Real Life: Nawal Alsaeed

Meet the local mom who is creating harmony in motherhood and modest fashion.

Nawal Alsaeed grew up struggling to find modest clothes that were fashionable and functional enough to fuel her creative side. Fast forward to today and she says it’s unbelievable that the clothing struggles for Muslim women and girls remain.

It’s something she’s working to change as she mixes her fashion-forward thinking as a fashion designer and businesswoman with motherhood as a mom to Naseem Aoude, 12, Nuredeen Aoude, 10, and Neveen Aoude, 7. Most recently, working closely with her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop, Troop 1313, she’s created a line of ethically manufactured Girl Scouts uniforms that embrace the iconic uniform without compromising on style and modest functional fashion Muslim girls need in their faith.

“They shouldn’t have to feel like an other,” says Alsaeed, of Dearborn.

Her design studio, Studious Monday, isn’t just a business for Alsaeed. “It was a chance for me to serve my community with unique needs, which reflects the nurturing aspects of motherhood,” she says.

She spent time recently chatting about how she wants her kids to see her pursuing her dreams without compromising on the love and care they deserve. “There’s a lot of mom guilt. There’s a lot of pressure on us working moms,” she says.

What have you learned about yourself since becoming a mom?

Photo credit: Lauren Jeziorski

She admits she’s a workaholic. “I believe the secret to balancing work and motherhood is to see them not as opposing forces, but as complementary parts of my life. When I first embraced motherhood, I found it very difficult because I thought I had to compromise the workforce and I didn’t want to do that. I found a synergy between them. Each role fuels my passion and dedication for the other,” she says.

What have you learned from your kids?

Compassion and adaptability, she says. Fashion, like motherhood, thrives on change and adaptability. “Motherhood has taught me that you have to be flexible and you have to be willing to pivot strategies whenever necessary.”

What are you hoping to teach your kids?

“I’m building a legacy for them. So that’s what I hope for them to see. I hope for them to see that Mom is working to build something everlasting for us. And I want them to see what hard work looks like and I want them to feel the fruits of that labor, because I want them to know what it feels like to work hard and then get rewarded,” she says.

She says it’s also important to her to help her children build their own business acumen to have a good life while not compromising their dreams.

As A Muslim, how does that influence your parenting style?

“I think that the Islamic tradition is a wonderful compass for myself and for our family, and I think it keeps them upright, it keeps them strong in their identity, it keeps them strong in who they are and where they come from, it gives them a sense of direction and it keeps them centered. We want that for our children. We want that for all human beings.”

But she worries, too, about systemic racism and xenophobia in this country.

“So as a minority and as a visible Muslim woman, I do fear for myself and for my children, especially with the most recent attacks, like in Chicago, that young 5-year-old that was stabbed in his apartment building. That scares me to death that someone random can just be so full of hate and just take another life,” she says.

She says awareness and education are key to combatting it, as is giving all children the right tools to do good in the world.

What advice would you give other moms in finding their own fashion sense? 

“Fashion is a creative process. So my best advice that I can give moms is to dig deep within. Your fashion style should be deeply personal. And for me, what is on the outside should match what’s on the inside,” she says. Know who you are and don’t feel pressured by the fashion trends, she says.

Fast Talk 

Photo credit: Lauren Jeziorski

Your favorite word: 

Courage. 

Your favorite place to shop for kids clothes: 

Nordstrom and Zara. 

Your favorite place to go out to eat with the kids:

Brome Modern Eatery in downtown Dearborn.

Your secret obsession: 

“Watching TV.” She says she loves a good limited docuseries and is binging Suits on Netflix.

Your personal tagline:

“Embrace courage, craft with passion and flourish in action.” 

What you hope your kids say about you to their friends: 

“My mom is a hard worker and she loves us and she tries her hardest to be with us all the time.”


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