Armed with the knowledge that Muslim women needed hijabs they could feel beautiful in and role models they could look up to, Melanie Elturk founded Haute Hijab in 2010 with her husband Ahmed Zedan. Eight years on, the brand has introduced the Ultimate Underscarf, which was carefully designed to smooth and contain your hair while providing a custom fit that feels weightless and secure. MOJEH.com spoke exclusively to Elturk to find out more about this vital part of the hijab wardrobe.
For those who don’t know, can you give us a little bit more insight into what an underscarf is?
An underscarf is a headpiece many Muslim women wear under their hijab to either contain their hair and/or ensure their hijab doesn’t slip off.
What was your inspiration behind creating a line of underscarves?
We’ve had customers asking us to provide underscarves to round out our offering since our inception in 2010, but I was never satisfied with the old design and didn’t feel comfortable providing a product that made me cringe at the thought of wearing it. Our creative director, Gizelle Begler, got to work nine months before they launched to not only elevate the existing design that was desperate for innovation, but to incorporate new tech fabrics. It was such an important task because this is a piece many women wear and the existing design was at the root of some serious issues such as tension headaches, ear pain and even hair loss. Our goal was to alleviate these issues and create something that not only avoided any harmful effects, but actively cared for the wearer as well.
What makes the Ultimate Underscarf different?
Traditional underscarves are essentially a long headband and look like this. As you can see, it’s just a few dollars with no real design element. There’s a hole in the back so your hair is still exposed (if you’re wearing a sheer hijab, it looks terrible in the back) and it’s not adjustable in any way. Not only did we close up the back and add a beautiful pleated design element, we made ours adjustable with back straps and an elastic band for a custom-fit. It also distributes volume to perfection at the back of your head where you hair lays with our ruched-back design. In addition to the update in design, we also innovated the fabric by incorporating tech fabric made exclusively for us by Pyratex. This specialty bamboo fabric is breathable, has anti-bacterial properties, is UPF 50 and is temperature regulated, making it perfect for women who live in hot temperatures like Dubai.
Why do you think they have become so popular?
Our customers appreciate our innovation and attention to detail. At Haute Hijab we’re so much more than just providing products to sell, we look at this customer holistically and aim to improve her overall well-being. The reason I started this brand was to elevate the hijab-wearing experience and allow Muslim women to focus on living out her true purpose in life while relying on us to take care of all things hijab.
What are your top tips and tricks for wearing an underscarf?
They’re very easy to use and wear. You can wear them with your hair in a bun, ponytail or hanging free. It’s really up to the end-user and how she prefers to wear them, whether she likes a lot of the underscarf to show, or none at all. We recommend they are stored in a clean, dry place when not in use and to maximise longevity we recommend they be hand-washed.