At 19, Hiba Alshahal is one of Central Ohio’s youngest fashion designers. Olentangy She graduated from Liberty High School in 2021. She is a Columbus nonprofit that helps marginalized youth learn the fashion business. Started development.
In October, she was the youngest designer to take part in the Columbus Fashion Week runway show. “It was a very surreal experience,” she says. She attends Ohio State University and is looking for ways to keep her fashion brand growing.
When we spoke, you said that as a student of Lebanese descent, you were the only brown girl in many classes at Olentangy Liberty High School. How did that influence your fashion sense? ? Growing up, I was a timid child with severe social anxiety disorder. I was ashamed of my culture and who I was. I was embarrassed when my friends came to my house and heard her mother playing Arabic music or saw the Quran.
I would have done anything to be like a white girl.I never felt more comfortable with who I was until I started experimenting with my clothes and became interested in fashion. It was amazing to be able to express myself in armor without speaking. Looking back on it now, I cringe at how hard I was trying to fit in. But as I got older, I became more confident in who I was and now sings Arabic songs with her mother and proudly looks at the Quran. I couldn’t be prouder of my Lebanese blood.
You said you were dealing with social unrest when it came to launching your fashion brand. What are you most worried about in this process? I was very young when I started Verity, and it was a terrifying process, especially for someone who hasn’t had much experience with this sort of thing. I overthink a lot and struggle with confidence and comparisons. At first, I was only thinking of ideas that were simple, that everyone would love, and that would make people happy. I started to lose creative control because of it.
It’s been nearly a year, but looking back, I’ve had plenty of time to realize how important it is to put things out for yourself over others. means the principles or beliefs of, especially those of fundamental importance. I chose the name Verity because I didn’t start growing or thriving until I accepted my girlfriend’s Verity and felt confident in who I was. My advice to anyone struggling with something similar is to remember that you will only grow by staying true to yourself.
You put together a show for the Grand Finale of Fashion Week Columbus. How would you describe your experience there? Attending Fashion Week Columbus was a great experience. As the youngest designer, I wanted to bring a refreshing energy to the space and show that young designers have something to offer. It was so rewarding to see my work come to life and create an experience with my vision that everyone enjoyed.
You are part of Generation Z and spent much of your time in high school dealing with COVID. What would you like people to know about your generation? Generation Z is a fascinating generation. We are underrated because we are the first generation to know the world without the internet. If anything, the internet has made us very powerful. It taught us that we can do anything and we can be anything. We are very hardworking and self-motivated.
This story is from the December 2022 issue columbus monthly.