When we met Hana Tajima, who blogs on Style Covered, we quickly had a triple addiction: amazing aesthetics in her shootings and designs; the fusion of so many roots (Japanese, British, Muslim); and a certain openness when it comes to talking about her beliefs and her inspirations. We had a chance to interview this bright phenomenon. You’re luck guys.
Dear Hana, when did you start blogging and why?
I started blogging about 4 years ago. It was just another kind of sketchbook, and although a very public one, it allowed me to explore image and video in a way that I hadn’t before.
Your work is a really intriguing mash-up: most of your models aren’t covered whereas you always appear with a headscarf; you recently quoted Christopher Kane or Fashion Week’s monochrome style as big sources of inspirations but Allah is not that much mentioned on your blog. Most of the “modest” fashion bloggers we’ve discovered remain in some very strict rules, whereas most of the non-modest fashion bloggers seem to be absolutely against the idea of religion in fashion, unless it is to be distorted. How do you consider yourself? A Muslim fashionista? A spiritual free soul?
Style Covered is very personal to me, and being a Muslim, and coming from a mixed ethnic background it means I have a very distinct lens through which I see the world of fashion. But it’s still very much a fashion blog, and the simplicity of that premise leads people into being less judgmental. People aren’t just one thing, and shouldn’t have to categorize themselves. I’ve been non-Muslim as well as Muslim, I have a Japanese father and an English mother, lived in many different cities and countries. All of these things are reflected in my style, and because they are so inextricably combined it means that all the barriers fall apart. It might be that there’s something in that that people identify with.
What are the blogs you like to read?
I’m selective about the blogs I read regularly. Style Bubble was the first that really opened my eyes as to what a fashion blog could be. People like Evita Nuh of The créme de la crop, and Nadia of froufrouu.com are endlessly inspiring because they have such strong visual personalities.
You contribute to the association “Merlin”: can you tell us more about this engagement?
I donate 10% to various causes for everything I sell, one of these is Merlin. Merlin is a wonderful healthcare charity that sends doctors and nurses to regions that have been affected by disaster, they also set up support systems so that the care is ongoing.
Fashion can change the world: what do you think about that?
I don’t think fashion needs to change the world, but it can make it a much more interesting place. It is the people behind the fashion, that make the changes in the world, which is why street style is so fascinating. Style is a creative expression of these personalities, and that can be a powerful thing.
Do you consider yourself as an icon of contemporary Islam?
I think icon is the wrong word, but I am incredibly glad that there has been a reawakening of personal creative expression in young Muslim women, and am grateful to be a part of it.
Can you tell us the story of the “Octopusface” design: http://www.hanatajima.com/
Octopusface was an illustration that came out of a very specific feeling. A sort of frustration that is both internal and writhing while also being outwardly suffocating. It’s an odd thing when you can feel constricted but also safe from a more wavering reality.
What do you expect from fashion brands?
The brands I feel are most successful are ones that have a strong sense of identity. Once you have that, you have to keep exploring new ideas and allow yourself to evolve.
Where can we follow you?