Modest Fashion Manila has chosen for “CONNECTED 2021: Beyond Fashion” , Hijabmode TV’s Aviana Hermawan to host its series of interviews with the featured designers.

The event is Philippines’ first virtual modest fashion fest/show which is set on June 2021. It will be participated by modest fashion designers from the Philippines and other countries such as Nigeria, Indonesia, South Africa, Canada, USA, Malaysia, UK and Russia.

The designers are given a segment of exclusive interviews called “Connecting with Aviana“.

So, while she will help us get to know the designers, we will not let this pass by without getting to know her as well.

Here is an enlightening interview we have with her;

Please tell us a little background about you.

I was raised in Perth, Western Australia. I loved sports, such as karate.  I also have an Aussie-accent…

But, I’ve been in the fashion industry for a good amount of time, in an intensive and rigorous manner, which was at school and a lot of certifications.

Why did you choose to study in Australia?

I grew up in Western Australia, and I didn’t choose to study for my degree there, because I want to expand my global knowledge. I didn’t necessarily choose to study in Australia, as both of my parents chose Australia as my hometown and for me to grow up in.

So, I was raised in Perth, and I chose to study at Universitas Telkom as a foreign student. 

When did you learn fashion journalism?

I learned fashion journalism when I started to write essays about fashion in my business degree. 

At Islamic Fashion Institute, at Bandung where I am a foreign student, I have actually learnt a lot of things. In an Western perspective, I’ve learnt how to actually be strict on other things, but the new perspective I’ve noticed as a foreigner is that it’s okay to ‘relax.’ That notion makes me believe that ‘oh, there are many kinds of perspectives.’ That’s what led me to fashion journalism. 

At Perth, I love to express myself on stage, on the beauty of hijab fashion, at one of the consulates. It was a great experience and it taught me public-speaking. 

Also, growing up in a multicultural hometown made me experience a lot of different fashion styles in communities– especially Perth. That’s the point in time where I’ve learned that many Perthians have different perspectives on issues, and that’s how I’ve learned the skill to be factual when informing people. 

Who influenced you to like fashion?

I think no one has directly influenced me. However, Islam has inspired me to like fashion, because I love how it made women special.

I believe that Islam has taught me that women is in need of more style and fashion in order to dress modestly. I have been reading about the history of fashion, and the women, even in conservative Spain, have been using the headscarf, and I thought that it was lovely. I don’t think that many people are informed of how intensive the fashion industry is, hence I have observed the competition too, so that influenced me directly that fashion is important. 

To be honest, nothing really influenced me directly. There were no family influences that suggest that I should do fashion. But, one time I remembered my mother wearing the scarf so beautifully, but never asking her about it. 

Who is your fashion model figure? Or fashion influences?

My fashion model figure has to be Noor Tagouri. 

Noor Tagouri has been my inspiration since secondary high school, at my hometown in Perth. She is an Muslim-American public figure and I think you should check her out!

What is fashion journalism meant to you?

Good question, I think that fashion journalism is more of an intensive profession. 

Fashion journalism is more business-focused, and what I’ve learned, in reference to my business degree, is that the fashion industry is very influential and it has a huge impact on the global economy. Clothes are a need.

I would like to focus on boutiques more than the brands that use the ‘mass-production’ strategy. The reason is, I finally realised that we need more emphasis on cultural significance for fashion brands, and it is more focused on boutiques, so far. 

Another important point: fashion journalism is not really scholarly. We are not scholars. The difference between a scholar and a journalist is the amount of professionalism and consent to inform the community about certain issues. I think a scholar informs the community based on his/her perspective, but it doesn’t really have a ‘casual style’ to it, if you know what I mean. Journalists are theoretically your friend for any kind of information, and should be more approachable than scholars. Fashion journalism is more focused on news than sharing possibly irrelevant information. 

How did you start Hijab Mode Tv? What prompted you to start doing something like this? Where did the inspiration come from?

Hijab Mode TV is more of a service to fashion communities in Australia. My hometown at Perth is pretty populated with Muslim women and men, and I would love to do service to them in terms of informing the community about fashion and hijab fashion.

I started this because I believe that in the post-pandemic, people should be more informed about the fashion community. There is a fashion community, but it is not discussed enough in the daily age and in the digital world– in a more factual way per say. 

The inspiration comes from the news and also Instagram. Instagram has a lot of possibly non-factual information, and Hijab Mode intends to investigate facts, rather than opinions.

Lastly, I wanted to always be entrepreneurial in service of a community– and in a business manner. 

