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Muslim designer showcases strapless gowns to combat fashion racism
Having faced prejudice in the fashion industry for years simply because she wears a hijab, Sydney-based Muslim designer Frida Deguise has finally taken a stand against racism, Daily Mail reported.

While debuting her first ready-to-wear evening clothing line called ‘Roxcii’ on Tuesday, Deguise walked on to the catwalk wearing a T-shirt inscribed with the logo: “I’m a fashion threat, not a terror threat,” aimed at silencing her critics.

Designing strapless dresses to counter racism

In addition to the t-shirt to combat the prejudice she has had to deal with in her 12-year long career, Deguise’s new collection featured a number of strapless dresses and tube-tops, resembling more mainstream designs as she sought to combat another stereotype.

According to Deguise, owing to the discrimination she has faced for the clothes she wears and designs and that she intended to make a fashion statement to fellow designers and show that she “has a good eye for fashion.”

“I was sick of the pretentiousness within the fashion industry towards Muslim dress designers,” she told Daily Mail Australia.

“I put on that T-shirt because when people see me they always say “so do you make pretty scarves?”. Because I’m Muslim, they think all I do is Islamic wear.”

The 37-year-old mother of four was born in a Lebanese family and has been making and selling dresses in Australia since the past 12 years but feels discriminated just because she wears a hijab.

A chef by trade, she opened her Islamic clothing store in Sydney after winning $4,000 on a radio show.

“The new trend at that time was Islamic clothing stores so I came back (from US) and I opened one,” she said.

The shop went bust within a year after a massive flood but Deguise was determined to make her plan work and went back to school to learn about pattern making and draping.

After learning what the customer wanted and how exactly a dress was made, her business is thrived, and over the past 12 years, has turned her into a major designer with her dresses being sold in nine countries.

Her fashion sense has led her to design dresses for the Miss Universe contest for nearly six years.

But little did she know that the real ordeal was just beginning. While at the contest, she was once asked whether she was the caterer.

“Just because I’m a Muslim she taught I was a caterer,” Frida said.

“When I told her I did the dresses she said “What are you serious?”.

The Muslim designer admits that the fashion world is tough to crack and says she “feels attacked all the time” because she does not conform to the conventional image of a fashion designer.

“’I can be funky and edgy but I’m a mother-of-four and I’m overweight,” she said.

Updated: 3/20/2015  


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