Shanaaz Jacobs-Copeland

Woman smiling
Shannaz Jacob-Copeland, Yaz's Designs
Image: Lahza Photography
Source: Museum Victoria
Shanaaz Jacobs-Copeland is the designer behind Yaz's Designs. Her designs are accessible to Muslim and mainstream women and are able to be worn with or without hijab. "I would describe my style as very sophisticated, stylish, innovative and comfortable."

Her designs range from casual wear to what Shanaaz describes as haute couture evening wear that is hijab compliant, while suitable for the red carpet.

Shanaaz is very visual, and believes in getting her designs on paper, and then finishing them to exact standards. "To me I feel that fashion is my calling. I feel it just comes naturally to me."

Video transcript

My name is Shanaaz Jacobs-Copeland. I'm from... originally, I was born in Cape Town, South Africa. I live in Melbourne, Australia. I've been doing fashion designing off and on for the last 20 years.

I think the hijab, for everyone, varies. They've got their own personal reason why they're wearing hijab. I think it's very personal. I think that's between you and your creator. And that's why I wanted to create something because I wasn't ready, at that time, to put on a hijab and I wanted to create something that, um... that I had in mind for girls like myself that wasn't wearing hijab, that the choice was there.

I would say that Islam inspire my fashion... a way, it does, and in a way, it doesn't, because I do have two labels. I have the Luvue one, which is hijab attached to the garment, but then it also varies because you can wear it as a hijab and you can wear it without a hijab. And with the Yazs, it's just open to everyone.

So I pretty much came up with the Luvue design, I wanted to... I wasn't wearing the hijab at the time. I was always just having my scarf hanging off my neck. It was more a cultural thing when you visit your aunties or if you go to Janazah, it was the time and place of everything. I was more raised with, you know, being a good Muslim, so having a good soul, than having to put a hijab on your head.

My designs vary. It's for women of all ages. It pretty much just depends how you want to wear it, what exactly you're looking for. But it's very versatile, very sophisticated, stylish, innovative, and comfortable.

I'm pretty much my own trendsetter. I don't... I like to wear something that's different and unique. To me, I feel that fashion is my calling. I just find it just comes naturally to me. I'm a very visual person. I would always just visualise my design and get it out on paper and just do it exactly to the way I see it.

Basically, what I'm trying to do is I wanted to create something, because I know there's a lot of Muslim women out there that's very fashionable. And there is ladies that want to get into the hijab, but because they're so fashionable, they find that it might maybe... interfere into the way, how they look. And that's why I wanted to create something that's very elegant, sophisticated, um... that you don't have to feel like that - everything is all matching, everything goes together, and you could set the same standards as someone that's not wearing a hijab and look great.

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