitely! Twitter plays a big part in getting the word out about my new posts and vlogs – it helps to create a buzz and get the conversation started. Comments on Blogs aren’t as common these days as people tend to respond to Tweets & updates on Facebook for ease. Getting the balance right is tough, especially because you don’t want to spam your followers – nobody likes to be spammed. Although, sometimes I’m guilty of spending too much time on Twitter when I should be working on my Blog content. Oops! What has been your proudest achievement as a blogger? I’m sure most people would expect me to say winning Best Young Person’s blog at the UKBA in 2014 or being mentioned on this list even, but for me it’s about making a real difference to other people’s lives. The most rewarding blog posts have been the brutally honest ones (like having a bad time as a graduate and quitting my job) where I’ve been overwhelmed with the support. Then there is the other side of it, where I’m supporting people through bad times, helping them figure out a plan of action and reassuring them that they can turn it around. I love to chat and give advice (or my opinion at least because I always have one ha). Graphic Designers are naturally problem solvers, so I just love helping people really. Will you be working on any exciting projects or campaigns this year? I mean, I can’t believe that we’re already a quarter of the way through the year but there’s still plenty of time for lots of exciting things! April brings National Stationery Week so I’m working on cool content for that, but who knows what the rest of 2017 will bring! As always, I’m open to ideas…
Over the last couple of years you may have read about how British coastal towns are enjoying a revival and in particular how Margate is the new Shoreditch!! Anyone who has visited Margate will know this isn’t true (thank God) as a theme park, gallery, vintage shops and an Arts Club, do not make it Shoreditch or even Dalston, and the only people who want it to be the new hipster destination are the mainstream media, desperate for a strapline and a story! Margate is still a traditional seaside destination complete with amusement arcades, a sad High Street (due to a huge out-of-town shopping park) and more than its fair share of very real poverty. But it also has beautiful, often run down buildings, stunning beaches and a really interesting arts scene. Yes, Thanet may be UKip’s heartland but the positive energy, inclusive and friendly community and sense that anything is possible, is attracting creatives from London and beyond, who are helping to turn a once downtrodden town into a creative hub. This isn’t about house prices (although affordable housing helps) but about a group of like minded people coming together to make art, start small businesses and get involved in the local community. The Turner Contemporary Gallery is situated on the seafront, on the same site where Turner stayed when visiting the town, and has contributed to the towns burgeoning art scene. It has a great programme of exhibitions and events and is well worth a visit. Entangled: Threads & Making is currently showing until May. Featuring sculpture, installation, tapestry, textiles and jewellery from the early 20th century to the present day, the work from over 40 international female artists looks at the possibilities of embroidery, weaving, sewing and wood carving, using unexpected materials such as plants, clothing, hair and bird quills.
I’ve never worked with a stylist or personal shopper. Having worked in fashion most of my life, I’ve always trusted my own instincts and been comfortable with my own style, although I have often wondered what someone else might ‘do’ with me, style-wise. In my year of Nothing New I was concerned I might get bored with what I’ve got, so when my friend, the stylist Tamara Fulton, offered to to come and give me and my wardrobe and me a mini style makeover, I jumped at the chance. Tamara is an excellent stylist, she’s worked on a multitude of brand campaigns (I first met her after admiring one of her Toast shoots) and is currently goods editor for Hole & Corner magazine, but she also really enjoys styling private clients. She is calm, thoughtful and funny, so I knew that submitting to her outfit choices would be easy. Being comfortable with your style and clothes shows in your face, according to Tamara, but understanding what you want is not always easy. She works by gently nudging her clients out of their comfort zones in order to put together a better version of themselves. We started by me sorting out my wardrobe running rails (I don’t have a posh cupboard) into categories, all the blouses /jeans/jackets together. As you may remember, I have quite a lot of clothes, some of which I don’t wear much. Everyone wants something slightly different from these sessions apparently, but I wanted Tamara to try and make some of my unworn items work harder, by suggesting new ways to wear them, and to help me ditch stuff that just didn’t suit me. We went through every item, looking at silhouette, colour, fit and identifying clothes I no longer wore that much. Getting rid of problem clothes that don’t suit you can be hard, according to Tamara, there’s a lot of emotion tied up in them and cutting lose from ones you’ve out grown, have fond memories of or just can’t bear to say good bye to is tricky. Tamara suggests moving them out of sight as a first step. Pull out anything you can’t fit into or don’t wear and put it away. After a period of time (perhaps a year) go back to them and deciding their fate will be easier.