Saniyyah Bilal, Philadelphia native and founder of Curio Styling Consultants, has a strong vision in the fashion industry and an even stronger passion to create modesty and style for muslim women. She is killing the game with her scarf and khimar styles!
“You don’t have to sacrifice your modesty to have style,” she said in a phone interview Wednesday. “Some women believe that you can’t have style because you’re muslim,” she continued. “Trying to be modest while styling includes having many basic pieces in your wardrobe. You can include long sleeve shirts to wear under maxi-dress to add sleeves. You can buy tunics, long dresses, regular shirts and vests to “modest-fy” your outfit”
Saniyyah, who has worked with talents such as Mo’ne Davis, Amber Rose, Singer Keyshia Cole, Empire’s Bryshere Gray and others, admits that coming up in the industry takes hard work and sacrifice – she even faced others doubting her success in the fashion industry because she is a muslim woman. She has some advice for up-and coming fashionistas.
“It’s so much to learn in the industry, but from my experiences, one thing that is important is finding a niche,” said Saniyyah. She always knew she wanted to take up fashion in Philadelphia University, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Industry Management and an MBA in Apparel Business Studies Styling. However, she wasn’t sure what area of fashion she was interested in.
“I knew I didn’t want to be a fashion designer, so I studied different parts of the fashion industry, so I could figure out what I wanted to do,” she said.
She also suggested other ways to succeed in the industry.
“The market is over-saturated with photographers, artists, stylists and models. Making sure to differentiate yourself from others is important. This means being who you say you are, professionally, and knowing your stuff,” said Saniyyah. “Also, with finding a niche, you have to invest in yourself. Invest in your company. Invest in your website, whether it’s an editor for photos or whatever it is. You have to invest in your craft and perfect it so you can stand out against your competitors.”
According to the fashion stylist and model, pursuing a fashion career with a pure heart is essential.
“People only see the end result and don’t understand what it takes to get there. A lot of it is not fun. As long as you’re not doing it for the money or for the fame,” she suggests. “You have to love what you do and keep your intentions pure.”
Saniyyah started out working with a fashion designer. At the time, she didn’t know that the work she was doing was styling. A normal day for her would be putting an outfit together, accessorizing, picking out shoes for 10 to 12 models for photo shoots and video shoots. Her experience allowed her to build a portfolio made up of her own creative concept for designers, models, makeup artist, and hairstylists.
When asked what are her biggest fears, she responded, “not living a life of purpose and not leaving behind a positive legacy. It’s times when being a black muslim women, I have to be better than my competition. People may not want me to succeed based on how I look.”
Saniyyah reveals that her favorite fashionista is Neelam Hakeem. Some other awesome facts about Saniyyah is that she is a community activist based out of Los Angeles & Philadelphia. She served as the fashion styling teacher for the non-profit youth organization SCH CAPA and as Alimah Scout troop leader at her local Muslim Girl Scout Group.
The fashion model has studied fashion in China and has worked with and was mentored by Faatimah Gamble. Saniyyah’s hopes are to inspire and empower others through her craft.
“Dare to be unique, & own it! ” – Curio Styling
Instagram: @hijabimodel, @curiostyling