NiqabCo…covering comes from the heart + niqab giveaway!

Bismillah ar Rahman ar Raheem

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Last December the friendly sister who runs Niqab.Co sent me a sample niqab plus another niqab for a giveaway! Due to the typical holiday mail hassles which makes all mail become truely *snail* mail and then being very busy with some things which made me unable to attend to my blog for quite a few months this review has been in the closet…until today!  alhamdullah.

Anyway, so in a nutshell. NiqabCo is a company started by a sister in Turkey who designs and sells niqabs. They are her OWN designs and she wears niqab. I was fortunate enough to be able to get an interview with her so I will be sharing that below! One thing I wanted to point out which some sisters called attention too was that unlike many companies that design/produce/sell niqabs its not a man or a non-niqabi who is running it…which is a very important point for a sister who wears niqab. Only a sister who really wears niqab will understand the differences with cuts/fits/fabrics and breathability…something which is lost on many niqab manufacturers.

Basically on to the review. Generally I like to wear whatever I am reviewing around for a bit to get a feel for the item. Overall I must say it was quite comfortable…for those who may be new to this blog. Although I am not currently a niqab wearer I do have a background of wearing it…both in Saudi and previously here in the USA, so I do have some idea of what it feels like to wear a niqab which makes you feel like you cant breath or have ones glasses fog up when in niqab OR not even be able to fit ones glasses through the niqab or have a headband niqab which wont even fit around your head OR have a cheapo niqab with velcro pop open on you! LOL…ohh, the stories I could share.

NiqabCo sent me a gorgeous dark burgundy one-layered niqab with the unique buckle closure design! Since their niqabs come in different sizes reflect the fact that not everyone has the same size head…I chose a size large because between the glasses and my cranium…lets just say, I am not one-size-fits-all! LOL
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(note, I did not take many personal pictures of me in the niqab because I get paranoid by the plethora of creepy niqab fetishists that stalk blogs to snag niqab pics to add to their online groups!)

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Laid out in the sun, on the grass. Its definitely a very dark burgundy which is more like a reddish-maroon than a true burgundy Its quite subtle and as you can see works lovely with all black!niqabco2

 

All of their niqabs come packaged up in their signature box…which is an ode to the boxes in countries like Turkey and the Gulf often scarves, shaylahs, abayaat and niqabs come boxed up in a companies signature container. This adds a VERY nice, upscale touch. On the front is “the feeling of covering comes from the heart” in many different languages which gives them a multi-national appeal! Although based in Turkey they are truely a worldwide company!niqabco-box1

An upclose of their buckle niqab from the back…this picture was taken from their website. The buckle is more narrow than the headband and has typical buckle hardware. Now, when I wore mine I found it a bit hard to buckle when it was already on my head…but what I ended up having to do was pre-buckle it and then carefully pop it on over my shaylah.  It stayed quite securely though and it wasnt too tight nor too loose. alhamdullah. I felt the belt holes were decently spaced out…ofcourse I got a size Large which reflects eye opening and most likely general head size too, so if you have a very small head/fact then you’d obviously size down accordingly!niqabco-belted1

Ofcourse NiqabCo has other niqab designs…the ever so popular tied niqabs, niqabs with nose strings, niqabs with velcro. etc. But I chose the buckle design because I thought it was the most original and unique out of all of them!

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Along with niqabs…NiqabCo also carries a small selection of other items such as square scarves, tote bags and gloves. There is the interest in expanding the range eventually but right now they are focusing on niqabs and in my opinion, is  great, because NiqabCo does niqabs really well!

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As my roundup…overall I found the niqab they sent me to be comfortable and yes its breathable while remaining opaque. Its only one layer over the face and I did not find it transparent in light and ofcourse most things made in Turkey tend to be of very good quality and this niqab was no different! The serging around all 3 sides of the niqab was tight and even, the stitching elsewhere was perfect…no stray threads…nothing!

aieBjLAGTNow, below is my interview with the sister who developed and runs NiqabCo…frankly…I found her answers very eye-opening and moving on so many levels, enshaAllah you will find what she has to say interesting!

1) Who is NIQAB co.?, how did the concept begin, where are they designed/made and what was the drive behind making such a company?

