Fashion blogger Aqeelah Harron-Ally is one of South Africa's first fashion bloggers who has genuinely stood the test of time. What started as a simple blog in 2010, Fashion Breed has grown its audience to 49 000 and counting. Then in 2016, Aqeelah introduced her followers to her Youtube channel 'Cover, Girl' where she also uploads fashion and beauty tutorials. I spoke to Aqeelah about her career and interest in fashion.
Please tell us a little bit about your background, why media and why fashion?
Aqeelah: I grew up loving fashion and everything that came with it, but as I worked through my Media and Writing, Film and Drama degree at UCT I really discovered my love and knack for writing. The two just mixed and came together. In my final year at university, I started my blog for fun, just to cover my interests and express myself. I noticed the fashion posts, particularly my outfit posts, were the ones that had the best response and so fashion became the star of my content. Other than that, everyone always told me how my mom was the most stylish woman ever back in the day, and I would like to think she passed down all her knowledge to me. She and both my grandmothers have a history as seamstresses too, and collectively they trained my eye in a big way.
Introducing 'Cover, Girl'
Please tell us about Fashion Breed, it seems so much more than just a blog?
Aqeelah: It has always been an extension of my interests, growth and personal life too. It is more than just a blog because it's been around for seven years and a lot of my readers/followers have followed along with me. I don't do it for "fame" or to be just another Instagram girl but to inspire women to be independent, to be creative, to dress well, to make their own opportunities, to be themselves, to stick to their roots and support other women.
You started a youtube channel in 2016, please tell us a little about it and how do approach it differently from your blog?
Aqeelah: I have a modest-dressing series called "Cover, Girl" and I also do beauty tutorials. That's different from my blog since my blog and Instagram both feature personal style posts, a lot of curation and strong imagery. Although my YouTube filming quality is now pretty good, it shows off my personality way more.
“...It has always been an extension of my interests, growth and personal life too...” - Aqeelah Harron-Ally
What are your various job descriptions, I read somewhere you are also a make-up artist?
Aqeelah: 80% of my time goes into my Fashion Breed as a digital brand, which in itself is multifaceted since I'm required to create regular content on my website, Instagram and now YouTube in particular. It's my full time job and I earn an income through collaborating with other brands. I've always been a jack of all trades, which is a good thing because no two days are ever the same! One day you're a writer, the next day you're in front of the camera, and the next you're behind it. I am a qualified make-up artist but I barely practice anymore with clients wanting their make-up done. Instead I use that area of expertise to work in my favour when collaborating with beauty brands and when creating beauty content. Then aside from that, I also have my own line of false eyelashes!
How does Muslim culture influence your fashion? Is it a personal choice not to be in hijab?
Aqeelah: It influences me to make the effort to dress more modestly than most. As for hijab, I'm not quite "there yet", and it's my personal choice not to wear it.
You recently held a charity event in aid of Syria, please tell us about that?
Aqeelah: As a blogger you're sent so much fashion and beauty product, a lot of which you won't get the chance to use, or it doesn't fit, or we impulse buy things. As a result, I accumulated SO MUCH and decided to sell it off in aid of a charity. I teamed up with Homemade Cape Town (the pop up store specialists) and two of my favourite local designers,and together we had the Fashion Breed & Friends Charity Sale, where we raised over R18 000 for Syria in a few hours. We are definitely planning on doing it again next year!