Designing to Empower

Muna Khalif: Designing to Empower

Muna took a leap of faith: she saw a need to develop clothing that is trendy and seasonal yet modest, and her fashion line, Muna Khalif, was born. Here, Muna discusses her struggle to re-imagine traditional fashion, and create clothing that is beautiful and empowering for women of all kinds.

I was raised by a strong independent woman who instilled in me to be unapologetically myself no matter what the cost was. She ingrained in me to shatter glass ceilings and to encompass spaces that were never meant for me. I graduated from college with Business administration degree with a concentration in entrepreneurship, intending to pursue a career in consulting. But it was my mother who gave me the courage weeks before graduation to follow my intuition to New York and pursue a career in fashion, where I then spent a great deal of time focusing on entrepreneurship and the power of innovation.

As a first-generation Somali-American designer and activist, my goal was to usher in a new era of women’s fashion. It became quite apparent to me that it was difficult to find clothes that were seasonally on trend and that met religious and cultural requirements in an industry that already lacked representation.

Muna Khalif brand marries the elegant and billowing Eastern attire and sleek Western professional wear—bringing together styles that seemingly contradict. This ability to re-imagine and modernize the traditional is really what allows us to stand out. The Muna Khalif clothing is designed with all types of women in mind and particularly with an understanding of the needs of women who seek out modest fashion.

I design from a very personal place. Ultimately, Muna Khalif really isn’t about the clothing but about the women who wear the line. My hope is that this line serves to empower women everywhere to continue to strive for greater heights and to never dim their own light. We always design with an eye towards the powerful, the global-minded, and the bold — the leading lady. My long-term vision for the brand is to continue to innovate, to continue to marry styles that on the surface seem to contradict, and to reach a wider audience.

I will share the advice that I have been given over the years and that is to truly take the leap of faith in whatever your passionate about. You must also truly believe in your vision. Along the way, there will be many challenges and obstacles that will test you and at times you will waver. Why you started—your purpose—will serve as a great source of strength and enable you to overcome those difficult moments.

Flexibility is crucial, there is no denying the importance of planning, but there are many times where those plans will be interrupted or undermined. You must learn to quickly think on your feet and prepare to handle the unexpected. As Steve Jobs so eloquently said, “You cannot connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect the dots looking backwards.” Trust in the process and your ability to the conquer the world and you will be surprised.


The Muna Khalif Collection made its debut during London Modest Fashion Week on Saturday, February 17, 2018, followed by a presentation and pop-up shop in NYC on International Women’s Day, Thursday, March 8, 2018. The entire ready-to-wear collection is available for purchase now, online at

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