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Asiya Rafiq: the first Indian Modest and Adaptive Fashion Designer

I “met” Asiya on Instagram and through her collection she opened a whole new chapter in my fashion inclusion research.

Get inspired by her story!

Asiya, lady wearing a headgear in different colors in a geometrical pattern. The shot is from above and her head is covered by a hijab (veil) in rose gold. She is holding the veil with 2 fingers and wearing a gold roud ring.

Who is Asiya Rafiq?

Hailing from Kashmir (India) with an Educational Background in Psychology, Certified in ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) from Dubai I am the First Indian Modest Fashion Designer (Specialized in Adaptive Wear) now staying in UAE.
I have also been raised by a Single Mother.

What does Fashion mean to you?

One’s Fashion sense and style is a very subjective matter. A great fashionable outfit can be a fashion blunder or a disaster if it does not match the occasion and it is not worn in the proper way. The fashion you carry, should bring out your personality,making you more confident, and raising your self-esteem to new heights. Believing in yourself and being yourself is the most important factor when it comes to fashion.

You are the founder of Adaptive By Asiya. How did this all start?

Apart from my fashion designing I keep working for social causes. So, I was working as an active volunteer in special olympics where I came across people of determination and, really felt a kind of frustration they deal with, with everyday clothing.
It opened my eyes to the fact, that small things, such as being unable to untie laces, can go a long way towards making someone feel helpless.
And in between, I had been struggling with endometriosis for 6 years. I went through a laparoscopy surgery in which I was given anesthesia. This of course numbed the feeling in my lower body.
I was not able to feel or move my lower body for a few hours, even to the point that I needed help to change my clothes.
This also made me realize how difficult life can be, for someone who is permanently disabled. That was the moment, I decided to do something for people with life time disabilities.

You are a volunteer of Special Olympics - Can you tell us more?

Special Olympics is changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. It is the world’s largest sport organization for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities, providing year-round training and activities to 5 million participants and Unified Sports partners in 172 countries..
I really admire the founder of Special Olympics, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, for providing such a big and helpful platform, to people of determination.
Working as an Active Volunteer with Special Olympics was a life time experience. Working alongside with a team of diverse and determined individuals, is such a great feeling: especially when you have unquenchable thirst to be at the heart of social change, which includes passion for social inclusion and equality. I was so lucky to work for Special Olympics and have the opportunity to work with such wonderful souls.

What is your message to the fashion industry?

Be more representative!
Fashion industry has to create a more realistic representation and understanding of the lives of disabled people. Being a model myself during my college years, I have been rejected by so many fashion designers in India and some famous magazines too.
I wanted to carry modest clothing while walking on runway or doing any magazine shootings but nobody was interested in modest clothing.
So that drove me to becoming a Modest Fashion Designer myself.
Now fashion has truly grown by leaps and bounds over the last few decades.
From sustainable fashion to breastfeeding friendly, modest clothing labels to plus size brands, the industry is constantly being revolutionized to be kinder and more inclusive of its audience. However, there is a certain section that often gets left behind in this glamorous world: people of determination seldom have brands that cater to them, and usually rely on clothes that may hinder them.

Lady wearing a white abaya with embroidered hems in curly lines.

Future Plans?

Like anybody else I want to make this world a better place to live in, to help people in need, and contribute to our everchanging and growing society in whatever small way I can.
As for now, this concerns my adaptive fashion project.
I want to make it a success with all the hard work and prayers from the well wishers.

And of course I wish her all the best! Go Asiya!

You can find Asiya Rafiq’s collections here:

Instagram and

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