As the first Muslim woman to compete for the United States fencing team, 30-year-old Ibtihaj Muhammad is celebrated both as a decorated athlete and as a trailblazer for Muslim-American women. Though her first passion—and the source of her initial recognition—is fencing, she saved some of her talent and energy for pursuits off the fencing strip.
More than a decade after she began fencing, Muhammad, along with her siblings, has launched a clothing company called Louella, based in Detroit, Michigan. Aimed specifically at women looking for modern conservative clothing, Louella carries dresses, shirts, and other items that are modest, affordable, and on trend.
Muhammad was certainly familiar with the void in the market that she hopes to fill with Louella: she got into fencing as a young teen because her mother found it was the only sport for which the uniform offered enough coverage.
While Muhammad continues to fence, and, most recently won a gold medal with the US team at the 2014 World Championships in Kazan, Russia, broadening her focus has helped create a more inclusive space for Muslim woman in America.