Amelena Designs is a fairly new modest clothing shop that launched last year in New Jersey. These past few months we have had the opportunity to meet its owner and get to know her in addition to seeing her modest clothing pieces up close. The owner’s name is Amal Abuelhija and her pieces per our eye perspective are very much in sync with the modern modest trends. Meet her and read about her entrepreneurial inspiration.
Tell us a bit about the woman behind Amelena Designs.
Bismillahi Al-Rahman Al Raheem, I am from Palestine, moved to the U.S. in 1996. Raised in a conservative home by amazing parents, Alhamdulilah. My journey in the U.S. was not an easy one. Traveled a lot, changed schools, had the opportunity to meet different people, become acquainted with their cultures, languages & lifestyles. Finally settled in Ohio where I finished my studies. I always had interest in the arts, fashion & design. After I finished my science and medical studies I finally had the chance to turn to my artistic side! I took a year of art and design while I completed my sharia studies which I continue to pursue today. In short, I love science, research, education and art. Drawing, Arabic calligraphy & design are some of my hobbies.
What gave you the drive to take the entrepreneur leap?
As a Muslim conservative women living in a non-Muslim country, it has always been very hard to find stylish clothing to my taste that were conservative. Clothing that would represent me, my personality with-out compromising my modesty and belief system. Growing up, I had to always tailor my own clothes for my taste for many reasons, mainly for the length of the garment, pants and dresses. So I thought, why not create my own line of clothing? Why not give conservative women of all beliefs the opportunity to dress in the way she likes with-out over exposure of her body. So the Idea started, plans and organization of the entire project became real one step at a time. Until Amelena was Established.
What’s the name story behind your brand Amelena Designs?
Amelena is taken from two names, the name Amal and Lena. The name Amal in Arabic means great hopes and values. Lena means the essence of intricacy and beauty. Together they formed a unique profound name Amelena to give a beautiful meaning of significance, confidence and exquisiteness. I value my brand to its high ethic of work, beautiful creations, and a prosperous future by God’s will.
How does your faith play into your design and business roles?
My faith plays the largest role into my design and business. All my designs, are based on the belief system of the honor of a women. A women is of a high value to God, in all beliefs. Hence, we should never lower her value by overexposure. Every time I think of a design, I love to reflect who the women is, her value, her hard work, importance to society, her role as a strong leader to everyone around her. Her ability to do and be the best she is in every aspect of her life, utilizing her mind, talents and abilities empowering her.
Non-the less, first impression is extremely important in our society and the world we live in. Therefore, the dress code of a women; It is of importance to reflect all of the above giving her confidence and strength to pursue her life in our world today.
When it comes to the business aspect, I have been studying economics and business in Islam, the ways our beloved prophet pbuh conveyed his business and was very successful in it. There are many things to learn, establish and grow in. most importantly, it has to be done correctly and fairly.
What is one personal lesson you have learned since your launch of Amelena Designs?
The most important lesson I have learned I would say, would be to trust in Allah swt, trust that success comes with hard work and takes time. Do not rush into things with-out studying and checking every aspect of every project.
What advise would you give someone who is looking to launch their shop in the modest style clothing industry?
To plan careful, take their time, and have a very good trustful team for the project.
Describe the woman you design for.
The Amelena Design woman I design for, is the Strong women, who values her abilities and strengths, who goes after her dreams but most importantly, a women who reflects all of the above in her modesty and empowerment of her belief.
What’s next for Amelena Designs?
Amelena, has high hopes and dreams for her new line. Inshallah would love to incorporate the Working Women line in the near future, as well as bridal and formal wear inshallah.
Shop Amelena Designs at www.amelena.com
Interview by M. Sadeel Allam, style editor and owner of Sweet Modesty and multi-brand U.S. based MODSHOP who enjoys diversity in cultures, eateries, religions, styles and a good conversation over tea. “Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication” – Leonardo De Vinci