Aquila Style’s Columnists Highlights 2012

Afia R Fitriati rounds up on our columnists’ writings this year.

This year marks the birth of this smashing new website.

I believe I can speak for all my fellow Aquila columnists that we all feel lucky to have the honor of coloring this site weekly with our reportings, commentaries, analyses and, sometimes, rambling musings.

Whether we are being cheeky or serious, we always try to write with one good purpose in mind: to connect and relate with you, the readers of Aquila Style. Because after all, we are part of you!

Just like you, we come from different parts of the world, and because of that, we have been able to bring you up to date with many interesting events from all corners of the globe this year.

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Big annual events like the Islamic Society of North America conventionLondon Fashion Week and Jakarta Fashion Week are definitely marked on our agenda, but we’ve also covered other smaller fashion events like Sisterhood in Indonesia, LACE II in Singapore and the Faith Fashion Fusion exhibition in Australia.

Most notably, we’ve been thrilled to see the proliferation of events that mix and match fashion with charitable goals, such as Fashion Fighting Famine and Veiled en Vogue in the US, as well as Smokey Not Smudgy in the UK. We hope that we can see even more events like these in the years to come. Which reminds me to inform you: If you happen to organize or know of an event in your area that you’d like us to cover, don’t hesitate to give us a nudge!

Like you, we also struggle with the various issues facing Muslim women today

Because we all come from different backgrounds, we like to share our personal stories in the hope of relating to one another better and better. For example, Maryam has shared about how much she loves her large family (by Singapore standards, anyways). Like Maryam, Dina also comes from a large family. Although she finds the chaos of her family nerve-wracking at times, especially when she fights with her twin sister, she has come to realize the importance of family, just as Yaz too has written. Furthermore, there’s much truth and good intention behind the advice of our parents wrote Amal. Being a parent myself, I should know.

Like you, we also struggle with the various issues facing Muslim women today. Sometimes the struggles are hijab-related, such as the questions and prejudices one receives when wearing the hijab. At other times, we are faced with body image issues, the dilemma of searching for a significant othergraduation blues or the challenge of charting the course of career dreams.

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While we may not always have the right answers to these problems, we’ve shared with you lessons we hope we can all learn from, such as practical how-tos on cutting on gossipbusting boredom and handling – as Amal put it – ‘the singledom censure vortex’.

We’ve also shared our observations on alcohol and the modern-day Muslimembracing reverts to Islam and taking a second look at first impressions. Because although some of us will continuously struggle with our phobias or bad habits, we can always learn a thing or two from the experiences and advice of others.

One thing that I think we can all agree on is that we all love looking good, don’t we? That is why we’ve been sharing some of our own experiences and tips to look – and feel – our best.

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Zinah, for example, has explored the art of layering and how to pair the hijab with jewelry. Dina has offered some creative ideas on how to widen our wardrobe choices and re-fashion our scarves. Yaz has also shared her own wardrobe and accessorizing tips, in addition to her natural beauty secrets. Meanwhile, Maryam lets us know how to look chic on lazy days and in the office, with or without fuss-free hijabs, in jeans or abayas.

So, whether we live in a First World or Third World country, are bicultural or trilingualhappily single or welcoming a babygoing for a taste of the flea market or visiting the masjid during Ramadhan, we can always figure out a way to look modest and fabulous.

Speaking of Ramadhan and Islamic festivals, while it is okay to dress up and have fun during these occasions, let us not forget the true meanings of these celebrations. For example, silaturrahim is the essence of Eid ul-Fitri and sacrifice in the spirit of halal is at the core of Eid ul-Adha rituals.

All in all, it has been a pleasure writing and sharing with you in 2012. We’ll see you soon in 2013 for more, insha’Allah!