I love the latest collection by Baraka Women in Australia – it’s a beautiful label creating fashion for modesty lovers of all faiths. I especially love that modest fashion lovers can take the different pieces of the collection and use each piece as inspiration to style their outfits to suit their individual style.
Head designer Eisha Saleh created her label to showcase the things that inspire her – the love of modesty, the love of fabric, the love of creating in Australia and a love of sharing that with others. Baraka Women is centered around a boutique approach creating long, layerable, minimalist lines with a touch of drama for women who love a more modest style.
– Marryam x
Where are you located?
Our HQ is in Sydney but our store is fully online www.barakawomen.com
In one sentence, describe your motivation in life:
Do what pleases you and pleases Allah at the same time
Tell us the story of yourself and your collection, and how you got started in fashion:
I always loved textiles and fashion since I was about 7 or 8 years old. It started when my mother gave me her old clothes to play with. I thought they were so beautiful and the fabrics were unusual. In hindsight I realised they were all from Italian, French labels and things she had made herself from designer fabrics.
However I didn’t study it nor work in the industry. Instead I followed the business & management path and worked at the corporate banks for 15 years until I met my business partner whilst studying Islam at a Saturday school. We got on well and at the time there were very few modesty options available in Australia. It was 2008 and we decided we had to do it ourselves if we wanted to see change. So Baraka Women was born.
A lot has changed since then, we started with the basics and after my business partner left the label its evolution became very personal. This collection ‘Effervescence’ is completely who I am. I wanted it to reflect my journey to fashion and celebrate the women who influenced me. But it was also about a motto for the next phase in my life; about being strong, feminine and surprising myself.
Do you have a favourite piece from your collection?
Yes the Olsen Silk Kaftan. Anyone who knows me will know that is exactly something I could live in. And a key feature for me is how it feels on my skin. Silk is luxurious, and I love that feeling.
What has been the highlight or ‘I can’t believe this!’ moment so far on your journey in fashion design?
Actually it was my very first fashion shoot. It was very significant and I felt electric that day. No other modesty label had used a professional model, studios or photographer before so we were creating history really. It felt like it that day. Im proud that we were a stepping stone for the industry to professionalise their offering.
How does your faith affect your approach to your work?
It’s everything. It’s my starting point and if it doesn’t make sense to my faith then I don’t do it. I really wanted BW to show a beautiful modesty aesthetic and I try to show that in all the images we put out into the world.
We also take on projects that would allow us to showcase modesty in a positive light e.g the Powerhouse Museum Exhibition, Fashion Palette, Fernabulous Fashion Show and a whole lot of charity events!!
What/where/who inspires you?
My brain is very noisy I can tell you! Its anything or anyone. I have been inspired by buildings I have walked past or even something I have eaten.
Flowers especially catch my eye and then there’s Kit Willow. I’ve followed her fashion journey since day one and I love how she designs what means something to her, rather than what is commercially viable.
How do you handle the inevitable creative block / challenges in the creative process?
Time out is my only way. I do feel burnt out sometimes and like things are going too fast that they become a blur. I have to travel out somewhere close to nature.
It’s not necessarily exotic places – my favourite escape is the Blue Mountains in Sydney. They are awe-inspiring and immediately connect me to my Creator, give me perspective and a well earned breather. Somehow just stopping for a day or so just presses the reset button for me.
What 2 pieces of advice, based on your own experience, would you give to someone wanting to start out in fashion?
I would say work for someone else first. There are so many steps to a finished garment hanging ready for sale. They can teach you so much that your degree didn’t, there are so many areas for failing you need to prepare to avoid later.
It’s a good way to build connections and understand who is in the industry. Then start small. Do a few things extremely well before you take on the established fashion houses.
Perfect your own journey a step a time, its not a race.
If you could travel to one place anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?
South Korea, it seams so cute and elaborately decorated.
Where would you love to see your work and career in 5 years time?
I’m working towards making my own textiles and artwork, and creating something that is deeply personal.
I see my brand becoming more boutique and handcrafted. I am working on having small studios available worldwide where my customer can feel at home and experience BW as a total-senses experience.