NIQAB co. Is our new brand which is specialized on niqab and who is aiming to be number one for each niqabi sister. Who is that person behind NIQAB co.? This is answer of your question about the beginining of the concept. I am Ilgin Amatullah, founder and CEO of NIQAB co. I am 27 years old, Turkish, born and raised up in Turkey, studied business administration, I am into beautiful arts, designing and this story of NIQAB co. dates back to one year and half ago. If we go further, then all of this started with my guidance alhamdulillah which is 3 years ago and half

After I started to wear hijab, a deep love of niqab has been put into my heart. But already I had some difficulties in the family when I decided to wear hijab. So I was not even dreaming myself wearing niqab. Even offering it, was impossible for me. In this period, I refused some works due to my belief, and I was not working, I was at home. My auntie went to Jordan in this period and I asked her to bring a niqab for me from there. She brought one, and I started wear it sometimes in outside secretly. But subhanAllah, it was a very expensive one and it was hurting my eyes so much! I remember me crying one time due to eye windows. So now I am thanking to Allah to have such a bad niqab! :) I was always amazed by what an expensive and bad niqab it was!

Then I started to sew some niqab for myself with different designs, and they were lovely. But even in that time, I didn’t have a grain of having a niqab company in my head. Days were passing so, I was reading at home and having my personal interests, since I am into designing and drawing since my childhood, in order to be benefical and to do somethings for Islam, I decided to start a blog called Niqab Diaries. Niqab Diaries, was a project that I was drawing one page of drawing per day about niqab. These were my feelings and thoughts about niqab. It was maybe one or two weeks after I started, I drew a drawing, and after having drew it, i just seated back, and looked it and I said, “Wow what a beautiful logo it would be for a niqab company!”
here’s that drawing, and I kept this idea in somewhere in my head. Then Niqab Diaries went popular and I was happy with the reactions, but then by the warning of some people I realised that , drawing of animated creatures is not permitted in Islam, so I repented and drew back my drawings. In that time, I started a company named Ukties Textile, which was aiming to serve to the my ukties all around the world :) I was imagining to design cool clothes which are proper with Islamic code. But then I thought that would cost to much for the beginning and it would be better start with something little, and it that moment Allah lit that light in my head, it was brilliant there: NIQAB COMPANY! This made me so happy in the idea, because I could be able to wear niqab if I start such company, so that family would be more into all this stuff, since there are no niqabi around me. I showed all niqabi profiles to my dad due to I met during Niqab Diaries, and explained my idea of setting up a niqab company, and they supported me alhamdulillah. So NIQAB co. Has just started last year in December 2012. Which makes one year ago.

Where are they designed, Well I designed them in our office, and this bad niqab from Jordan helped me a lot! :) I saw that in which points it was missing and in which points I may ameliorate the niqabs. Since most of the niqabs are from the same producers, they are missing this design touch! So in order to make niqabs the most comfortable, i gave a slight bevel to eye windows which will prevent eye’s hurting and and also it’s so slight that covering is in the maximum. Also I added my own design which is Belt NIQAB. I searched different sewers and they made samples for me, since niqab is not very known in Turkey, I was not happy with results, but then Allah made it possible for me to meet great sewers and they spent so big effort in order to make niqabs in the best way that they can. And now, mashaAllah, la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah, the best niqabs i have ever seen belongs to NIQAB co.

What was the drive behind making such a company? Well, The first drive is my guidance alhamdulillah and second one is, the fact that such a beautiful thing like niqab, which is a sign of obedience and purity is being displayed something like a bad, useless and cheap clothing in shopping sites. It’s displayed perfunctorily even in islamic sites which sell niqabs. So I wanted to display niqab as something we really love from the heart, which is elegant, which is lovely for us, and which really comes from heart. And Alhamdulillah Allah made it possible.

2)Who is the target audience? Is the target sisters around the world or in Turkey? How has the reception been for NiqabCo both worldwide and in Turkey!

Target audience is any sister from any country who is wearing niqab, or loving niqab! When I started what I wanted to is making great niqabs possible to reach from everywhere from the world. I mean, if you don’t have an islamic entourage or if you don’t live in an Islamic country, then it must be so hard for you to find a niqab. And this is a clothing which will be with you during all the time when you are at outside. So i wanted that each sister who wants a niqab can reach it from anywhere she is. For this, even if our niqabs are high quality, I tried to hold the prices very modest so any sister who wants a niqab can obtain it biznillah. I included all shipping costs in to products, so the final price is the products price. This must be a new reason to be happy for niqabi sisters and and for the sisters who love niqabs!

