ISNA Fashion

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed by the ISNA bazaar this year. I always look forward to it, especially this year since ISNA hasn’t been in Chicago for a while, and I had a hard time finding what I wanted.

Mostly, I was searching for some basic black and brown hijabs to replace ones in my wardrobe that have gotten old and ratty from frequent use. I had a very hard time finding square hijabs, period, especially any in basic colors. I think square hijabs are out of style this year; I mostly saw rectangle ones and shawls.

I did manage to find some cute items, such as a lime green and brown-patterned scarf that goes well with a few items in my wardrobe. (Plus, I was able to buy halal gummy bears, which I was pretty excited about.)

I tried to find more patterns this year in colors that I wear often, since I’m not great at incorporating multi-colored scarves into my wardrobe.

As Mariam mentioned, some of the usual designers, such as Shukr, didn’t make it to the bazaar this year. Astrolabe, the book sellers that usually have center stage with one of the biggest booths, also wasn’t around this year. I think that made a big difference to the tone of the shopping.

However, I did manage to find some cute styles while walking around. I think that’s one of the best parts of ISNA: Being able to find other girls that you can take style cues from without having to modify them to be hijab-friendly.

I ran into sisters Yasemin and Aysun Kanar, who came to ISNA all the way from Miami. They know a thing or two about staying cool in their hijabs. Yasemin said she always looks for light hijab materials to wear in the Miami sun. She said her hijab style changes often as well.

“I do everything because it gets boring after a while,” she said.

I love the belted look and the way they’ve paired their hijabs with their outfits.

Deanna Ibrahim was manning the Hanna Collection booth, which was selling these pre-styled scarves.

Ibrahim said the style is imported from Indonesia and are on sale at
These would definitely be nice to try out at a wedding or on Eid, when you’re pairing hijabs with a fancier outfit.

Yasmeen, who came with her mom Tahani from Virginia, also caught my eye while I was shopping at the bazaar. Purple is one of my favorite colors, and I loved her style.

She describes it as “casual and comfortable, yet cute.”

Her mom joked that it takes her daughter 40 minutes just to get ready in the morning. I love the pins she’s added to her scarf to give it a little extra flair.

Of course, one of the major styles I saw at ISNA were maxi dresses. I wore my own on Sunday, since it’s comfortable and perfect for the heat. Plus, it’s easy to mix and match different scarves with the bright colors the dresses come in, and they’re great for walking when you pair them with a cute pair of flip flops.

I hope the less-than-stellar bazaar was just an anomaly this year; I look forward to ISNA every year because it’s a great place to buy hijab-friendly stuff all in one area.

Pop Culture Hijabi is a weekly column by Nadia Malik. Malik is a former newspaper reporter based in Chicago who’s now making her way as a freelancer. She spends entirely too much time watching TV and reading pop culture, fashion and TV blogs. She also occasionally consumes serious books and news. No, really. You can reach her at with “pop culture hijabi” in the subject line, follow her at or simply leave a comment below.

This article has 8 comments

  1. Sara Kadiri


  2. sheeraz

    you are very beautiful in hijab
    i love your pictures
    sheeraz ahmed

  3. afshi

    lol @ kelly.

    RIS has the same issues. It’s usually the same vedors every year and most of their products are the same. I’ve seen the exact same hijab from the same vendor 3 years in a row!!

    A friend of mine helped run the Shukr booth last year, and it was great! Had their own changing rooms made with room dividers and their stuff was really nice.

    I found this great vendor from Montreal and found the perfect long jean skirt 🙂 (

  4. Kelly

    Mariam, it was totally crazy. Next time I will be better prepared.

    As far as taking a break, dh would have to work the booth and who wants to buy a ladies swimsuit from a dude?! lol

  5. Mariam Sobh

    Kelly.. wow you really must have been working hardcore.. you should have taken a break 🙂
    Dara would love to see your stuff once you get it online.. I agree though that things are costly.

  6. Dara

    I was vending July 4th weekend in Miami at the Muslim Congress conference. I always bring my squares because I know no one else will. I did sell a lot of them, both plain and patterned. I could have sold more white if I had brought them with me. I had to ship everything via UPS from MN, so I didn’t want to ship everything I have in stock. Of course some ladies wanted things that I had back home but not with me. I have got to get a web site up so I can refer them to my web site. They were asking if I had a web site they could buy from. I started my store web site a year ago and don’t have it ready yet. I just have too much going on. And I need a local product photographer who doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Lack of good photographs is what’s holding me up mostly. People are dedicated to their fave hijab shape!

  7. Kelly

    I didn’t get to shop 🙁

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