Rayan Marabani, the youngest daughter of Mona and Abdul Marabani, has recently completed a Bachelor of Psychology and commenced a Bachelor of Islamic Studies. Outside of study, Rayan has taken up a hobby called ‘Crafting4Charity’ and is making frames for inspirational Islamic quotes with a portion of sales going to charity. Using this as a stepping stone she aims to establish her own ‘Small Vibes’ business spreading positive messages in a creative and artistic way. Describing her style as modest and simple her favourite places to shop are Bardot, Hijab House, Witchery and Sheike.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your faith?
I am the youngest girl in the family, with three sisters and two brothers.
Prayer is a very important part of my life and I perform it five times a day. When I pray, I am withdrawing from everything material in the world and I am giving this five minutes to my creator. All of my other time is spent studying or doing something with a worldly gain. In this five minutes all the barriers between me and the Lord are lifted, all the veils are lifted, and I am told that anything I need, I can ask through this. And that is truly beautiful to me. If I take a second to think, for example, if I wanted to speak to the Prime Minister, I would probably have to write him a letter, I would have to wait for weeks, I would have to get security checks. Yet God, the Greatest, I can speak straight to Him and that is truly beautiful to me.
When did you decide to put the hijab on and what did that mean to you?
I decided to put the hijab on when I was only seven. I was pretty young but I found that the hijab was a commandment from God. I believe that God has given me so many blessings, and I am so grateful for the form in which he has created me.
When I first put the scarf on, my biggest dilemma was matching a scarf with every single outfit. Now I can go to Hijab House and there is every colour and so many designs. These days the dilemma is wearing something fashionable that is nice and yet modest. You find fashions change so often. Sometimes shorts are in and I can’t wear them, or sometimes, the long skirt. I am loving that now — the long skirt, the wide-leg pants. I can still be up-to-date with fashion trends and yet preserve my modesty.
How would you describe your style?
I like to think I am pretty fashionable. If I could describe my fashion in three words, I probably would say simple, elegant and modest.
Today I’m wearing a dress from Forever New, which is my favourite store to shop. It is silky and it’s got stripes and it has the oranges and the browns that are in now which I’m really loving; the colours are beautiful, especially in winter. I am wearing my favourite pair of jeans from Just- Jeans. My scarf was a gift from my sister.
I’m wearing my hijab a bit differently today. I haven’t actually pinned it because I have figured out this new way recently. It is so easy to put it around your neck. I wrap it around and make one side shorter than the other. Then it sits loosely, simply and effortlessly on my head. It is comfortable and still works.
What are your fashion influences?
Both my parents are Lebanese, and Lebanese culture is pretty extravagant. If you have ever been to a Lebanese wedding you probably know what I am talking about. My culture has definitely impacted on my fashion. Particularly a lot of cultural clothing, like Lebanese clothing has a lot of sequins and I think that has shown through my love of sequins on my cardigan, on my scarf, on my hijab and my dresses.
I can’t go shopping without my Mum. I love her style and she has such similar likes to me. She likes a lot of the pastels as well and a lot of the vintage look. If I like something and my Mum doesn’t like it, I can’t wear it, I honestly can’t because I just value her opinion so much. Also because she has the credit card, but that’s not the only reason. When she does say ‘This is nice’ that reinforces it. I automatically love it as well.
If I shop with my friends, I don’t take their opinion as much as if my Mum says it. With my friends, our style does fluctuate, but with my Mum I found there is so much closeness in the things that we love, so I value her opinion.
Do you have any other sources of inspiration or style icons?
I have two favourite magazines, Grazia and Cosmopolitan, which usually have all the latest fashion trends, and I also follow blogs as well. I do a lot of browsing on-line. Every time Forever New has a new collection I am up-to-date. But most of my inspiration comes from my culture; that plays a big part.
Kate Middleton is a definite style icon. She is so effortlessly glamorous. The girls in Gossip Girls are so beautifully dressed all the time with their trench coats and their dresses. I also love the fashion of the sixties. I love how it has never left. It is so elegant and beautiful.
What do your dad think about your interest in fashion?
My father and my brothers know I have such a passion for fashion. My Dad, when he was growing up kept up with fashion trends as well. I think my love for it comes not just from my Mum but from my Dad. My Dad likes to see what I come up with every time I have been out.