How has the reception been for NIQAB co. both worldwide and in Turkey! Well, we are very new, I mean just three weeks or more, and now NIQAB co. Needs to be discovered by sisters. The sisters who has discovered it up to now just fell in love in the moment they see the quality and the fabrics. So Alhamdulillah this makes me happy. Sisters around me just love NIQAB co. And prays that NIQAB co. Goes bigger and spreaded
Maybe some sisters might think that since niqab is not very common in Turkey, a niqab brand from Turkey might sound out of ordinary , but in a comparison, I see the care factor more important than the country factor. A mass producer in Egypt which are mostly males or in another country might not show the same care that we showed to our products.

3) What type of fabric is used? Where is the fabric obtained from? What are your main considerations when choosing the fabric.

There are three different main fabric we preferred in our products. These are high quality, soft, breathable and flowing fabrics, which are soft crepe, multi chiffon and Arabian beauty. Allah helped me in finding the best fabrics. The father of an old friend of mine of my days of ignorance was an former fabric seller. So he brought us to the all fabric sellers in Istanbul and we have choosen the best ones alhamdulillah though it was hard to choose the best ones. I remember me saying to my mom while we were on the way to fabric sellers, I was so tired and like “Mom let’s run away, we didn’t start this yet, we have still time to run away and leave off!” lol and she was like “Come on ilgin!”
What are your main considerations when choosing the fabric. Well Niqab is with you during whole day, and firstly it needs to be soft and breathable. This is number One. And Number two is it needs to not to show your face and cover you properly. Fabrics slightly showing faces can be very irritating, so in that I was taking all fabrics to my face in the sunlight and in the dark, and I was just trying to figure out which fabric was the best.
For the best quality also, you have to make sacrifices, so we decided to buy the best fabrics. These fabrics come to Turkey mostly from Indonesia.
Soft crepe fabric is used in our one layered niqabs. Our black collection is made of combination of soft crepe and Arabian beauty fabric. Multi chiffon is for more light colors, it’s also very soft and breathable and high quality. Arabian Beauty is mostly used for black collection’s second and third layers.
Also we use some other materials, like leather and jeans, and canvas, these are mostly durable fabrics to tie with belt.
I also want that fabric be flowing so that it may have a beautiful look.

4) Are the designers/owners of NIQAB co. niqabis? Where are you guys from originally? Turkish or somewhere else but living in Turkey? I know in Turkey there are many Turks who are anti Islam and anti-covering…how have people reacted to wearing Niqab in Turkey and to NiqabCo?

Designer and the owner is the same person, so I will reply your question as yes Though I am a new niqabi, wearing niqab was my main aim, and Alhamdulillah Allah made it possible too.
All the people behind the NIQAB co. are Turkish, and living in Turkey. You are right in what you said. Sadly Turkey has been converted into secular country in the last century. And they just brainwashed people with nonsense fears and what I am seeing is, they stole the happiness of these people. But they seem happy with the result, because they have never tasted the true happiness. So Yes we can have some negative reactions besides to good reactions. Alhamdulillah Allah is our Protector, and He gives us strength and happiness. I remember my first day with niqab, in these times I was wearing it in secret, and I prayed to Allah “O Allah, whatever happiness you wished to a female slave of Yours with this covering, grant it to me, so I may taste” And SubhanAllah, with hijab, I was somehow shy but that day that I wore niqab was one the the happiest days of my life! Alhamdulillah, So they may think that niqab is not something cool in their standarts, but in our standarts it is! And For me, wearing niqab is something really up, not in the sense of arrogance and pride, We seek refuge from Allah to such thing, and may Allah make all the hijabi and niqabi sisters steadfast including me, it’s a plus in your hand, like very sweet plus, which gives you pleasure and which frees you. It’s a command of Allah and Alhamdulillah we are happy with it. Allah is the Most Merciful and the Most Wise and He says:
And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say [words of] peace, 25:63
This verse helps me so much and makes me very happy. May Allah make us of those that He addresses in this verse, Ameen.
For NIQAB co. In Turkey, Since the number of niqabis are less in Turkey, sometimes people may look at this brand very vaguely. But as we said, we ask Allah to make NIQAB co. spread in the worldwide, because this is our aim inshaAllah, with the khayr.

5) What are the popular Niqab styles in Turkey?

If we say “niqab” then this something else different, and if we say veiling styles this is something also different. When we say niqab in Turkey, it’s a specific clothing which we we are selling now. And the most popular is the Tie Up Niqabs. These are the ones mostly imported from Egypt.
But covering style is different. Turkey has a specific veiling style, these can be similar to those french jilbabs, and it is called “carsaf” in Turkish, which means “veil”
This consists of two pieces, mostly in black, and you can cover your face with the upper piece if you want. This is the most common veiling style in Turkey.

