Posted 14 December 2021

Watch Aminah Ali and Sadia Mir’s Pep Talk on being Muslim creatives

Our latest Pep Talk featured co-founders of the creative agency Redefining Concepts, Aminah Ali and Sadia Mir who answered all your questions on running a business and balancing their faith with their creative endeavours. Hosted by Steph Fung, Aminah and Sadia spoke about creating your own opportunities, working in fashion as Muslim creatives as well as sharing tips on networking.

The big talking points:

  • Making your own opportunities and building a business (05:10)
  • Running a creative agency and importance of in-person events (09:36)
  • How to manage running a business while studying (11:30)
  • Overcoming challenges, being consistent and juggling freelance work (14:18)
  • Balancing faith as a Muslim creative and learning to say “no” (16:56)
  • The importance of sticking to your principles in the creative space (19:46)
  • Promoting your work without showing your face on social media (21:30)
  • How to deal with creative blocks (23:48)

What did I miss?
After an introduction from our host Steph Fung, Aminah and Sadia shared their own mini-pep talk with us: “Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, always try to create your own”. After meeting on a shoot as teenagers, Aminah and Sadia explained how seeing such few creatives in the industry that looked like them inspired them to set up their own agency, Redefining Concepts. “If there weren’t people like us in the industry, then [other] people like us wouldn’t have anyone to look to”, the two shared. Now, after nearly five years, they’ve established a niche centred around connecting young, talented creatives to the industry and fostering diversity in the world of fashion.

Aminah and Sadia went on to explain how they do this in two ways; first, through creative campaigns that centre Muslim women; as well as an open door culture that extends to their community – allowing any curious creatives to shadow their daily practices. And with clients such as Refinery29, Nike, Adidas, Saatchi Gallery and London School of Economics, they have a lot to teach those they mentor!

The pair also shared their thoughts on the importance of balance while working on creative projects. Noting how a change of pace and setting can keep your creative juices flowing, they advised taking time out for a walk, meeting new creatives or simply being immersed in something new as methods that often work for them. When it comes to teamwork they also advised ensuring that everyone has the right role to both nourish their skills and fulfil the needs of the project.

“Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, always try to create your own.”

The discussion also focused on Aminah and Sadia’s unique perspectives as Muslim creatives. Speaking about how their faith influences which projects they take on, the two shared their thoughts on everything from promoting your work on Instagram without showing your face, to the power of saying “no” when you feel your principles are being compromised.

As a model, Aminah spoke about how her faith is always at the forefront of her mind when accepting work; a thought process which she also carries over into agency work. For Sadia, being picky with your clients and prioritising good content and camera quality are the best strategies for those who don’t wish to show their faces on social media.

Lastly, Aminah and Sadia also chatted about how they overcome their fear of networking by attending events together; why you shouldn’t let anyone know that you’re just starting out; and the benefits of taking risks.

About Redefining Concepts
Redefining Concepts is a full-service creative and talent agency, specialising in connecting young talent to the creative industry, while amplifying diversity in the fashion world.

Co-founded by Aminah and Sadia, Redefining Concepts originally started life as a social media platform, with the duo meeting hundreds of creatives in their first year alone. The next year, the platform relaunched as an agency, with 300 people attending their launch event in Soho. Today, their clients include the likes of Saatchi Gallery, London School of Economics, Refinery29, Nike and Adidas.

As well as running a photography studio in Canary Wharf, Redefining Concepts offer packages integrating photography and influencer marketing, and are also developing their own mentoring scheme.

About Aminah Ali
After graduating from London College of Fashion, Aminah set off to promote diversity in the fashion industry after realising that she was the only person on her course who wore a hijab. Breaking stereotypes around both the industry and her faith, Aminah is also a model and has worked with companies such as ASOS, Schuh and Superdry.

See more from Aminah here and on Instagram.

About Sadia Mir
Sadia is a creative director, artist, set designer and curator. Her practice sees her blend art, photography, influencing and curation, with further aspirations to become a teacher. As well as shooting fashion, Sadia also specialises in wedding and baby photography.

See more from Sadia on her Instagram.

Join Aminah and Sadia on 8th December as they discuss navigating the industry as a Muslim creative, diversity within industry and setting up your own business.

What is Pep Talk?
Pep Talk is our monthly Instagram Live event to share relatable, easy-to-process tips in conversation with inspiring creatives.

Each session begins with a ‘pep talk’, where a chosen creative gets to share their ultimate advice for anyone who might be feeling a bit stuck, before answering questions submitted by you, our readers.

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Written by Creative Lives in Progress