How I Created a Diversity-Focused Fashion Brand: Gen Z Founder

  • Yassine Guelimi is an entrepreneur who wants to raise awareness of women wearing the hijab.
  • Through its Hallyulimi brand, Guelimi honors its heritage and favors diversity.
  • He advises future young entrepreneurs to have a clear message, regardless of the type of business.

French law student and entrepreneur Yassine Guelimi believes there needs to be a much better representation of women wearing the hijab – and that her progressive, fashion-forward approach can bridge the gap.

Guelimi founded Hallyulimi in 2020 and has been its creative director ever since. The brand wants to stand out with its Korean-inspired outfits. And he also places women wearing the hijab at the forefront of his mission.

Guelimi, however, said he never originally intended to make it his mission to represent women wearing the hijab. It was always normal for him growing up to see his mother wearing it. He said: “Women who wear the hijab are so inspiring – despite all the obstacles they face, they never give up.”

The 22-year-old pointed to the current climate surrounding wearing the hijab in France, where he lives.

In January, the French Senate voted to ban the wearing of the hijab in sports competitions, and last year it voted to approve President Emmanuel Macron’s controversial separatism bill, which bans Muslim women under the age of 18 to wear the hijab in public. The EU also passed a bill last year allowing companies to ban employees from wearing religious headscarves in order to maintain “neutrality”.

“There is a cohesion behind all my campaigns, and a real desire to put diversity first,” said Guelimi. “I want my brand to represent inclusivity, but more importantly, I want the brand to be a true representation of youth.”

He added: “Enough with people trying to erase from the mainstream how diverse we are. In particular, French society is made up of all kinds of religions, and I’m more advocating for the hijab because of the political climate. current – it’s catastrophic.”

France’s Minister for Gender Equality declined Insider’s request for comment.

A Pew Research Center study found that Gen Zers are more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation and that key social and political issues, just like Millennials, Gen Zers are progressives and pro-government and see growing racial and ethnic diversity. like a good thing.

Four Hallyulimi models smiling during a campaign for the brand's new collection.

Diversity is a key objective for the entrepreneur.

Hallyulimi


Guelimi told Insider that anyone who appears in the brand’s new campaigns isn’t there to highlight an ethnic difference, and that’s not even a “difference to me – whether you’re white, black, mixed-race, Asian… But all I want is true representation of all women from all walks of life.”

Here’s what he would advise any young entrepreneur looking to build a successful, heritage-driven brand.

Have a clear message

Guelimi launched her fashion brand taking inspiration from Korean loose cuts and her Algerian heritage.

One of his motives is to normalize women wearing the hijab, “even though it bothers me to use the word normalize because they are normal.” To his surprise and pride, these women adopted the brand. He said: “I’m proud they’ve embraced my brand because women who wear what’s called ‘modest fashion’ tend to be very demanding – the item of clothing needs to be able to fit their way of being. dress.”

In the process of building the brand’s marketing, he meets Amelia Gueye, a French Muslim model who has become his muse. “She represents the woman I want to please – free, modern and strong.”

A post shared by Amélia Gueye ★ (@ameliaguey)

Find a place in the market — or your wardrobe

Guelimi is proud to contribute to a growing trend for loose and oversized clothing in Western countries; he began to consider the idea of ​​making such clothes when he could not find in stores what he himself wanted to wear.

“I just wanted good quality clothes that looked simple and effortless.”

He added that the simplicity of the clothes is very important and the response has been amazing, he says. “People want simplicity, and this brand is very niche – the demand was there, I just executed it.”

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