by Sarah Schwarz
She’s an educator who owns an Institution, a business consultant, a businesswoman, a talk- show host and producer, a culinary expert, a designer, a modest fashion advocate, a blogger, a philanthropist, a motivational coach- for Fazeela, there is no limit for her passions in life. And her energy is almost omnipresent. But there is something else she is so passionate about and we love how she reminds us that there is nothing in this world comparable to a mother’s love.
Meet Fazeela Isaac, a South African fashion designer (and all of the above) who founded the modest fashion brand called Maseeha Projects which she named after her daughter Maseeha. Established in 2013, Fazeela began with the utmost love for Maseeha, and the thought of bringing her daughter as an empowered Muslim woman gave her the inspiration to create designs that will provide Muslim communities in South Africa identity in modest clothing and prepare a society of strong and proud Muslim women for her daughter to grow up with.
Maseeha Projects is not only a modest fashion brand. Over the years, it became a fashion hub for retailers and buyers, it became a Business Development and Growth consultancy representing the interests of both local & international designers & brands.
The vibrant colours and the zesty prints that the Maseeha brand utilizes speaks of the colourful culture and enduring spirit of the African people, especially owing to her tribe – the Makuwa, where she came from, and taking inspirations from other diverse ethnic groups all over Africa. She aims to bring a colourful African feel to the modest fashion trends.
She launched Modest Africa to help elevate and accelerate the status of modest fashion industry into the mainstream.
“Modest Africa initiative is a platform that I created to take modesty mainstream on the African continent. We don’t even have a modest fashion week or events even close to that for everyone to have access to, yet we are bursting with creativity and skills to contribute on a huge scale globally. So this platform is to bring attention to what we have to offer and to change the perception of the impact we can have on modesty and confidence in women and their dressing in Africa.
My vision for the Modest Africa initiative is to establish a collaborative collective of modest fashion industry stakeholders to grow the acknowledgement and standing of the industry on the African continent. I want the people of Africa to recognize the gold that we have in terms of modest fashion. For people to see the beauty and creative talent that African designers have to offer to the world. We transcend boundaries as Africans, we are resilient people, and the Modest Fashion industry can learn and gain a lot from us. So, we need to take our place in this ever- growing industry and join the ranks of the industry leaders.”
Recently, Fazeela took part in Dubai’s first- ever Pret- a -Cover Buyer’s lane working alongside Islamic Fashion and Design Council Chairperson Alia Khan.
Apart from fashion, she also owns a diner called Enaziva, which means delicious in Makhuwa tribal language.
“I simply love indulging in tantalizing meals, so I took this love for cooking good food and converted it into an eatery business. We specialize in freshly prepared halaal meals which cater for family style dinners as well as nutritional school lunch packs for kids. Our frozen foods selection is also a part of the Enaziva brand.”
Fazeela seems to have so much love not only reserved for her daughter but also her community.
“[I delve in] assisting unemployed youth to gain useful skills and knowledge to help them on their journey of finding work in their related fields or starting their own businesses by utilizing those skills. I double as a mentor to them and assist in getting their feet off the ground with their specific projects. So yes, that’s me in a nutshell Fashion, Food, Community Service & Education.”
Philanthropy is also the inspiration for her upcoming collection for MFM “Connected” Virtual Modest Fashion Show this June, where she will showcase new designs for Maseeha brand. But it will be a unique experience since a theme like this is rarely seen in any fashion shows.
As a modest fashion brand dedicated to her daughter, we couldn’t help but ask if she hopes Maseeha, her daughter, to take over and continue the legacy of Maseeha brand, she said;
“Being a mother, I always maintain that I want my child to create her own identity and pave her path with her own ideals. I continuously remind her that she has independence in her thinking and has free reign in deciding what she wants for her life and career goals, with my full support and guidance. She mentions a lot of the time that she wants to be a Teacher as well , but she might just change that as she grows older (she’s 12 years old now)
I doubt she will take up designing though, but the Maseeha Instyle brand is a legacy that I’m building for my kids. So, I would absolutely love for her to take over the reins someday and continue the movement Insha’Allah.”