Entrepreneur Finds Success through the Hijab

Most of us would not likely use the words “hijab” and “high fashion” in the same sentence, but if Yasemin Kanar of Miami has her way, they could become synonymous.

Kanar, 23, has creatively melded her faith and love of fashion into a thriving web-based business that serves Muslim women who want to be beautiful and stylish.  Kanar launched yazthespaz.com, which sells fashionable hijabs, turtlenecks, and other accessories, in early 2012. Less than a year later, she has thousands of customers around the world, manages challenges keeping everything in stock, and travels the United States presenting fashion shows and promoting her fashion line.

Kanar’s business will have a growing market:  The Pew Research Center’s 2010 report on religion noted there are more than 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and the 2010 U.S. Religion Census reported 2.6 million Muslims in the country, and the fastest growth rate among all religions.

In the West, some people believe Muslim women are forced to wear the hijab, a traditional scarf worn to cover the hair and neck. Wearing the scarf, however, is a choice for Muslim women.

“I was wearing the hijab in unusual ways and lots of women were asking me about how to do it,” says Kanar. She had so many requests that she decided to make a YouTube video for friends, which ended up going viral. Her viewers–ranging in age from 9 to over 60–asked for more.  At the same time, Muslim women were frustrated by the challenge of finding fashionable options, which spurred Kanar into business.

And it all started with a scrunchie. Considered an outdated 80’s accessory in American fashion, the volumizing scrunchie plays a silent but important role in hijab fashion: It is used to create volume at the back of the head under the scarf. From the very beginning, the hair accessory has been her best selling product. Her site also sells basic turtlenecks and bonnets, which are worn under the hijab to keep it from sliding.

“The products I would wear were what they were looking for,” says Kanar, who adds that she is sticking to items that are necessities for everyday wear. Yazthespaz is expanding slowly, however, adding optional fashion items like the ring accessories.

She is also growing her sales savvy by continuing her education in business. Although her undergraduate degree was in science, “I wasn’t passionate about biology,” Kanar says. Now, her dream is to have her own fashion line. She is well on her way, gaining experience promoting her products at fashion shows and events from Ohio and Georgia to Utah and California.

Kanar says her main aim is to help Muslim women feel beautiful, comfortable, and confident. “You don’t have to be ugly. You can be fashionable while being a Muslim. You can be proud.” She emphasizes that it is possible to adhere to Muslim standards of modesty while expressing personal style. Peruse the Yazthespaz Facebook page and you will see plenty of evidence of how modesty can be beautiful and modern.

Recent changes in Western fashion have also made it easier for Muslim women to be fashionable.  Kanar points to recent the trends of looser, flowing shirts with longer sleeves as well as longer skirts as being modest and beautiful, opening up more clothing options for women.

And if you think that the hijab might be bothersome or time consuming, Kanar has something to say about that: “When you live it, life is more fun with the scarf on… No bad hair days!”


Both images supplied by yazthespaz.com

About Vera L. Dordick

Vera L. Dordick is principal with Tangible Development LLC, public relations practitioner, and creative provocateur. At Tangible Development, Vera specializes in crisis management and public relations but has a particular interest in creativity training and helping companies foster more creative environments. She also blogs on the Albany Times Union website on marketing and creativity. Vera holds a BA in Journalism and Russian from Indiana University and an Associate degree in Culinary Arts from SCCC.


  1. lallalal says:

    thank you so much for this article, i’m a hijabi to and this is wonderful!! :D

  2. very nice article, it shows in a clear way that muslim woman are not forced to wear the hijab. It is their choice and their way to express themselves :)

  3. Lalith Ruwanpathirana says:

    aha nice post man i love this !!!!

    since i was a boy i love design

    u can get more design from Adsurf.net
    cheerrsss !!!!1

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