From Fencing to Fashion: Why This History-Making Olympian Is Breaking Barriers in Business
Trailblazing is in Ibtihaj Muhammad's DNA. Not only did the Time’s 100 Most Influential Olympic fencer slash her way into history during the 2016 games as the first American woman to compete in the Olympics in hijab, but she has continued to change perceptions of what it looks like to be a female athlete and empower young girls across the globe.
Today, Muhammad is the face of a major Nike campaign, the inspiration behind the first hijabi Barbie modeled in her likeness and most recently, the force behind Louella, a modest, affordable fashion line she created with her siblings.
Growing up, Muhammad longed for a way to express her own style while adhering to the principles of her faith, but she struggled to find clothes that served her needs. She created Louella to allow other women to find their voices through fashion, and produce ethically made, female-manufactured pieces.
Muhammad’s goal is to see these garments on the red carpet, where she hopes they will inspire young girls to break the mold and defy expectations of what femininity looks like.
“Clothing is a way for us to express ourselves,” Muhammad says. “I love the idea that I can be an athlete and I can be super rugged … but I can do it with eyeliner on, and I can leave the fencing strip and throw on a cool gown and occupy that space as well.”
In this episode of How Brands Are Born, see Muhammad’s remarkable journey from Olympic athlete to a change-maker in the fashion industry.
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