The world of Instagram beauty influencers can be extremely homogeneous. Every account seems to look the same – a skinny blonde white woman, doing yoga on a beach somewhere. And then there’s the other side of Instagram, where people from marginalized communities use the platform to prove that beauty appears in so many different forms.
Saufeeya Goodson is an American and Moroccan woman and fashion enthusiast. One look at her page, and you’ll understand why she’s racked up nearly half a million followers. She has a keen eye for color and silhouette and her makeup is always on point.
As a hijabi Muslim woman, Saufeeya is also breaking the mold, proving that modesty and style can go hand-in-hand.
“I think [my style] appeals because modest fashion is growing, so to be able to see someone who observes the hijab or scarf or veil, but is still very fashionable and modern, is inspiring,” Saufeeya explained to Emirates Woman in June.
“Just your average young adult living her life who’s stylish but more on the modest side of things… I think that’s what makes me stand out the most. My goal is to remain championing modest fashion but keeping it modern.”
The 24-year-old fashionista strikes that balance like an expert. On some days, you’ll find her in jeans and sneakers, or a colorful pantsuit. On other days, she wears long, elegant skirts and dresses.
She attributes her sense of style to her family as well as to her surroundings. Saufeeya grew up in North Carolina. A couple years ago, she moved to Dubai. Her page doubles as a sort of travel Instagram – she jet-sets all over the world, from Turkey to London to the Dominican Republic. On Caribbean vacations, she proudly sports a burkini.
“I definitely think my mum and grandma inspired me,” Saufeeya said. “My mum’s very well-dressed. My sisters are sporty-chic, but I like skirts and flowy things. I used to be a tomboy, though. Being here with all the abayas you get accustomed to wearing things that are a bit longer. It has a sense of drama to it anyway.”
She says her love for dramatic style feels much more at home in Dubai than it did in her hometown.
“My friend referred to me the other day as a third-culture kid because I’m American and Moroccan, but Dubai is my in-between and home to me. All of that has really informed my sense of style. When I was in the US I dressed in the Dubai way – very luxurious and OTT. People were like, ‘Yo, you need to dress down a bit!’”
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what does fashion mean to you? Is it your way of expression? individuality? does it showcase your emotions? ————————————— To me, fashion is a form of art and can be anything - it’s a space of inclusion ✨ —————————————— #shotby @fadwa.ammari @etihadairways #runwaytorunway #lfw #modestfashion #mytheresa
Saufeeya’s work is about more than just style, though. She also aims to combat the notion that modest dressing is automatically less stylish. Saufeeya co-founded an Instagram page, Hijab Fashion (formerly Modest Route) for that purpose, along with her friend Safiya Houdaigui. Hijab Fashion highlights stylish women around the world who dress modestly and cover their hair. The page has nearly 3 million followers and counting.
This young hijabi woman is now a veritable style icon. She sits front row at fashion week; she has been featured in Vogue. And most importantly, she has inspired countless young women worldwide – both Muslim and not.