How do you see yourself as a fashion journalist 10 years from now?

I see myself as being part of the fashion community in an international sense, and consulting designers on their future, for their brand.

Well, to expand my answers, if you need: fashion journalists will become a more competitive career, because there is a lot of information. Many people are misinformed about the fashion industry, and I think that I would be a part of those journalists who want to inform the ‘right’ things about the fashion community. I would be more experienced because in terms of investigative journalism, it is more intensive and I would love to share maybe just one doco about what the fashion industry is.

Have you been designing clothes?

No, not recently. I would rather like to inform the audience about my perspective on fashion. I have a handful of experience of physically designing the illustrations, and it was very intensive and I don’t think that the industry is for everyone— because of how the course is very in-depth and a hassle to actually complete. 

I haven’t been designing clothes, because I have been observing the fashion market, of course it should be my main priority as a journalist.

If you can describe or name your personal style, what is it?

My personal style is probably between edgy and sporty. I don’t have much say in it because I choose a lot of my clothes based on instinct and desire. But, I would name my style ‘Aviana-like.’ 

I love to wear skirts, up to the knee length, I think that it is such a classic.

What is your motto in life?

“Always dress properly, even on your worst or lazy days.”

What is your definition of modesty?

Modesty is choosing what you want in life and in a conscious/intentional way. This applies to how you dress intentionally when you want to present yourself.

As a business student yourself, how do you see the future of modest fashion?

The future of modest fashion is definitely sustainability, because as you can see, we use more fabrics to cover ourselves, hence more hydrogen in the fabrics to prevent water wastage, etc. 

Fashion companies have to know more about fashion psychology. Why? That is because they would impress their stakeholders. It’s one of the theories that I am recently learning in my degree. 

In terms of marketing, I believe that the future of modest fashion should be based on the auction-pricing strategy. That is because it is crucial to modernise competition, when purchasing clothing. In the future, the population would get higher and the mortality rates might be lower, so I think that there is more competition.

There is a lot to talk about, in terms of human capitalism. It’s a very sensitive topic, for me even as a journalist. If I want to see modest fashion, as being diverse and ethically recruiting their applicants, it really should be more focused on small businesses that are registered in the company. Businesses who are not registered, don’t have a say in the fashion industry, in terms of human resources, and I believe that the future of modest fashion is more awareness for businesses to be registered. There should be more awareness of business registration, rather than– sorry have the social media account. It is an important notion for the future of human resources. 

On business law, since I am a foreign student in Universitas Telkom, I have to say it in a Republic of Indonesia context, because we were learning intensively about it. The business law in Republic Indonesia, I could quote from one of my lectures, and he said that there are no laws or in the language :’Undang Undangan’ that digital business is acceptable or are recognised in the R.I law. 

Hence, my country in Australia, the future of modest fashion should focus on the laws that are related to privacy issues and intellectual property: in the digital business context. That is what is needed right now. 

There are a lot of things that I wish to express in this question, but they are all thesis that are not supported yet. If you know what I mean.

What should modest fashion designers and brands do to get their brand global or international?

Connect with journalists that you trust. It is very important, because I think what makes a community strong is factual information by people who know how to communicate with a certain community. 

I always ask myself if the questions I ask benefits the international community, which is much more complex than what it actually is. I believe that all journalists attempt to inform their people very carefully, in terms of representation and factual story-telling. 

Hence, fashion journalists are the go-to. It’s not because it is my profession, but it’s because we have the business knowledge or the forecasting predictions to make your brand successful, Insha Allah. In reality the fashion journalists you trust are your business friends that would love to see your business grow. 

To be an international brand is not just about the market. However, communicating with professional media outlets is the key for your brand to be recognised, as a legal brand. International brands have faced lawsuits, and when your brand is not registered, it might be illegal in the business law context. Mode fashion designers should highly register their brand in government.

Modest fashion brands should also initiate conversations with fashion journalists about the issues in the fashion community. To show that you care about the fashion industry as much as your customers is the key, and it is essential. In business, many fashion brands are not aware of the corporate social responsibility, as the process of maintaining the brand image. Hence, fashion journalists are like a counselor to the designers.

Personally, I believe to be a successful brand, you don’t need to have an international audience, if you look into the profitable side. As long as the brand has a good income statement that at least has a net income of more than 60%, then it is all good. To be internationally recognised, even starting your brand, you may do a lot of self-marketing strategies or refer to news outlets that you trust. 

For the closing statement, I love the energy of fashion designers, collaborations are a key to your brand’s success. 

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