Mostly I am receiving questions like, If we ever think to produce of these carsafs too, but these can be found in anywhere in Turkey varying in the qualities, but niqab with care and quality is hard to find, so this is one of the reasons that we don’t produce carsaf yet.
If we can find a different design in carsaf which will be more useful and beneficial, then why not?

6) what are the future plans for NIQAB co.? More designs? broadening the reach to consumers or expanding the range to include other items like jilbaabs?

Our plans for NIQAB co. are Making it spread to worldwide and being the number one choice for a niqabi sister. I have many niqab designs in my head for the next production process, which are mostly comfortable and unique things, but to be able to pass to this process, first we need the support of the sisters in this selling process !
Anything new in the Niqab this might be the one of the questions that you may ask? Well I try to keep the niqabs modest since we muslimas are modest, and I believe that a niqab without adornments is the key to to modesty. But I believe also, we can improve niqabs with more useful and beneficial designs and this gives us the best use.

Expanding the range to include other items like jilbabs… Jilbabs were our first project actually as I said above, but for all this to happen, we need some courage, and this courage can be NIQAB co.’s success and our sisters’ support to us. My dream is making useful, comfortable, modest and lovely jilbab designs for my sisters, and I ask their sincere duas, and supports in this way.
Finally I Thank Allah for making all these possible for me, and to my family to support me in this way and to my sisters who surrounded me with their love and efforts. May Allah be pleased with them. And I thank you for being a voice for us.
Alhamdulillahirrabillalamin.

 

Now…onto the best part!

giveaway

NiqabCo had graciously sent a 2nd niqab for one lucky sister to win!

This delightful niqab is dark navy, one layer and traditional tie-backs. Simple, elegant and comfortable! mashAllah

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*Entry Rules  ~ Important; not providing the necessary information as given below with mean you will not be entered into the giveaway!

This contest ends July 27th at midnight (EST)

Send an email to “oldschoolhejabi@gmail.com” and include

1) Your name
2) Your location
3) Your preferred contact email
4) Share a little about whether you wear niqab, when you started or whether you are interested in starting to wear niqab and your favorite niqab design/style is!

I will let the winner know via email and publicly announce the drawing on Sunday, July 27th a little after midnight!
Best of luck sisters!

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Some new garments from EastEssence

Bismillah ar Rahman ar Raheem

Sooooo…I’ve blogged about EastEssence occasionally in the past…
such as HERE back in 2009, HERE in 2012 and… HERE which is from last year.

Now. I did end up placing another order with them in February after much back and forth as previously anytime I ordered from them it was a toss up. Either what I got was kr@p or rather excellent. My previous order from Ramadan 2013 was for Workwear Abaya in their newer koshibo fabric and what made me think twice about EE was actually that abaya. Sure it ended up being *way* tooo huge-I had ordered up one size thinking it would fit better-instead I swam in it-hence I ended up re-homing it. But…after that I got to thinking that maybe, actually maybe EE had infact upped their quality and while inexpensive was not longer the cheapo junk it had previously been!  My order previous to that one was again the previous summer-summer 2012 which was the Nahal abaya (more like a jilbab really) and something else which is not longer available and waAllahi was soon as they touched water BOTH shrank both width and length so I ended up but a jilbab 2 sizes too small and about 5 inches too short! All that from *hand washing* and *air drying* them! I was like really!!

Anyway I figured since their return policy had since improved I’d try my luck with them again.  This time I got 3 garments and Im rather shocked to say I was 85% happy with them!

I got… The Plain Wast Drawstring Abaya, Basma drawstring abaya (no I’m NOT prego! I just like old fashioned cuts! thankyouverymuch) AND the Comfortable cotton jacket.

fleuronUnfortunately I wasn’t able to find the time to get snaps taken of the Plain waist drawstring abaya but in a nutshell…it comes exactly as shown. I got it in black in the hopes it would work as a cheapo, impromptu abaya and overall it came exactly as specified. It has a drawstring waist which hits around the waist and the drawstring is incredibly long…but the cut is actually very baggy so I found I could nip in the waist just a wee bit which added a nice look but did NOT accentuate the body *at all*. The neckline it actually surprisingly comfy although it is a bit narrow in the shoulders. As I went through the size chart I ended up choosing my *exact* desired abaya size, I didn’t size up for extra looseness as their stuff is already cut very baggy!

