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Nadia Mustafa, yes my sister, has a lot to say. We've invited her unfiltered thoughts. Nadia has
She's shown an interest how the Halal hat collection came to be. She asked Atif.
Enter the Concrete Collection.
Atif Ateeq has released the final edition of his globally-selling Halal-Haram-Pyaar hats, this line in a sophisticated yet urban white on grey. The Pyaar hat dons a subtle splash of pale pink, in the way of a heart on the back (‘pyaar’ meaning ‘love’ in Urdu/Hindi) as well as a hued ‘P’ to accentuate the pyaar-yaar duality (‘yaar’ equaling ‘friend’).
When Ateeq launched the original Halal (‘MEANING HERE’) and Haram (‘MEANING HERE’) hats as a way for South Asian-Americans to proudly bare their lifestyle and ideals, he made a dozen of each. But there was a gravitational pull. That first weekend he sold 100 hats. “It immediately became clear to me that there is a subculture interested in fashion, music, etc., and that this sort of identity speaks to them,” says Ateeq, an artist and filmmaker who likes to “ask more questions than give answers”. The project’s success and what that represented became his impetus to launch HYFN.
Despite the hats’ popularity - there inevitably will be at least one or two people sporting one at any given gathering of brown folk in New York City - the concept has generated a bit of controversy (like any art worth its salt). “Some people said I was taking sacred words and opening them up for interpretation,” Ateeq relays. “But I stand firm that our generation needs to reinterpret at lot of things, for the society and time we live in today. If we don’t do that, we won’t progress.”
Is it haram or halal to get a tattoo? To drink? To date? To have sex? “In the desi community, there’s often no middle ground. You get forced into either the halal box, or the haram box,” laments Ateeq. “I believe there are no boxes; you can’t be on either end. We all exist on a spectrum between the two forces.”
The hats are, at the very least, a conversation piece. “I get stopped all the time because of what I’m wearing on my head, and that creates dialogue,” he says. Ideally, though, these pieces will foster pyaar, and fight the divides that exist around sects, socioeconomic status and religion within the brown community.
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