From fashion tips and beauty tricks to dressing modestly as a married Muslim woman, 28-year-old Aqeelah Harron-Ally is a South African fashion blogger who has turned her passion into a full-time business.
What started in April 2010 as a simple fashion blog, Fashion Breed was a platform for the young fashion- and make-up enthusiast to document her interests, activities and travels. Witnessing everything from her graduation to her marriage as well as her achievements, the blog held up a mirror to her life.
Eight and a half years later, the blog and accompanying social media accounts have become a full-time business for Harron-Ally who routinely shares relevant and thought-provoking content with her audience totalling over 85 000 and counting. In 2016, Harron-Ally introduced her followers to her YouTube channel where she also uploads fashion and beauty tutorials.
Describing herself as fashion-forward and well-travelled, it was her very travels to over 30 cities around the globe that directed Harron-Ally to develop and nurture her faith as a Muslim woman.
And it is from those experiences that she developed the popular YouTube series titled Cover, Girl, which offers styling tips and advice for women of any faith wanting to dress modestly or conservatively yet still remain highly fashionable and on-trend.
“While I am not in hijab, I felt I wanted to cover my body more, and as someone who really loves fashion that was really hard at first. But now I love and embrace my style, and through this series I aim to help other women who are starting to cover up to feel the same way,” explains Harron-Ally.
“There isn’t nearly enough content online for the girls ‘in the middle’, so to speak, and I wanted to change that. Despite being so niche, it hasn’t held me back in any way and my followers equally consist of modest dressers and women with an unrestricted sense of style.”
Very much a believer that people should seize every opportunity given to them, Harron-Ally is not only a fashion guru and professional make-up artist, but also an entrepreneur.
“Never before has there been a better and more liberating time to be unapologetically exactly who you are”
Once again following her passion, together with her content creator-photographer husband, Abdul Malick, they have released their own custom-made Lightroom Presets called ‘Fashion Breed Filters’, which can be purchased on shopfashionbreed.com and installed into the free Lightroom app. The duo is also in the process of adding a collection of E-books to Shop Fashion Breed, offering guides to modest dressing as well as digital content creation.
Harron-Ally says of her business venture: “We’re asked every day how we edit our photographs, and this is a big part of that, so now our followers can create the same colour-graded look on their own image.”
With a Media, Film, Writing and Drama degree from the University of Cape Town under her proverbial belt, and after acquiring a make-up qualification from the Smudge Make-up Academy, Harron-Ally gained all the necessary tools of the trade to command her strong online following.
With a skills set that covers fashion, beauty and travel advice to lifestyle writing, editing photography and make-up, to TV and radio appearances, it’s no wonder that she’s become so popular with not only her followers, but brands alike who appreciate her ‘real girl’ perspective.
“It is often when we embrace our differences that we are at our best version of ourselves”
Harron-Ally has collaborated with brands such as Adidas, Cotton On, Country Road, Refinery, Clinique, KLM Airlines, Five Roses Tea, Sunglass Hut, Spitz, Rimmel London, Old Khaki, G-Star RAW, Canal Walk, Cavendish Square, Yardley, Revlon, Optrex, Bata and LUX – to name but a few. The fashionista was also handpicked in 2017 by world-famous modest fashion blogger Ascia Al Faraj to feature alongside her in a three-part video campaign for the well-known Middle Eastern brand RIVA.
And if there’s one piece of advice that Harron-Ally would willingly share with anyone, it would be: “Never before has there been a better and more liberating time to be unapologetically exactly who you are. It is often when we embrace our differences that we are at our best version of ourselves. The world needs real people and real perspectives.”
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