My only qualm with it is the length, I got 56inches as I felt it would hit at the top of my foot…but its actually 55 inches so a touch shorter and so I added 2 inches of black lace all around the hem so add some extra length, I also switched out the drawstring with a chiffon drawstring for a bit of drama. Overall…looks good. Indeed worth the 20bucks! Ohh and the thing is basically indestructible and the hem isn’t as wide as it looks in the picture, indeed its A-line. BUT if your thinking its an umbrella cut, its not. Also, not the fabric is koshibo…their koshibo has indeed improved! This fabric is pretty decent all year around but is a bit heavier than their light as air crepe so while its perfectly OK for summer, Id say its more a fall/winter/spring fabric and then Id pick something like below…for summer wear!

 

fleuronNow…the second garment is the Basma drawstring abaya.  Its labelled as a maternity garment BUT frankly easily works for us not preggo’d sisters as well! Once again, before the grapevine gets going…NO, No, NO! LOL.  anyway…I have this odd fascination with old school style garments and you cant get much more oldschool then a flounced hem and a empire waist!  This abaya is cut to be EXTREMELY baggy and flouncy and swishy from the underbust down. Hence it actually works WONDERFULLY for sisters who are bottom heavy!  Rumpy? check! Hippy? check!, Apple shaped…check…check…check!  This garment would be ideal for sisters who think most other garments dont glide over wide hips or ample rumps as nicely.

Its actually light *as air*…its 2 layers of their super thin polyester crepe…hence its double layered throughout with little buttons at the bust-line. I got my regular size and found it fit perfectly up top while being quite flouncy and peasent-dress-ish own below. *I love flounces!* This one I got in navy and it washes and dries without any problems. JUst my only thing with it is its again a wee bit shorter than I had though it would be. Ordered a 56inches length and its about 55 inches…so I rectify the slight shortness by wearing a skirt or wide legged jeans under it…as pictured.  Id say this one abaya gets my hands-down approval as perfect summer wear! Its sooo light. I wore it in winter a few times and would I had to do serious layering to be warm enough in it. Hence, this abaya is definitely a summer abaya!

 

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fleuronLast but not least is their  Comfortable cotton jacket  Its a very traditional Syrian/Jordanian style jilbab except with a MAD WIDE HEM! I’m talking full circle skirt style hem…like you can twirl in this baby! mashAllah. LOOOOOOOOL For the record id twirled in it…many times. ahem.   It really is pretty comfortable. Its 2 layers actually…cotton on the outside and then its entirely lined with their abaya crepe…like the same type of crepe as was used in the Basma abaya. Overall its a VERY lightweight jilbab considering the amount of fabric used and it being too layers. I wore it a lot over winter…as mentioned previously I got it in February and I wore it at least 1-2x a week up until a few weeks ago. Its definitely *not* a summer jilbab…its OK for summer…like okay-ish, do-able but not extremely comfortable and airy for summer heat and humidity. Unless your already used to jilbabs in summer or don’t mind thicker stuff for summer. This one is grey and Ive washed it like 3 times by machine (on cold) and air dried and then ironed it. Shockingly for being cotton it DID NOT SHRINK! The very first time I washed it I was thinking…uhh ohh! It’ll be a repeat of the Nahal jilbab where it shrank to being suitable for a 12 yr old girl. But, alhamdullah money not wasted…it was fine. Now, I ordered 56inches length and its actually a bit TOO long for my taste…I should have gotten it 54inches…the extreme width of the hem gives it a longer look…its also cut wider in the shoulders too…so I probably could have gone down 1 size.

My only real qualm is the way the front is. They should charge $5 more and add a few internal buttons or make it more double breasted as you can see, it looks a bit wonky when worn as there are just the visible buttons, nothing internal to keep the front smooth. Otherwise, for the price…I find it more than decent…its also wonderful over jeans and a teeshirt and it doesn’t cling to the body unlike some cotton garments due both because of the fall/wide hem and the lining…again a good choice for sisters with more curves. eejilbab2

 

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So anyway, yeah…I was surprised at how much I liked them and how well they’ve held with with weekly use and EE has become a lot more transparent, easier to deal with and reputable.

Along with these items I also got one of their chiffon shaylahs…unfortunately although quite wide and gorgeous is entirely toooo short in length for my taste so its hard to adequately cover the bust. As far as shipping went, I got everything about 3 weeks after I ordered as I got them 2 days after they left the factory in India.

 

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