“Because others think it’s impossible, doesn’t mean it’s not possible for you. Because you cannot imagine the height of your dreams, does not mean it’s unattainable. We are limitless beings, our potentials overflowing.”
– Roshan Isaacs
STYLE AFRICA Founder/ Editor- in- Chief ; AFRICA MODEST FASHION COUNCIL Regional Director
Indeed, Roshan embodies every word she quotes. She is fearless, passionate, talented, motivating, full of energy, and she is unstoppable!
With her relentless and daring approach to attaining every success she enjoys today is a kind of story we all want to hear.
Roshan Isaacs is a modest fashion advocate who travels the world’s fashion events, curating for international fashion shows and films, spoke at international economic forums, featured in numerous magazines, appeared in many talk shows; being the Regional Director of Africa Modest Fashion Council, the creator and the Editor- in- Chief of Style Africa; the Managing Director of NoMemo accessories; former General Station Manager at e.tv (Pty) Ltd; the host of her self- run Podcast series called “On My Radar” which features her interviews with leading modest fashion figures from around the world.
“I’ve been involved in the Media and Communications Industry as a Broadcast Operations professional for 23years. Thereafter stepping into the giant Fashion Industry, marketing the South African culture and image through its original and diverse design and style identity”
But despite being at the pinnacle of success every woman dreamed to be at, Roshan is some of the rare humble heart we spoke to. She graced us with this interview even how busy she is.
Let us all get to know this very inspiring woman!
MFD: When did you discover your fondness for fashion?
I grew up in the fashion industry. My dad was a fashion designer, and so everything in fashion was second nature to me. As a young girl, I enjoyed creating clothes for my dolls. In my teens my sisters and I completed last minute finishing on garments which my dad designed us. During the early days of my career, I designed and sewed together my own outfits. It was a challenge finding clothes for a modest career woman, which again sparked my creative styling for my everyday modest wardrobe. This led to turban styling, and eventually promoting a fashion industry. My fondness for fashion has always been constant.
MFD: Please tell us about your career journey, as one of Africa’s leaders in fashion?
Although my career started in the media industry, I began accumulating the necessary skills due to my growing fascination with the African fashion and modest fashion industry. I studied Fashion and Personal Styling with the London School of Trends, and Makeup Artistry with the Institute of Makeup Artistry.
My career began in radio with multiple positions; presenter, producer, programmer, studio technician, and later I moved into television broadcasting and began to learn the intricacies of creating a television broadcast network, which over years excelled my knowledge and skill until I eventually took over as Station Manager of a national network in South Africa.
After almost 15years in television, I had a yearning to assist the design industry in reaching global shores. I then created the company Style Africa to promote, develop, and drive the identity of South Africa through fashion. It was during this time, I felt I wasn’t represented as a South African, or as a muslim woman. With Style Africa gaining popularity worldwide, I reached out to a network of people who influenced the business of fashion. This eventually lead to my role as South Africa Region Director in the Islamic Fashion Council and thereafter my move to the Council of Modest Fashion as the Africa Region Director.
I’ve been invited to adjudicate International Fashion Film Festivals, curate designers for global fashion weeks, join a panel of judges for the graduates of the Cape Town Fashion Design School, and represent South Africa at the World Islamic Economic Forum on the panel discussion on whether “Islamic Fashion can become Haute Couture.”
MFD: What do you do being the Editor- in- Chief for Style Africa? Please enlighten us about African fashion.
I curate editorial content that reflect many different cultural aspects of African fashion and design, with the aim of celebrating and showcasing the vast pool of talent within Africa from established, well-known designers, to up-and-coming young talents. I also look for opportunities to collaborate with creative that wish to produce content from an African perspective. Style Africa has a broad network of Creatives, thereby offering a full fashion production service for film, TV, commercial, editorial…etc.
MFD: And being a hijabi woman and Director of Modest Fashion Council Africa, where do you want to bring African fashion?
I want African fashion to claim it’s unique identity. History has inculcated strong influences from a non-African perspective. Due to this mix of cultural influence, it has allowed us to create designs that both reflect a new culture, a traditional culture, a religious culture, and an infusion of cultures. Formulating innovative designs and breathing a style identity unique to Africa.
MFD: And what are you expecting from modest fashion designers in Africa, specifically South Africa?
I’d like to see modest fashion designers take more risks, and create pieces which identify their unique capabilities. At times we play it safe, however there is a growing generation of designers who experiment with original ideas and incorporate sustainable goals in their designs. I also expect to see modest fashion designers become confident in trading globally.
MFD: Tell us about your business, the story behind NoMemo fashion accessories?
No Memo designs & manufactures notable & affordable fashion jewelry and corporate gifts, handmade in South Africa. All designs are locally manufactured, while simultaneously empowering less fortunate women in Cape Town, South Africa to generate an income.
MFD: We read your profile and we think you are an amazing woman who have accomplished a lot of things. Please tell us about studying Film/ Motion Picture, and how did it contribute to your expertise and knowledge.
My Film, Media and Communication studies allowed me to learn how we as individuals evolve through our environment, influences, internal insecurities, and experiences. When working in Fashion or Media it is an advantage to understand the visual story we tell through our dress and behaviour.
MFD: What are the challenges did you face throughout your career being a hijabi woman?
I never saw my hijab as a challenge. I saw it as an advantage. I was rejected for so many positions because I wore a hijab, but my sincerity in wearing hijab made me realize that my faith would open the right doors, and close the wrong ones.
MFD: We love your style- the turban and all, and we are curious as to how did you evolve with such style? How did your fashion style/ signature look evolve?
I grew up around the fashion industry, but started with full hijab while in my teens. In my 20s I experimented with different styles and began wearing a turban and later in my 30s this evolved to many stylish turban styles that I eventually was known as the Turban Queen. Eventually teaching others how to style their turban.
MFD: Please tell us about “On My Radar”
On My Radar is a multi media platform that inspires, motivates and shares stories of global entrepreneurs who inspire us to live a purpose driven life.
MFD: What kind of impact /legacy do you want to leave behind? How do you want Roshan Isaacs to be remembered most?
I’d like to be remembered as someone who was able to inspire and motivate others to value themselves, think positively, and live life to the utmost.
MFD: Our teens are following our footsteps, what can you advice to empower our youths?
There’s no limit to what you can achieve unless you limit yourself. No one has control over you, everything you do is for your benefit and Allah’s. So go forth and live your purpose and not someone else’s expectation of you.
Being South African fashion’s wonder woman who opened the gates of African fashion and especially its modest fashion to the world, Roshan Isaacs believe that, “Modesty signifies how I value my worth. It’s the way in which I guard my mind, body, and soul, and indicates to others how I wish to be represented and respected. Thereby benefiting and empowering my interaction with others.“
And for all people to reflect from, we close this article by sharing one of Roshan’s fashion philosophy;
If you value yourself, your clothes will reflect this.. Your character dresses you before you do.
Follow Roshan Isaacs on Instagram