A journey of passion, art, and creativity began with the confidence to create a high-value brand, demonstrating that modesty is not inconsistent with fashion and style. EMMA is definitely “not just another brand!” It is a social change movement for modest women. It is a family, and a safe place where any woman can find support, trust, and pride! Simply put, it is a brand for pioneering modest women who did not succeed “despite” their hijab; But “because” of it!
Arabisk London hosts Ms. Hagar Ossama Abo El Nour, People and Culture Manager in the HR & PR department at EMMA in an exclusive interview!
By: Fatima Omrani
“Not just another brand” is your company’s profile opening statement, so what is EMMA?
From the very first day, we made the decision that we were not going to be just another brand in the market. Rather, we are going to lead a change movement to alter the conventional social perception of modest women. By doing this, we have created a community and a safe space where we can support one another as we spread the same message; a place where every girl is free to pursue her career, dreams and ambitions. We are thrilled to be part of her standing out in the greatest way possible as she pursues all her dreams, radiating confidence and fearlessness, and is simply proud of her hijab.
A journey of passion, art, and creativity that you have embarked on with confidence in order to create a high-value brand. How did this journey begin?
It all started when the founding partner’s daughter stated that she wanted to wear a hijab but was worried and afraid of the step due to society’s stereotyping of hijabs. The founding partner was proud of her daughter and wished to assist her by guiding her to places that would enable her to feel convenient and even more confident. Yet, to her surprise, she discovered that there were no places that supported the modern, stylish hijab! Hence, EMMA was founded to assist every girl and woman who wants to opt for the hijab, as well as hijabis who don’t find what represents them in the fashion world. This assistance doesn’t only include giving them access to products that can boost their confidence but also changing the distorted lens, and stereotypical image society sees through ladies with scarves atop their heads to finally show the true, bright picture in public.
“Dressing Modestly is not inconsistent with fashion and style,” how does EMMA support this principle?
Your decision to dress modestly is not meant to prevent you from achieving your goals. On the contrary, it is something that distinguishes and empowers you to stand out from those around you, allowing you to face life with greater confidence, realising that your value lies in your principles and achievements, not in your body.
Phonetically speaking, the name of the brand stems from the Arabic word “أَمَة”, meaning servant of Allah ﷻ. We believe that the hijab is an important and fine step that helps us to approach God, and our goal is to make that step simple by offering all the necessary items that will surround you with comfort and pride while wearing the hijab. Thus, each letter in our name stands for a part of our goal:
Elegant because we believe that modesty is treating your beauty with dignity and not an attempt at hiding it. We are always reminded that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Allah is beautiful, and He loves beauty.” As we choose modesty in our attire, speech and manners, we should aim for righteousness that would please God and exhibit ourselves as simple yet elegant.
M for Modern
Because we believe the modern woman needs clothing that keeps up with her ambitious pace and busy lifestyle. Clothes that are practical and chic, sophisticated yet simple enough to wear and feel good in it.
M for Modest
The smallest aspects that matter to you as a modest woman that others lose sight of, even though they are basic, must be checked since you are the centre of our attention, and we design solely for you and not for everyone! Here, we provide styles and materials that are personalised for you and your requirements, fusing modesty with style. No one had ever considered creating clothes for ladies who wear hijabs that are not just modest but also fashionable and practical. Because we pay attention to your feedback and are aware of the needs that are actually legitimate for you as customers, we strongly avoid tight, short, and transparent clothes as well as outdated or unpractical designs in all of our creations.
A for Attire
Your attire is an outward manifestation of your heart, mind and soul; a hijab is not only something you wear to cover your head or to dress your body modestly. The hijab is a lifestyle, a refined and respectful way of treating every aspect of your life with respect and dignity that befits who you are. We provide you with clothing so that you won’t have to layer a lot of different fabrics to finish your outfit, keep looking for decent clothing in vain, or even wear decent clothing that doesn’t suit your taste or express you but is the only option! Together, let’s work to improve this and always be proud of our modesty.
Breaking down the negative stereotype of a modest lady requires a great effort in Arab society, especially given how frequently this image appears in media, drama and cinema. What specifically are you, as a modest brand doing to break this image?
We host inspirational women who wear the hijab, who have influenced society on small or large scales, and women who have succeeded and excelled not “despite” their hijab but “because of it,” as part of our Inspirational Women Series campaign, which we believe has been successful in breaking stereotypes not only in the Arab world but globally. We discuss each woman’s experience and everything she has encountered along the way. This group is a steadfast and fundamental supporter of all of EMMA’s followers because it demonstrates to them that there is someone who excels, stands out and has an impact as they proudly and dignifiedly uphold their identity and hijab.
