Melanie Elturk is the CEO of Haute Hijab, an e-commerce site and community resource that specializes in contemporary “modestwear” for Muslim women. The former civil rights attorney co-founded Haute Hijab in 2010 with her husband Ahmed Zedan, and recently launched a new collection of luxury hijabs aptly named the Luxury Collection.
Growing up in the 90s, in the suburbs of Michigan, USA, Elturk only had two hijabs she wore on a daily basis. Speaking to Glamour, she explained how the lack of choices made her not feel young and fashionable.
“They were these really ugly triangle cotton hijabs that were from overseas,” she remembers. “They were dark and drab and didn’t fit into my American style… the idea of hijab and fashion couldn’t even be said together. It was the ultimate oxymoron.”
It was in her teen years that Elturk finally started playing around with printed silk scarves from local vintage stores, putting together her own custom-made hijabs.
“I remember the first day I walked in [to school] with one of those, and people were like, ‘What is going on?’ My hijab finally made me feel so confident, something I had never felt before,” she recalls. “I thought if I could give access to really beautiful hijabs that made women feel strong and powerful that would be huge.”
Elturk recalls as a young woman how much time and effort she and other hijabis would put into their outfit, but due to the lack of options, the hijab would come as an afterthought, not really blending with the entire look.
“When I reflect back at the most special moments of my life—my law school graduation, my engagement, and especially my wedding—I didn’t have appropriate formal hijab options that corresponded with my outfit,” Elturk told InStyle.
Today, Haute Hijab boasts over 10,000 customers worldwide in the 25- to 45-year-old demographic. From all her recent creations, Elturk’s favorite piece from the new collection is the Celestial Silver Hijab, which she explains “feels the most royal and majestic of everything we created—I could see Grace Kelly adorning this piece or, in present-day, Sheikah Mozah of Qatar.”