Confident, humble and beautifully presented are words that come to mind with the definition of Elegance. They also come to mind when describing Maria Al-Sadek, the trailblazing Palestinian Puerto Rican Muslim creative, well-known for her vibrant interpretation of modesty. Her mission to empower young Muslim women is led by example, building a far-reaching digital presence that encourages modest dressing as stylish, intriguing, and cool.
We enlisted Maria to style our capsule collection created exclusively for Net-a-Porter, with modest dressers in mind. The collection brings creative director Wes Gordon’s love of color and print to relaxed silhouettes. Before celebrating Ramadan with her family and friends, Maria styled herself in two of her favorite looks from the collection and described her personal style approach for the holiday.
Describe how modesty influences your personal style choices.
My style is contemporary cool with a classic edge. The modesty I incorporate contributes to that classic element.
How do you dress differently during Ramadan?
During Ramadan, I always find myself gravitating towards more feminine and delicate silhouettes. I love caftans and oversized trousers.
How do you plan to celebrate this year? Are there special family traditions?
I’ll be in New York for the first half of Ramadan this year, so I will be missing my family a lot. But, I do love having iftar with good friends, which is the meal that breaks our fast in the evening, so I plan to do a lot of those in the city! A big part of Ramadan for my family is preparing and enjoying home-cooked meals, often times with traditional Palestinian and Puerto Rican dishes. I want to try to cook a bit more in New York this year and bring a little bit of that family tradition to my home here, though I am planning a visit to my family’s home in Alabama towards the end of the holy month to fully celebrate with my lovely sisters and family!
As for favorite Ramadan traditions, I love the evenings when my family and close friends from all different backgrounds come together for iftar dinner. We stay up all night socializing, praying and appreciating the time spent with loved ones. Sometimes we even stay up until suhoor, which is the pre-dawn meal just before the sun rises.
What is your favorite memory from the holy month?
I especially miss my Arab father waking me and my siblings up for suhoor with his tabla, a middle eastern drum, chanting “Ramadan Kareem” which means happy Ramadan in Arabic. We would always get a good laugh. It brings back a lot of fond Ramadane memories from childhood.
Can you share any special resolutions?
I always like to set a personal Ramadan resolution each year. This year I want to focus on clearing out any negative conversations in my mind, to focus more on understanding, thinking and speaking with love and kindness.
What is something you’d like to share about your style choices?
I’d like for others to understand that my style choices truly are my own. The level of modesty that I choose is entirely personal and is what makes me feel the most myself. I believe women should dress however makes them feel their best, whether that’s being covered head-to-toe or wearing next to nothing. It’s all about what makes you feel good and the way I dress makes me feel just that.
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