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THE STYLE EDIT

ASOS CHATS TO SHAHD BATAL

Vlogger with 274k YouTube subscribers, modest-fashion influencer with 366k Insta followers… Shahd Batal is a pretty big deal. And now, she’s the star of our brand-new Style Edit. Full of her fave ASOS DESIGN looks, it's got everything you could need RN: laidback sweats, comfy maxi dresses, group-chat ready jewellery, and her face and body faves. We caught up with her to chat life as an influencer, why modest fashion is important to her, secret beauty tips, and…erm… how she’s inspired by Steve Jobs’ style…
A picture of modest-fashion influencer and beauty blogger Shahd Batal wearing a hijab, stacked rings and a check blazer.

How does it feel to have your very own Style Edit?
It’s so dope! When ASOS asked me, I was so honoured. I mean, it doesn’t feel like just my own edit; it’s a testament to how far modest fashion has come. It’s always seen as its own thing, and not as inclusive. A lot of brands still aren’t even acknowledging it, but I feel like ASOS has always walked the talk. It's an honour to be working with one of my favourite brands and be able to do something that I could only dream of.

A lot of our customers will already know what modest fashion is, but could you explain it to anyone that doesn’t?
It’s something that’s personal to a lot of people – some people just want to wear more; others dress modestly for religious purposes. For me, I’m Muslim, and for Muslim people, there’s a foundation. We know what’s modest and what’s not, but people who dress modestly swing on different sides of the spectrum. For instance, the UK is a lot more modest [than the US] in the styles that you see, and the way people dress.

The edit is a reflection of my style and how I dress, so I can’t speak for everyone who shops modest fashion. Modesty is just about covering up a little bit more. And, for me, the reason behind it is that you’re gonna hear me before you see me. I find that’s really liberating.
A picture of modest-fashion influencer and beauty blogger Shahd Batal wearing a hijab, stacked rings, and an orange silky-feel dress. Available at ASOS.

Do you have any favourite pieces or looks from the edit?
I’m the queen of sweatpants and there’s one outfit made up of cream sweatpants with a dress shirt, with a cropped crew-neck on top, and I feel like that’s the most authentic look to me. I can wear it with my Nike Air Forces or a pair of nice boots. That outfit is my everyday uniform. I love the little bags; I love the heels in the edit; there’s this orange, silky-feel dress that I’m just obsessed with at the moment. There’s a green floral dress and I’m so picky about florals, but this is the perfect print for me. With this collection launching right before Ramadan, I wanted people to be able to shop the edit for Eid dresses and personally, I think the edit includes the perfect dresses – they’re so flattering.
A picture of modest-fashion influencer and beauty blogger Shahd Batal wearing an orange silky-feel dress. Available at ASOS.

How would you describe your personal style?
I can be very feminine, or I can be very casual, depending on the occasion. I just wanna feel comfortable first and foremost. My style is definitely modest, but like… elevated modest. At the same time though, if I can do the bare minimum, I will. If I can wear something casual and get away with dressing it up with a cute pair of heels or a cute bag, I’ll definitely do that. I’ve recently just got into jewellery, like big into jewellery, because it elevates my favourite sweatpants look so well. So, if I’m wearing sweats but have like, a stack-load of rings on – I feel really cool.

I do have my staples, if you strip everything down; I’m like Steve Jobs on the inside! I love a good pair of baggy jeans, a black turtleneck and Nike Air Forces. That’s the ‘uniform’ and then I work from there on a day-to-day. Because my style is changing so much, I’m loving the trend pieces but I’m also trying to be responsible. There’s this really cool trick you can do with your hangers when you put your clothes away. If you hang them the opposite way to how you usually do, in six months’ time, if anything is still facing the wrong way – you know to donate it.
A picture of modest-fashion influencer and beauty blogger Shahd Batal wearing a blue Hijab and a floral-print dress. Dress available at ASOS.

Who do you look to for style inspiration?
I find a lot of inspiration on Instagram. I look at people who wear stuff that I probably couldn’t wear, but I like to think about how I can make it more ‘me’ and more modest. I love finding people that incorporate lots of colour. I don’t necessarily follow people who wear what I wear, cos I love that challenge of finding a look I know I probably wouldn’t wear – like an off-the-shoulder top, or something with holes in it – and thinking up a new way to wear it. I don’t want to feel like I’m sacrificing my style.

I like making saved albums too. I’m getting inspiration from colour schemes; being outside; but also looking back on things my mom used to wear. I’m really enjoying trying to bring really old stuff back by watching old TV shows as well. During my quarantine, I’ve been watching The Marvellous Mrs Maisel and I just love all the colour schemes and it gets me thinking: how could I make this a thing in 2020, you know?

What kind of things did you consider when choosing the styles that went into your edit?
I definitely had to ask myself, ‘Do I try and speak to everyone about modest fashion? Or just stick true to myself and my style?’ Eventually I chose the latter, because at the end of the day, it’s my edit. I don’t mean that to sound cocky; I just figured it might as well be my style. Although, it is spring/summer and I wear a lot of black, so I tried to come out of my comfort zone and include more colour.

I definitely thought about Ramadan around the corner and the type of clothes people will want for that sort of occasion. Also, how people are going to be dressing for Eid; that’s where the fancier pieces come in. So, my go-to would be a jumpsuit on a day-to-day basis, so there’s jumpsuits in there. If I have to wear a dress, it’s going to be something super-flattering. I don’t like to think too much when I’m getting ready, and I think the collection is a good reflection of that.
A picture of Shahd Batal, a modest-fashion influencer and beauty blogger. She's wearing a Hijab and a purple blouse with frill details. Blouse available at ASOS.

You’re also well known for your beauty vlog content. How did you get started in that scene?
When I first started out on YouTube, my first video was in my college dorm using a webcam and I actually wasn’t wearing a hijab at the time. It started as me just vlogging about my life and what I was doing at the time and I was doing the occasional beauty video, but most of my content was around natural hair. I wanted to tell my journey of going from straight, damaged hair to healthy curls. Then in 2016, I decided that I was ready to start wearing the hijab. At the time, I was fully expecting to just get a regular job – I was studying PR, so I thought I’d be on the other side of what I’m doing right now. Even though I was into makeup before, once I took my hair out of the picture, I was showing a lot of my face and I had to really get comfortable with it and I did that through makeup.

I learned so much about myself through using makeup. I was getting a lot more comfortable in my own skin, and now, my reason for wearing makeup was changing. It was never about those really glam looks; it was more about: how can I match my makeup to my outfit, how can I give this makeup some creative direction? So, that’s how I started into the world of makeup. Now, I’m not as in love with that world as I used to be. I took a little step back, which is probably for the best, as there are so many people that look like me doing it now who are way more passionate and I feel like they should be leading the way on that front. So now, I just kinda share products that I love because I still enjoy that side of it.

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