Keep on going! Be yourself, be original, be authentic and help people. It is your life, you are the main actor of your movie. Don’t let people bring you down… don’t let people change you in negative way… and when you are getting famous- don’t let fame change you. Everything in this world is temporary - Franka SoeriaNatanegara Semin
1. Who is Franka?
I am a Global Fashion Networker as i do many things at the same time while working for different countries. I am also in charge of International Relation for Indonesia Fashion Week, International Relation Manager of Modanisa.com (based in Turkey), Co-founder of Alahijab.com and Executive Editor of a New York magazine (Coming Soon). In addition to that I am journalist, fashion stylist, copywriter, fashion publicist and everything in between.
2. What is A La Hijab?
A la Hijab (alahijab.com) is the only global social media platform dedicated to Islamic Fashion, a social media platform that unites all hijab fashion enthusiasts from designers, brands, buyers, bloggers and fashion lovers. A la Hijab eases the aim to unite fashion enthusiasts around the world in one platform. A la Hijab will help its users to grow their networks and expanding their market based in Turkey and London.
3. What does Hijabi/Islamic fashion mean to you?
Hijab is an ambassador of Islam. It is more than just a cloth covering the hair. For me it is really important to balance both the way of dressing and the attitude. For me Islamic fashion exist because of the need of dressing with Islamic codes. I see Islamic fashion as a stage to each personality. Some are still in early stage (wearing pants, turban and all), some maybe in advance stage (wearing more loose dresses and long hijab that covers the chest area). Everybody has their own adventure and phases.. So personally I don’t judge people based on their clothes. I don’t think of myself as perfect hijabi, I am still on the phase trying to be better and better every day. Again,i believe it is important to balance both ones personality and way of dressing.
4. What do you think about the industry today?
The Industry today is overwhelming. Everybody is doing anything related with hijab fashion- which is good. The energy is there. You see the numbers of bloggers are so high and also, new brands and designers. Social media makes fame more accessible for everybody. Then again I hope with all the glitz and glam and the competition between bloggers, it won’t change our kind attitude as Muslims. In the end, we are all hijabi's who have the responsibility to make a good image of the hijabi and Islam in general.
Franka SoeriaNatanegara Semin
5. What are the challenges you have faced throughout achieving your line/brand?
Challenges are great. It keeps you alive, down to earth and constantly reminds you of Allah. I started everything from ground zero. Whether it was promoting somebody’s record album (when I was a manager for new singers), creating a new magazine (when I was a journalist), creating a new brand (when I was hired as designer) and creating new social media with A la Hijab team now.
However, you always have to remember there will always be people who try to bring you down; they will underestimate you, they will trick you, they will ignore you and even go to the extent of stabbing you in the back. This is all okay, it’s part of challenges you have to go through - it’s a process to make you even wiser. Try to enjoy every process you face.
One thing we should stop doing is stop thinking that you shall get instant success. I believe instant success means temporary fame. Anyway, seeing your project grow day by day is like seeing your baby grow. If I have the option of joining the well established project or starting from zero… I will definitely choose the second one.
6. What channeled you to start A la Hijab?
A la Hijab is a startup. We went from beta phase and now just opened for the public for about a month. Our competitor are the established social media Platforms, but when we see their history- their success did not happen on one night either. As mentioned earlier, I prefer sustainable success rather than instant success.
7. Did you have any goal or target towards it?
I saw that hijabi Fashion needs a new social platform dedicated only for them. I know we have other established social media, but it is hard to find other hijabis from specific location and also specific products from specific location. I also saw on the old platforms that hijabis are kinda of competing with the likes.After that i saw A la Hijab as a comfort home for everybody who wants to connect with other hijabis, brands, designers around the Globe.
Franka SoeriaNatanegara Semin
8. What positivity have you gotten from starting A La Hijab? How has it helped you to mold yourself into what you are today?
The positive side for me, is that i become a more patient person day by day. I approached different people from different cultures, which is a different habit and way of communication. I got the chance to see how different Allah's creations are. I begun to think out of the box - that whatever country one came from, we are all created by the same God.
9. Did you ever question your abilities when things didn't go according to the way you fore saw them to turn out?
Good question. Ofcourse I did. The thing about me is I constantly think of myself as a learner. Making mistake is a normal trait in each one of us, it actually means you are trying to do something. I have failed in the past as well, but i just have to keep on fighting. They say ¨A Cat has 9 lives… why don’t we?¨ As far as I know, whatever you do- as long as you are consistent and of course praying, you will reach the goals.
10. Tell me about what projects you have done throughout? Have they changed you as an individual? Have they made you to look at the Hijabi/Muslim industry differently?
My background is music, movie, fiction writing, journalism and of course fashion. I started making my own money since I was 5 years old by creating a jingle song for an ice cream company that is still played on until now in Indonesia. I sold my screenplays to TV since I was 4th grade.
My father is like Michael Jackson's father. He constantly pushed me to create something- which is good. From him I learnt about Hard work. I made my way to fashion- long before I wore hijab. I was a stylist for singers then i become a fashion writer and stylist for magazines, became a copywriter of Indonesia Fashion Week, then I upgrade my career as consultant and Public Relations Practitioner for designers and brands. After wearing the hijab I started focusing more on modest fashion but on global scale. I see Islamic fashion as a totally different world from the universal fashion World.
11. Who is your inspiration? And why that particular person? Do they contribute to your achievements?
Anna Wintour She helps people to shine. That is what I always try to do. I share my spotlights to others… I met her in Milan, which is an awesome experience.
12. Where do you see yourself 5years from now and what do you want to achieve? Do you have a dream of making a change in the fashion industry (tell us more about this)? What is your drive to making this change?
I see myself helping people grow their fashion career in a bigger scale. My long journey made me think that the fashion industry should be a friendlier place for everybody. The road that I took was not easy. I ‘bled’ so much in the past.
When you are trying to be kind, there are always people who will abuse your kindness. Therefore I don’t want to change myself even a single way. What I want to do is when I reach a higher position with a bigger impact- I will spread this energy with people even more:
The fashion industry should be a warmer place.. not always the one that you see on the movie like Devils Wears Prada.
Franka SoeriaNatanegara Semin