Girl Boss Hub: Shahad Mahdi

This feature of Girl Boss Hub is one that we at Infinitely Classic have been looking forward to for a while. This week, we are highlighting Shahad Mahdi, the founder of Black Orchid, pop-culture brand aimed towards positive Muslim and Ethnic representation. Black Orchid is one of the first Muslim-lead brands to be a part of the Fashion Zone at Ryerson University: a incubator for fashion related startups. As a fellow brand that aims to break societal norms and represent an often mis-represented demographic, it is incredible to see a fellow startup excel and thrive. We sat down with Shahad to see why she started Black Orchid and what resilience means to her.

What does resilience mean to you and how do you embody it?

Resilience is the ability to be so focused on your goal envision it, live it, breathe it, eat it and fall in love with it. Resilience is knowing that you will fail, knowing that you will probably go through hell but you put in all the work despite the fear. Resilience is being able to dissect your failures and knowing where you went wrong to do it again. Resilience is the essence of entrepreneurship.

Resilience is the essence of entrepreneurship.

There are so many look-a-like brands nowadays on the market that it is hard to differentiate one from another, how is your brand different?

I saw a need in society and through that I created a brand that embodied what I thought the solution should be. My brand is bold, different and unapologetically real. I am taking a different angle to representation Muslim and Ethnic women; showing our true power, diversity and amazingness.

Strength and Character, what Shahad embodies.

I am a feminist. I grew up in an Arab traditional society that practised sexism on daily basis. In the midst of it all my identity was conflicted. I was born into this world yelling at the top of my lungs letting the universe know that "I have arrived; I am loud and strong". Being a weak female, waiting for a man to come put her life together, made zero sense to me. I think every thing that I do is heavily influenced by me trying to prove to the world that us (women, especially Ethnic and Muslim) are strong and fully capable of leading fabulous lives and making radical changes.

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