Our in House Marketing and Art Production Teams constantly strive to provide visual content that is of the highest calibre in terms of idea and design. This contributes in some manner to redefining the terms “hijab” and “modesty” in a contemporary and original way that appeals to all women and girls of all ages.
We also believe in the power of words and their impact on society, carefully selecting the type of talk and language we use with our large families in EMMA, as well as the way we talk about the hijab over the last seven years, where we have made a significant difference.
Well, since the inception of EMMA, a global brand, we have had clients from other nations. Every client is a member of our family who carries EMMA’s message and spreads it in the community around her. Spreading this message is not necessarily through speech but rather through the way they dress, how they treat others, and how generously they give to those in need. This creates a profound and expressive message about the veiled Muslim woman, regardless of her nationality or race.
So modest clothing plays a significant role in boosting self-confidence and does not prevent people from accomplishing their goals and fulfilling their aspirations. Do you think EMMA’s creations are reflected in the personalities of the women who own them?
The Inspiring Women Series seeks to highlight some accomplished modest women who did not succeed despite their hijab but because of it. We think that a woman’s decision about how to dress expresses her in some way. Hence, we attempt to concentrate on modern, fashion-friendly, unique and different designs that reflect various women’s characteristics. EMMA’s marketing team and content creators seek to focus on these details.
In a market as saturated as the Egyptian market, where it may be challenging for a brand to leave a lasting impression, how did EMMA establish its identity?
Before EMMA began, the Egyptian market was dominated by wholesalers who didn’t understand the needs of women when it came to hijab textiles, manufacturing standards, or fashionable, well-made designs. They did not view the hijab as an “identity” with psychological and emotional dimensions but rather as merely “merchandise”. This satisfied the modest woman’s consumer needs but ignored her psychological needs. EMMA was able to fill this void and bridge it for every modest woman. One of the main factors that propelled us to the top spot not only in Egypt but in many other nations around the world was our desire for elegance.
The importance of our customers’ purchase experiences has led us to create a team under the name “Customer Happiness” whose only job is making sure each lady is satisfied with the quality of the product, customer service, and shipping speed, and the experience as a whole is unparalleled.
After every purchase, the ladies join a special Facebook group called “EMMA Circle of Love”, where they get support from other women in our family, ask the other members for advice on how to dress each day and share their triumphs, failures, and even sorrows. Over time, relationships within the group develop to the point where once strangers become best friends—both virtually and in real life.
As we have the largest Facebook group of clients, not just fans of EMMA, we are pleased to have established the largest social media community. In the midst of a crowded market, all of these things and more are what consistently set EMMA apart.
Of course! We feel accountable for this influence, and we always try to make good use of it. This keeps us focused on our original message and encourages us to stick to our values, which may or may not correspond with prevailing fashion. It also remains consistent with our truth.
Tell us about your most sought-after designs? How do you perceive the demand for these products by ladies who don’t wear hijabs?
We choose sustainability over fast fashion, so thank God we have products that have been popular for the past 6 and 7 years, like White Marble, Earth stone, Persian Queen, … and others.
We do have unveiled clients, yet our main goal is still to empower and support veiled women and make them feel confident and proud because they are the category that lacks a brand to represent and care about them. Rarely do you find a piece that is specifically designed for modest women if you look in the stores.
What folk and social cultures and backgrounds do you draw on for inspiration while creating your various designs?
Our customer base is from all around the world, hence there are many diverse cultures and peoples that we draw inspiration from for our various designs and advertising campaigns so that every woman feels heard, seen and understood. This definitely contributes to the popularity of our products.
What has the brand EMMA accomplished locally and internationally to date? What do you hope to achieve in the future?
We are the leading online retailer in Egypt, and we plan to shortly start opening stores there as well as overseas.
One last thing for those with innovative ideas who want to launch their own projects and break down widespread stereotypes?
The first and most crucial step is to create something novel that defies expectations while also filling a need. Imitation won’t ever elevate you to the position of an industry leader. You need to paint a distinct picture of who you are—not one of hopelessness, but of resilience and determination. Simply put, a persistent pursuit is key to success.
They must be sufficiently passionate and have a clear vision and message since this will motivate them to set goals for themselves each day as they awaken. At EMMA, every employee’s personality is supported by a strong foundation of compassion, tolerance, and professional honesty. This enables us to adopt a viewpoint that is consistently significant.
Visit EMMA’s website:
We at Arabisk London wish you success and prosperity.