If you always wanted that “put together” elegant hijab styles that you see so many other girls sporting, but without all the drama of getting it “just right”? Then you are going to fall in love with this brand new line of hijabs! They are doing something unique, and inventive and we are excited to bring you this exclusive interview with Hala Absi, the hijabi who invented this brand new hijab style.
Hala Absi, is a 25 year old former software engineer in Lebanon, who turned her fashion finesse into a career by switching gears after one fateful conversation.
“I always dreamed of a fashion house for the muhajjaba. This was a dream I had since I was young, and I’ve had passion for sewing and designing since I was 15 probably. When I got veiled seven years ago, the places that were selling Islamic clothing, tunics and hijabs were very few and scattered and I couldn’t find any store that specialized in stylish clothing yet modest and conservative and can be worn by us.
I always dreamed of opening my own store that would one day become the next ZARA where all veiled girls around the world would visit to buy their outfits from head to toe. Two years ago, as we were discussing this idea, me and my family, we were brainstorming the need for all types of Islamic clothing: night wear, day wear, swim wear, sports wear, etc. We also thought we also need tutorials, a blog perhaps to show people how to match the outfits we have, how to wrap the veil as a lot of people do not know how to wrap their hijab in a stylish way. So then my dad (Mubde Absi the one who came up with the invention) was wondering why we don’t have a scarf that is prewrapped in that stylish way, and it was just a thought, when immediately, I went to my laptop and started researching the internet for any available products that would resemble this idea as simple as it seems as surprisingly we found nothing on the net even close!
We all know the Amira Hijab, yet most of us refuse wearing it on an outing as it probably seems too sporty, and untrendy. That’s when my family and I decided to make this idea come to life, and that’s how BOKITTA started taking form. BOKITTA today is a family-run business where different experiences and educations are coming together for the success of this brand. We decided to apply for a patent for this product. During this process I went to my sewing machine and started trying to wrap the scarf and stitch it to come up with a prewrapped scarf. After days of trial and error of different styles, and since I had no idea how to create a pattern, I thought maybe I should consult a fashion designer. But then I decided to study fashion design to know how to do it on my own and to be able to design my own collections.
While all this was happening, we researched how to apply for a patent and how to protect this idea. A lot of research was done by us, we traveled to an Islamic fair in Turkey to also have a closer look on the latest trends in Islamic wear.
After finishing my fashion design certificate, and after a lot of work, we finally got our samples ready to be produced massively.
Eight months after applying for the patent, we received an email from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) responding that our patent won all its claims and we are the original inventors of this ready to wear scarf.
We then headed to India and started producing our product and on May 2011 we opened our very first store in Beirut, Lebanon. We had a lot of success and in less than two months we opened our second store in Saida which is south of Lebanon. We currently have five other points of sale across Lebanon and we hope to open another two stores over the next few months and start going global through our online store that will be launched hopefully during Eid al-Fitr.”
What does Bokitta mean and where did you get the name for your company?
We came up with the name from the word: Bouquet: which in almost all languages has the same wording meaning arrangement, could be flowers, could be fruits, gifts.. and so we decided to have “Bouquet of colors” as our slogan. The “itta” is usually used in spanish words to give a feminine touch to words, so we came up with the name “BOKITTA” a new word to resemble the arrangement/ bouquet of all the colors and clothing for the veiled lady from head to toe. Our ready to wear invention is called “VOILA!” it comes from the french word, and also from the word voile, veil meaning veil, so its the ready veil.
Can you explain to us what this hijab style is and how exactly it will change the way Muslim women wear their hijab?
It is prewrapped, this means whoever is going to wear it does not need to go into the hassle of wrapping the scarf around her head, nor how to wrap the scarf. This scarf has its consistent look, it is wrapped and stitched and worn on the head like prayer clothes/ amira hijab yet it is stylish and gives the look of a wrapped scarf.
No need for pins, for ruining scarf fabric with pins, nor with hurting yourself with pins Its pin free!
No extra layers, all wrapping layers are eliminated to make our hijab light and breezy.
Stylish, as we research the latest trends and colors, we adopt the latest Pantone fashion colors of the season in our collection and the themes that match the high end designers. We are trend setter for the hijabi lady, yet we stay aligned with the latest trends worldwide.
All the customers that bought our new VOILA! no longer wear the normal traditional scarf. I think in a couple of years hopefully, VOILA! will be all what muslim women wear due to its easiness and practicality and variety in prints and colors and fabrics.
Is there room for head sizes? What I mean is that some hijabs like the Al-Ameerah are supposed to fit all people, but it can be tight on some and loose on others. Does your hijab accommodate those with different heads and even hair?
The Current Voila! is designed to fit all sizes as it has room for 10 cm expansion through an elastic under the chin. As per our research and our statistics that fits almost all heads equally. Our voila comes with a headband that allows the hair to breath under the ready to wear headscarf instead of tightening it with the normal bone (under scarf) that is found in the market. This headband also has elastic to fit all heads and will be wide enough to accommodate all heads.
Why did you decide to patent your product? How did you go about that process? We’re assuming this probably took a long time. Did you ever think about releasing the product first and then putting a patent?
Well since this product is easily imitated, we thought patenting this product would a least protect us from any public imitation for this product, and this would give exclusivity to our brand for this new invention above all other traditional scarf shops.The process required a lot of research and it required a lot of know how and legal involvement, yet in less than a year we got the patent and we also submitted it in the GCC states and Lebanon itself since it was not included in the WIPO agreement. We were already working on the product by the time the patent was released, but as we asked professionals, they told us, that if we produce massively and distribute this product we might lose our chances in getting a patent because it will then be a product in the market and thus we will lose the patent.
Where can people get the hijab from?
Those Hijabs are currently available in Lebanon, and we will launch our online store by Eid al-Fitr. We also have a new concept called the Matching Concept that we also introduced through our brand and that is the matching clothing. We have shirts, jackets, bodies and accessories that come in exact same colors as our scarves and therefore you can mix and match any item in our store and therefore find your outfit with no hassle.