MEDELITA Medical Hijab

The New & Improved MEDELITA Medical Hijab Launches on World Hijab Day 2022

Today, On World Hijab Day 2022, MEDELITA is excited to announce the launch of our Medical Hijab. The garment was developed in close collaboration between MEDELITA founder Lara Francisco, PA-C, and her PA school colleague Shaheen Lakhani, PA-C, with help from other hijabis in medicine.

World Hijab Day provides an opportunity to learn about the beauty as well as the cultural and religious roots of hijab. It also serves as an opportunity to express gratitude for hijabi women who help raise our communities up.

Hijab is a form of modest dress as prescribed for women by the Muslim faith. It is a choice Muslim women can make when they come of age or after, and involves varying degrees of covering the body, usually including the hair, ears, neck, and below, apart from the hands, while also wearing loose-fitting clothing. The purpose is to let a woman’s personality shine through for others to see.

Shaheen explains that the hijab, “brings ‘you’ into the focus, you-inside, not your outside.”

She goes on to say that it’s a misconception that the hijab and modest dress are meant to be restrictive. In fact, Muslimah women are actually encouraged to be present and visible in the world and the hijab lets their personality and achievements become their outward appearance. In addition, hijab serves as a display of religious devotion and celebration.

MEDELITA, Inclusivity, Innovation

Lara started MEDELITA with the mission to provide herself and other women in healthcare with properly tailored, functional, high quality garments that they deserve as an alternative to the ill-fitting unisex scrubs and lab coats that were available at the time. Her focus on inclusivity and purpose brought her to create the first lab coat specifically designed for the female clinician.

The resulting popularity and demand for the piece drove Lara to continue innovating on her own designs, new styles, and new garments to better serve the underrepresented in medical professions.

This milestone had a cascading effect in the industry whereby competitors came to market with medical uniforms built for women en masse. Though ultimately at the benefit of women working in medicine, these other companies never seemed to step up to the calling of serving the marginalized with authenticity and purpose. New products would only crop up in the most profitable categories, mainly scrub tops and bottoms. Products released in new categories tended to be under researched and poorly constructed. Medical hijabs were one such poor attempt.

Being that the brand’s purpose is to promote inclusivity in the medical field by providing quality pieces for the under-served in the medical profession, Lara was determined to step up to fill the void left by the competition. She was confident that MEDELITA could do better, and began developing a medical hijab worthy of her deserving hijabi colleagues.

Lara recognized that this project was, “an opportunity to offer hijabi women in medicine something that can really change their everyday life and make them more comfortable, make them feel professional, give them a garment that they deserve that’s specific to medicine.”

Creating a Hijab Worthy of Hijabis in Medicine

The first version of the MEDELITA Medical Hijab was introduced in March 2019. It was a success, but in listening to the community Lara learned of some opportunities to make improvements. The launch included just one colorway, black, and many members of the community asked for more on-trend colors. Others advised that the pattern needed to be longer all around and provide better stethoscope access. Lara, dedicated to listening to the customer and evolving MEDELITA products to best serve her colleagues, was determined to improve on the design.

In building the second version of MEDELITA Medical Hijab, Lara decided to reach out to Shaheen, her colleague and friend of 25 years, seeking a collaboration. The pair went to PA school together, first meeting in 1997, and then graduated together in 1999. The two kept in touch after graduation with Shaheen cheering Lara on as she founded and grew MEDELITA through a focus on listening to and providing purposeful products for her deserving colleagues in medicine.

When Lara came to Shaheen to request her help, Shaheen jumped at the opportunity. “I didn’t hesitate at all to say yes when you asked because I know what you stand for and I know that you want to give strength to women in healthcare because we may not always be seen,” Shaheen explained. “But you see us.” The pair began working closely on the pattern and explored color options, frequently consulting other hijabis in medicine to validate their direction.

The first version of the MEDELITA Medical Hijab was introduced in March 2019. It was a success, but in listening to the community Lara learned of some opportunities to make improvements. The launch included just one colorway, black, and many members of the community asked for more on-trend colors. Others advised that the pattern needed to be longer all around and provide better stethoscope access. Lara, dedicated to listening to the customer and evolving MEDELITA products to best serve her colleagues, was determined to improve on the design.

In building the second version of MEDELITA Medical Hijab, Lara decided to reach out to Shaheen, her colleague and friend of 25 years, seeking a collaboration. The pair went to PA school together, first meeting in 1997, and then graduated together in 1999. The two kept in touch after graduation with Shaheen cheering Lara on as she founded and grew MEDELITA through a focus on listening to and providing purposeful products for her deserving colleagues in medicine.

When Lara came to Shaheen to request her help, Shaheen jumped at the opportunity. “I didn’t hesitate at all to say yes when you asked because I know what you stand for and I know that you want to give strength to women in healthcare because we may not always be seen,” Shaheen explained. “But you see us.” The pair began working closely on the pattern and explored color options, frequently consulting other hijabis in medicine to validate their direction.

In 2020 the struggles of the pandemic accelerated the project. Lara and Shaheen recognized the mounting need for a hijab that allows for easy, discreet ear access for mask wearing and stethoscope auscultation without having to compromise on their commitment to modesty or constantly run to the bathroom to adjust their covering.

Shaheen herself explained that she resorted to auscultating over her hijab in order to quickly attend to her patients and avoid fighting with her coverings. Some of her hijabi colleagues made the difficult decision to reduce their coverings in order to better serve their patients. Lara and Shaheen both felt this was unfair and something had to be done to allow these hard working women to not have to make that sacrifice.They got to work on the design and incorporated the requests received in response to the first version.

Shaheen explains that she and Lara intended to, “put something forward that is honoring the women, making every woman who puts it on feel as beautiful with it on as she already is. Make it feel easy. Make it feel like something that she doesn’t have to think about or fuss about – it’s just there.”

The resulting hijab is a comfortable modest dress essential that provides easy yet shielded access to the ears, effortless slip-on design, pinless styling, and a beautiful variety of colors.

The MEDELITA Medical Hijab features ear openings that are perfectly placed, allowing for no-fuss access for stethoscope auscultation, earbuds, and mask ear loops. Competitors’ hijabs with ear access either do not line up correctly with the ear canal or do not allow for the ear slit to be covered once the stethoscope, mask or ear buds are placed. The hijab features an ideal length on all sides with a tail that allows for a variety of styling options, whereas competing hijabs are not long enough. The fabric clings to itself eliminating the need for pins, magnets, and underscarves. It drapes naturally to create a gorgeous frame around the face. The MEDELITA Medical Hijab is the most thoughtful, intentionally designed medical hijab available, all at an extremely competitive price point.

The hijab is available in 4 colors: dark blue, agave, blush, and dusty rose. These colors beautifully pair with our scrub colors. Shaheen’s favorite combinations include dusty rose and ocean scrubs, blush and sangria scrubs, agave and black or grey scrubs, dark blue and navy scrubs.

Truly An Honor

The project is reminiscent of the women’s lab coats that served as the founding products for the company 15 years ago. Lara explains that developing the new hijab has been about, “bringing a product to market that’s a necessity that didn’t exist prior.”

“This is the reason I started MEDELITA, to do innovative, purposeful, thoughtful projects like this for my colleagues,” says Lara.

MEDELITA is honored to provide the all-new medical hijab for the amazing hijabi women working in healthcare. This launch is proof that the brand continues to listen to and serve those who are least heard in the medical community. MEDELITA continues to innovate and evolve to better serve our colleagues in the medical community.

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