On February 15th, a new milestone in the modest fashion world. For the near million Muslimahs who pound up and down Broadway in New York City, searching for the cool, casual, and covered, there may be one stop shopping now that the Verona Collection is launching in Macy’s flagship story on 34th Street.
The line created by M-Divas, Lisa Vogl and Alaa Ammuss, will have you dressed without stress, with their high fashion that flatters as much it flabbergasts. The double-breasted Lucianna Maxi Dress, can easily serve as an abaya for those who want to keep their jewels wrapped or as a dress for those who want to add some Casa Blanca drama.
For those of you who are not in the area, Verona Collection has an online shop and for those who live in the Pan Handle, they also have store in Orlando Fashion Square and their online shop.
How did all of this happen? Cover spoke to Lisa who told us her story.
Hijab: From Copy to Cover
Some of us actively seek Islam, but Vogl fell into it on accident. In a Why Islam speech she talked about her going a trip to Morocco where just to fit in she began wearing hijab without knowing a thing about Islam. Allah guides whom He will. Later on, at the start of her career as a photographer, she did a documentary on hijab, and meeting Muslims and began reading about Islam and the Quran and the rest is history.
Her foray into the fashion world came around 2013 when she did a photoshoot for hijab fashion brand Haute Hijab with her friend, the multi-talented, YaztheSpaz. On YoutTube, you can see one of their first photoshoots. “My career started out working with YaztheSpaz. I miss our days working together.” Those days, Vogl says laid the foundation of her success today. “I think my background in photography truly gave me an edge with Verona because imagery is everything when launching a clothing brand. It also gave me years of experience working with modest fashion brands learning the ins and the outs of the industry along with numerous invaluable contacts.”
Some might wonder why a modest clothing brand might be named Verona, Vogl said, that she wanted to be a brand for everyone, not just Muslims:
“We initially launched online and shipped out of my closest. Within just two weeks we outgrew our space. Two months after that, we moved in to a warehouse. By our sixth month demand from our European customers began to grow, we added in a second shipping distribution in London UK. It was shortly after this, we launched our first brick and mortar store in May 2016.” Starting out of one’s closet meant that her initial investment which was relatively low. This is the benefit of starting small and on the Internet. She and Ammuss, began with just $7000 and since then she says, “We have grown organically only taking small loans when needed to build the company.
Bringing Modest to the Mainstream
Being a crossover brand means a wider customer base, a hint to those who might want to take the same route. “The majority of our customers would be Millennial Muslims. We also have a large range of non-Muslim customers who just like the fashion or customers who want to dress a bit more modestly.” Verona collection makes this easy, our favorites is their active wear, with her knee-length hoodie tops to her baggy pant burkini.
As a revert to Islam, Vogl understands the need for acceptance. She remembers first putting on hijab as a Muslim, “as difficult”. So, the hope is, that Verona is one brand that could change how people think about modest dress in the United States, “The beauty of America is that it’s a diverse land and with should live in a country that loves and respects everyone’s differences.”
Lisa Vogl might be the face of Verona Collection, behind that lovely hijab, but there is a team of company directors Alaa Ammuss, Hassan Mawji, Nadine Abu-Jubara and herself. Then, there is IT, customer service, graphic design and store/warehouse staff. Without this really amazing team, Verona wouldn’t have become what it has.” On the company Facebook page, Vogl gives her customers a shout out as well, “Because the reality is, without them, Verona wouldn’t exist.