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Going Behind the Scenes on the Design Process & Inspiration for Our New Deco Collection

Posted on Dec 11, 2019
Dilshad Ali


Ever find yourself wanting to try something new, something that will push you juuuuuuuust enough out of your comfort zone to make things feel fresh, elevated and fun? Something with a little bit of oomph and maybe some sparkle? Haute Hijab invites you to make the rules when it comes to your hijab game with the introduction of our latest hijabs – the Deco Collection! This collection was designed with you in mind, knowing that we needed something something sassy, elegant and embellished to help you elevate your hijab look.

Our design team has been working on this new collection for the past several months, putting together beautiful sets and embellished underscarves that you can playfully mix and match with your existing hijabs. I was as curious as you probably are when I first heard about the Deco Collection. So, I sat down with our Creative Director Gizelle Begler to get all the details about the inspiration and behind the scenes design process!

Gizelle Begler, Art deco

Gizelle trying on one of the Art Deco metallic underscarf prototypes in Dubai last spring.

What sparked the idea for this collection?

When designing any new collection, we like to base it around a great deal of social listening and really paying attention to what our customers are telling us. We also take a step back and look at our current products and examine where the holes are – what is missing? So when we did this back in the spring, we realized that we didn’t have any kind of fun, embellished pieces for our customers to play with between our classic hijabs and our Luxury or Heritage Silk Collections.

Where are those pieces you can throw on if you want to elevate your hijab game a little bit, or if you’re heading out the door to run errands and maybe pick up your kids from school and want to step it up a notch? We realized that we didn’t have anything quick and easy that could be thrown on to add some instant pizzazz to your outfit. So, this Deco Collection is all about mixing and matching, stepping outside of your comfort zone and having some fun!

We’ve designed a combination of sets – underscarves that you can pair with its accompanying hijab or underscarves that you can pair with any of your other existing hijabs. You can control how much of the underscarf you want to have peep out or if you want some sparkle to be seen under a more sheer hijab.

We invite you to explore, to mix and match, embrace the uncomfortable and have fun! With this collection YOU make the rules, and don’t be afraid to be unapologetically you!

This will be the first of a series of embellished collections that we will be releasing in 2020. And within this particular collection, we’ve featured few of our fabrics, like jersey and chiffon.

So you knew you wanted a hijab collection that landed between HH evergreen hijabs and our more high-end hijabs. What inspired you to make this collection all about Deco? What is Deco?

It’s inspired by the Art Deco era in New York City. Art Deco was a movement that sounded around the world, influencing the design of everything from fashion to architecture. But in this case, we are channeling New York City specifically. There’s a certain freedom to New York that we’re really trying to capture here. The architecture and ambiance of the Art Deco influence in this city is what we are going for aesthetically – gold and black streamlined buildings, shiny onyx marble creating bold contrasts against gold chevron motifs. The strong, brushed silver Chrysler building bringing some sparkle to the NYC skyline as it glitters in the rays of the sun!

How could one not draw inspiration from both the energy and beauty of this remarkable city! One of the most exciting things about New York City is how anonymous one can be here! This is a special place where people can really define who they are here, free from judgement! Everything here is yours to define and explore.

Art Deco mood board

Gizelle's design mood board for the Deco collection.

The collection itself – what does it offer?

There are two sets, offered in two different color ways, and three separate stand-alone metallic underscarves that you can match either with the pieces that are offered in the sets or existing hijabs that you have at home quite easily.

The first set is jersey, our best-selling fabric! Normally people associate jersey with being very casual. You don’t need pins with jersey – you can throw it on and walk out. So, in an effort to add a bit of shimmer to our most comfortable hijab, we embellished it with a metallic band and a matching metallic and jersey underscarf. This is a set that you can throw on and run out the door, and if you do nothing else with your look, you’re outfit is going to look very intentional, cool and stylish.

You could wear this with a crew neck sweatshirt and yoga pants, and still look very fresh and elevated. Or, you can dress this up with jeans or other clothes for work. The versatility of this set is one of the most exciting things about it. It’s offered in both ivory/silver and black/gold.

The second set is definitely intended to be more subtle and understated. It’s a chiffon hijab, another one of our best-selling fabrics, with satin bands on the end and a matching criss-cross underscarf where one of the bands is satin and the other is jersey. We offer the set in black and in pearl. The pearl is a beautiful neutral, which means it pairs nicely with nearly everything, and has this soft elegance to it that is very regal and sophisticated.

