Breaking Down Barriers with Fashion Influencer, Zaheera M.
Zaheera Mohammed didn't set out to become a fashion influencer on Instagram - with her modern/chic style and sincere desire to connect and inspire those around her, the following developed on its own, and we are so ecstatic it did. An avid user of Instasize, Zaheera has built her online presence with honesty, integrity, and a great sense of style. We're here to share her insight on all things Instagram.
Instasize: Hello Zaheera and thank you for taking the time to sit down with us. How did you get your started within the fashion industry? How would you describe your fashion sense?
Zaheera Mohammed: It is safe to say I’m a girly girl, even through childhood I’ve always loved playing dress up. My introduction to fashion started while exploring my grandmother’s and mother’s closets and truly admiring the details and all the effort that went into each piece. As you would imagine my grandmother was a seamstress and she designed and sewed amazing clothing for us. This molded my passion for creativity and storytelling through style.
I discovered my fashion sense in my early 20’s, by then I knew how to make choices on what I liked and what worked or didn’t work for me. Fashion, in essence, is the art of transformation - it’s about expressing your identity, who you are and what you want others to see. I suppose for some, clothing is about practicality, comfort and utility - but for me fashion is far more. It has the capability to bring people together with different personalities to appreciate individuality. I love fashion and grew the ability to spot and venture into different avenues which helped me discover my own personal style. For me, I represent modest fashion.
I would describe my fashion sense as Modest/Chic. In recent years the modesty movement in fashion was embraced when diversity in cultures and religions started to express themselves on social media with their input and version to the fashion world. When bloggers like myself were able to be categorized as “modest fashionistas” on this forum. We began being noticed for our headscarf in a unique way which was liberating and quite motivating.
IS: You often post photos of you in Hijab which we understand is tied back to your religious background, could you tell us a little more about that and how it has shaped your social media presence?
ZM: Hijab is part of my religious belief and it's an act of modesty which we can all relate to in most religions and cultures. In many religions women cover their hair as part of modesty and respect.
In previous years, being a hijabi ‘a woman who covers one’s hair’ may have been considered a minority, but that is what this platform has proven wrong. Here we are all equal. It’s beautiful to see so many hijabi sisters and non hijabi sisters connect and observe so much similarities within one another, enhancing communication pathways between people regardless of location or religion.
Social media develops a part of self-expression without fear - you can express through your own eyes and channel how you would like to perceived. I treat social media as an outlet to uplift and support one another. It has positively helped me voice my opinions, spread awareness and connect to individuals throughout the world.
IS: Has being outspoken about your faith on social media been an issue or has the Instagram platform been accepting?
ZM: It has been challenging at times, unfortunately not everyone will appreciate your way of life or beliefs. Humans by nature once they don’t understand may react with criticism. However I’m optimistic, I did a q/a series on my instagram stories and that small trial gave me the confidence to share my thoughts and allowed me an opportunity to answer any questions of my choice.
I truly believe most of the misconceptions are due to lack of knowledge and information about our world, it’s people and cultures. This is one of the many reasons why I commend Instagram. It’s platform has become a vital tool in bridging the gap between various groups of people - by educating us on acceptance and building a connection through diversity. As a positive result people are more open minded and less judgmental. That’s the beautiful thing, you can be different and be positively accepted. Respect is the only force capable of transforming criticism into appreciation. So in life, we need different - as I always say, “in a sky full of shades of blue, be a rainbow 🌈”.
IS: How do you feel about the term “influencer”, do you consider yourself an influencer? If not, what is the best way to describe your work online?
ZM: This term took some getting used to, I believe there is great responsibility with the word “influencer”. I try to stay true and appreciate how I arrived at this destination. I’m very grateful to keep my integrity in tack and combine the things I enjoy such as creativity, content development, and reviews for brands that resonate with my lifestyle while engaging to an audience through my posts.
To be honest, I have particular focus on ensuring the content I create is authentic to what I am knowledgeable and passionate about. I tend to only influence on fashion, motherhood and marriage. I try to steer clear of all other political stuff because it’s very easy to be targeted as an influencer if you voice an opinion that everyone might not share.
I consider myself fortunate to be an influencer to my followers as a mom, wife, homemaker, blogger, entrepreneur of branding my name to advertise, review and model products. I can say that a lot of my followers have found me relatable and it made every experience and message shared worth while.
I do get criticism at times, mainly for the way I dress from my own cultural backgrounds. At the beginning it was hard to grasp the impact but as I managed and grew, it only made me stronger. In addition it gave me motivation to discover who I am, what I want, and what I need to do to achieve it. As I reflect, “always be true to yourself, your values, and your word”.
IS: What is your favorite aspect about social media? What is the worst?
ZM: Social media has become an integral part of society and a great tool when used positively and mindfully. My favourite aspect about social media is building relationships, connecting with people and learning about different cultures and religions around the world. It helps educate and encourages those to seek to do better for both your community and/or a fellow person. It’s quite remarkable to learn so much from one post, it can truly change your perspective and outlook on life.
Unfortunately there is a flip side, I believe the worst part of social media is the attack on religious views from your own people and from those outside the faith. I’ve personally experienced a small portion of ignorance on the platform and it is truly disappointing that we, as humans, have become so desensitized. People don’t realize the power of words and how those are used to hurt a real person behind the screen.
The most uplifting factor is the majority of good people in the world with understanding, thoughtfulness and tolerance, that are willing to accept and appreciate differences. If we clear our minds and hearts, we open the doorway for more understanding through interactions. Although I stand by my personal beliefs and ethics, I try to be open minded.This gave me the confidence to post content on my feed, to show there’s only one me in the world and it’s not the differences that divide but instead what unites us. I will continue to put my best foot forward to make a positive difference.
IS: We know you’re an avid Instasize user and we couldn’t be more happy about that! What is your favorite Instasize filter?
ZM: My favourite filter will have to be spark - it has an orange tone and works well with my photos. I’ve been searching for a colour scheme that helps maintain the aesthetic of my page. A theme that has good visual consistency to showcase my platform and reflects me. Instasize has helped me become so innovative. From composition to colour palette, it has given me the right tools to achieve what I wanted for my content. I’m super thrilled I came across this incredible app.
IS: What message do you want to convey to your Instagram followers?
ZM: I would love to tell my followers and those that have yet to follow me:
-  Don’t get consumed by likes and numbers, keep true to yourself, and be kind to the most undeserving because that simple act may make a huge difference.
-  Always set your goals higher than you think are possible because self doubt is the biggest obstacle that we all face. Never give up on your dreams even if you fall, are frowned upon or left behind, it’s ok to pick yourself up and move forward.
-  Whatever you have in mind on a consistent daily basis is what you will experience in life, therefore always strive to be positive and give it your best.
IS: What is a piece of advice you would give to someone looking to dive into women's fashion online?
ZM: Do your research, follow some bloggers and read blog posts about fashion and how to engage and pursue the industry. You can learn so much beforehand about success and failure stories from experts and even up and coming aspiring individuals. Basically, it’s a first hand preview on what to and what not to expect. It can be proven useful if this is an avenue you are passionate or even curious about exploring.
IS: Thank you so much Zaheera! We can’t wait to see the content you continue to post in the coming weeks/months/years! You have been such an inspiration to both us and the people who follow you and we’re very grateful to have you as an Instasize Creative.
Where to Find Zaheera on Social Media
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