Rana Ellithi, a 21-year-old Egyptian-British female, is among the latest fashion influencers who joined Instagram and attracted hundreds of followers in few weeks after setting up her account.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Rana said that after graduating from SOAS with a BA in Business Administration, she worked in management consulting in Britain.
"But I had a different dream, perhaps to send a message to the world as a young and veiled Eastern woman who grew up in the West. I love fashion, and I have my own style, which combines casual fashion with elegance. It falls in line with conservative standards, which I see as an opportunity for self-expression."
"A few weeks after launching the account, I received a lot of support and many encouraging messages from followers, and I got the award for the best account of 2020 by Emma," she added.
An Eastern Muslim girl's experience growing up in a western society is very rich, especially when one is a member of a family that is well aware of the contradictions and how to deal with them. On her experience of growing up in London, Rana said: "I was fully supported by my family on all the decisions I have made throughout my life. I had the freedom to do everything I enjoy. I am a lucky girl with a family that respected my interests," Rana noted.
"I am dumbfounded by claims that veil negates elegance and vice versa. My friends at university used to laud the harmony of my outfits as I matched my veil with the casual outfits that I tend to prefer."
Social acceptance is the foundation, and as for labeling veiled women as not elegant, is unjust, Rana stressed.
"There is no absolutely no contradiction between the veil and elegance".
Being an influencer, the way Rana sees it, depends on the followers' trust.
"I feel that I have a responsibility, as a fashion influencer, I have to present something new. My main goal isn't to garner fame, but to demonstrate the importance of independent self-expression to Arab and Eastern women, because every woman can easily express her internal and external beauty."