When we think of Hira Ali, we think "Dream Big!" This young design student at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and "A Hijabiful Life" blogger, is a big dreamer and DOER. We had the pleasure of meeting the beautiful Hira at our "I AM MORE THAN A SCARF" photo shoot in New York City. So what's it like to be a design student at one of the top fashion schools in the world?
"Before getting accepted into college, a lot of people tried to talk me out of pursuing a career in the design industry. I dreamed about becoming a graphic designer since I was in the 9th grade and throughout the years many people tried to put me down for it; “You won't find any success in that field”, “You're just going to become a housewife anyways”, “You’re not going to make any money” blah blah blah. Even after getting accepted into college, people still question and try to put me down. There will be people who will always think they're superior to you, however, you need to be strong in your passion and ignore all the negativity. For me I found strength through God and put my faith and trust in His hands and alhamdulillah (All Praise Due to Allah), all that I have today is because of Him. People still don't quite understand what I'm studying, (my parents don't even completely understand), but as long as you have a support network and keep your head high, you will be okay!"
Design school is not for the weak at heart. Having a tough skin is vital for the weekly, and sometimes daily, critiques of your design projects. "Yes!, these critiques are nerve-racking! You have to display your work for the whole class to comment on, and honestly there will be days where you’ll leave class feeling disappointed that you didn’t exceed expectations. There will be some professors who are wonderful and kind, and there will be some professors that will disregard your hard work and criticize you harshly. Its all a learning experience because every design field is extremely competitive. You need to be strong and confident and don't worry about not being skilled enough to compete with other students because we are all here to learn and as long as you put in a strong work ethic, your dedication and hard work will be noticed."
Over time the student will become the critic. It is inevitable, that you will look at things through a designer's lens. "It’ll happen sooner than you think. You will start noticing packages and logo designs more and start to think in terms of design. You’ll start noticing typefaces and judging company logos. It’ll just happen, man."
According to FIT's website it can range close to $12K/year for in state residents, and $32K/year for out-of-state residents to attend. In a nutshell, Art is expensive! "Instead of buying and renting textbooks, you will be spending all your money on gouache, markers, colored pencils, sketchbooks, rulers, portfolio bags and so much more. And the worst part, none of these are refundable, meaning you’ll have to keep replenishing yourself with all the supplies you run out of and that’ll leave a hefty hole in your wallet."
The perks of being a design student in NYC, is the access to inspiration. From NYFW, museums, exhibits, and just the hustle of the city itself, inspiration is everywhere you turn your hijab! "The most important thing is to always try to be inspired. If you live in a big city, take the time to explore and enjoy interesting sites. Its hard to get inspired if your stuck in a small dorm or a studio all day. Get up and go have fun once in a while."
Time management is the key to being a successful design student, but don't forget to take time out for the important things in life! Great advice from Hira, "Remember to take the time to appreciate everything around you. Congrats! You made it where you are today and you deserve to enjoy the happy moments in life that don't revolve around art and design. Remember to make time for family and friends and take advantage of your free time to explore and have fun!"
To read all the great tips Hira has to offer, and to follow her style/inspirational blog, click --> "A Hijabiful Life"
all photos courtesy of: @najmdesignsphotos
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