An Invitation to “Islamic Lifestyle & Fashion Show in Switzerland” from IZRS (Islamic Zentralat Schweiz) / Islamic Central Council of Switzerland (ICCS). I could not believe my eyes when I first saw the email invitation for me to showcase the brand at a fashion show in SWITZERLAND. Since it was a fully sponsored trip, of course we immediately said yes! We only had less than a month to organize everything so it was quite the whirlwind.
When the day finally arrived, it felt so surreal when we touched down in Zurich Kloten Airport. Is this really happening? After all the drama that we had to go through with the flight tickets (no thanks to Qatar Airways), we finally reached our destination. Alhamdulillah.
We were welcomed by a representative from IZRS and took about an hour drive to an old town called Solothurn where the event was held. The small cobbled-stone town is totally dreamy, with rich historical monuments and decorative fountains.
The first thing that we did was of course to check in to our hotel. We were put up in a hotel called Zunfthaus zu Wirthen. Centrally located, there were pretty cafes, restaurants and of course good shopping surrounding the area. It was quite embarassing as we definitely made a grand entrance to the hotel, rolling our luggages on the cobbled road making a huge racket while everyone was having a chillout moment, chit-chatting and drinking outside the hotel restaurant. We had stares that’s for sure.
Once checked in, we just left our luggages and literally ran out of our hotel. Most of the shops close at 5pm and we had less than an hour to quickly grab some light bites and drinks before heading back to the hotel to prepare for the event the next day. Even though we were so jet lagged and exhausted from the 14 hours flight, there was no way that we did not go out and explore such a beautiful old town with whatever time we had of course.
3 hours of sleep later, gosh was it difficult to get up! The excitement totally pumped us up though. Managed to grab a quick breakfast before we were picked up to head over to the event location.
After all the effort of lugging the heavy luggage down the stairs to finally fit it in the car, it was, fortunately, all for a 5 minutes ride to the concert hall. Phew!
The stage is set
Upon arriving, we made a beeline for the backstage where the models were being prepped, to set up my area and prepare the pieces to be showcased. With them speaking little to no English, it was quite a fun commotion with sign languages and explanation from one girl to another going about. As long as each girl knew what they had to do, I’m good.
The beautiful models
Besides getting involved in the fashion show, we also participated in the Fashion Bazaar so that customers could get a feel and try on the products. We wanted to learn what the European market was like, what the women usually wore and what they liked. It was definitely a huge learning experience. Our turbans were flying off the shelf quicker than I could put them on. We even had some of the ladies wearing them immediately! How cute right?
At the booth Twinsies!
Ladies from Pearls Of Islam (London); image by IZRS
A little bit of Nasyid by a local kindergarten; image by IZRS
A full house; image by IZRS
When the fashion show finally started and the models strutted down the stage, the audiences were very intrigued by the hijab styles that were showcased on stage. The response was encouraging with everyone amazed with the different styles that can be created with a piece of shawl. Immediately after the show, everyone flocked our booth, we almost wished we could split ourselves into two! Thank god I had my colleague with me to help show everyone how to style or put on a shawl. The number of times we had to change our own shawls to show them were beyond count.
Thank you ladies
Wow, what a time we had. All went well alhamdulillah. Dinner that night with the organizing team, allowed us to learn more about the culture and lifestyle for them as muslims in Switzerland (most of them in the council are converts). The thing which stuck most with us was learning that it is actually not easy to be practising Muslims there. It brought us back to humility and taught us to be more appreciative of how easy we are having it here in this part of the world.
In conclusion, we may have gone on this trip with business in mind, but what we brought back was a sense of spiritual awakening which was truly uplifting and inspiring.