As a Muslim woman, Hassan chooses to dress modestly. And she's not alone. Many women across Australia have dressed modestly for years, whether it's for religious, cultural or personal reasons. But the struggle to find outfits that are stylish yet appropriate has been endless. Hassan knows this all too well, recalling awkward shopping experiences in Melbourne when she arrived as a Somali refugee during high school.
"When you're a teen, you want to dress up, you want to follow trends, but in a way that is still authentic to you. It was really almost impossible," she tells Refinery29 Australia.
"I would layer things. I'd buy pants and put a skirt on top. Everything was layered all the time, and we would never go to one shop and find something."
Whether it was a cut-out, a sheer panel or a short hemline, there was often something that prevented Hassan from purchasing what was otherwise a stylish outfit. The lack of choice prompted her to start making her own clothes.
"It was not satisfying," she reflects on the limited options she saw in stores. "It almost felt like, 'Oh, you just have to deal with this. This is what is offered to you, take it'. But it's like, I have this idea of how I want to dress and I can't buy it, so I'll just make it."
In Australia, the modest fashion movement is far from mainstream. It's long been viewed as a part of fashion that serves a minority of women. Hassan personally loves wearing looser silhouettes and full-length, contemporary cuts that have more coverage. She says that Muslim women in particular have often been misunderstood because of their modest fashion choices.
"It's hard, because people used to think, or they still sometimes say, 'The goal — isn't it to be free or more westernised as you're in a western country? [They're] assuming that I chose not to wear this," she says.
"We do live in Australia at the end of the day, and we do have a choice. We can do whatever we want, but I choose to dress modestly."
Hassan envisions modest fashion transcending cultures in the future, and becoming more mainstream for people who don't always want to flash their flesh or, as she says, "are sick and tired of being told, 'Sex sells'."
"I see a different future now. I think it's actually going to be more normal to wear modest clothing regardless of your religion," she says. "It's going to become more mainstream in the long-term."
She refers to Yves Saint Laurent's historic moment in 1966, when he designed a black suit for women despite social prejudice at the time that women shouldn't wear long pants in public.
"I always put it the same as when YSL made suits for women. It was a long time ago, and it seemed super weird to have suits on women," says Hassan. "But now, every girl has at least four blazers in their closet. So, in the future, that's what I imagine [for modest fashion]."
It almost felt like, 'Oh, you just have to deal with this. This is what is offered to you, take it'.
After being a part of the Next Gen runway show last year, which showcased a selection of emerging designers, Asiyam has its own standalone catwalk at AAFW 2023. Presenting 30 looks this year as opposed to just 12 in 2022 means a lot more preparation, but it also provides an opportunity for more creativity and diversity of pieces on the runway.
I see a different future now. I think it's actually going to be more normal to wear modest clothing regardless of your religion.
"My normal DNA is that I love pleats, flowy silhouettes and long gowns," says Hassan, explaining that attention to detail is key for her label that prides itself on being luxurious yet accessible. She wants women from different communities to feel represented in this show. She wants cultural aspects of certain outfits to be reflected in the intricate designs, but also featuring her own modern twist.
"I still like it to be contemporary," she explains. "Let's say, if it was a particular abaya [a traditional piece of clothing worn by Muslim women, particularly in Arab countries], you'd be like, 'Yes 100%, that's a black abaya for someone in Saudi or Dubai... You can imagine it.
"But then I wanted to sort of go out of my comfort zone a little bit by having the same silhouette while also being contemporary, and a little bit brighter in terms of colours as well."
Ultimately, Hassan asks for people to "be open-minded" when they see the show. She says she isn't conveying that modest fashion is superior — she's simply asking people to listen to others and allow themselves "to be inspired by someone that's different to you".
"I think fashion is identity and cultural revolution. You can influence society through fashion, and that's hopefully what I'm trying to do in the long term."