The three underscarves are sold individually, allowing you the freedom to pair them with anything you like! We are offering a solid gold and solid silver that are a criss-cross style, and then also a brushed platinum in our classic underscarf style with the ruched back. It is definitely a fun style, as it has a mink-colored undertone and these silver metallic splotches on it that are reminiscent of New York City at night – the flashing lights reflecting in puddles on the street as well as the lights that you see reflecting off buildings.

Emma Williams and Frankie Turiano

Our Video Editor Frankie Turiano shooting our Senior CX Associate Emma Williams in the Deco collection on the streets of New York!

One thing we want to remind our customers of is about the design of our criss-cross underscarf – it's like a two-in-one. You can wear it as a criss-cross style or as a rounded style depending on your preference! So again, lots of versatility.

The foundation of this collection are fabrics our customers know and love – our chiffon and jersey. We’ve just chosen to ornament them with other fabrics. Even the satin band on these hijabs is our satin. Only the metallics are new.

Tell me about the design process. How did you find the fabric that make the underscarves in this collection?

I had gone with Ahmed and Melanie to Dubai in the spring of 2019, and I thought, let me see if I can find anything special or unusual in the fabric market. At that point it was very early in the design process, and I didn’t have any particular inspiration in mind yet for this collection. I did know that we needed something different and fun, and where better to be inspired than the Middle East – their love for embellishment and sparkle seemed like a great starting point! But the irony of it all lies in finding a fabric that reminded me of New York while textile shopping in the heart of Dubai!

It all started when I stumbled upon a fabric that had this metallic grid pattern on it, and my mind instantly went to the geometric motifs found in Art Deco architecture – more specifically the steel panels on the roof of the Chrysler Building. The other thing that attracted me to this metallic fabric was how it seemed to be brushed or antiqued! It wasn’t obnoxiously loud, which to me felt very wearable and elegant.

The pattern reminded me of art deco – an aesthetic that Melanie loves in how she decorates her apartment or the shape of her wedding ring. It’s an aesthetic that I love very much too and is also just very on brand in general. The grid pattern on the fabric reminded me of the Chrysler building in New York. It also very much resembled the New York City grid system. When you look at New York City from a bird’s eye view, little boxes are formed as the streets cross the avenues – and this fabric looks remarkably like it!

Emma Williamsknew we had to immediately snag this limited fabric for the collection! I was willing to take the risk of using metallic fabrics, as this is a time for us to experiment and just see what our customers like! It is an opportunity for the customers to have their voices heard. The Deco Collection is a limited, exclusive collection we’re launching to close out 2019 with, and we’re eager to see how our community responds to it!

So, after agreeing upon a couple of exciting fabrics, we created prototypes in Dubai, using our existing underscarf patterns, which allowed for the design process to move pretty seamlessly. We brought the prototypes back with us to New York and tested them on different women, with different head sizes and hair volumes. We then moved on to selecting our colors, and once again we were trying to keep it within the Art Deco theme, using colors that were popular in that era, but also colors that are versatile and loved by our customers. Like pearl chiffon, for example, is definitely a best-selling color that also looks beautiful on a wide range of skin tones. Black and ivory are timeless and easy to pair with many outfits.

We want to make it easy for you to dress these up or down all while being able to mix and match them with what you already have in your closet. If you have an occasion coming up for which you need to step up your hijab game, this will be perfect for you Insha’Allah! Or, if you just want to wear these around on a regular day, you can do that as well!

So this collection is playtime for HH customers? :)

Absolutely! We want you to be able to step out of your comfort zone and play around with a little bit of sparkle and satin! As I mentioned earlier, when designing this collection I was really trying to think about what was missing from our current products and combine it with what our customers have been asking for. I was picturing a woman on the weekend wanting to run out for brunch and needing to get ready but without having to think too hard about it.

The goal was to blend comfort and fashion. How do we dress up your comfort clothes? Consider yoga pants that double as work slacks. How do we do that with a hijab? That’s where my head was for this collection. Let’s elevate that which makes us comfortable!

This is something that I want people to not think too heavily about. Black or pearl? Gold or silver? Decide and go! Things don’t always have to be complicated, you know? I hope this collection inspires you to experiment have some fun!