Style File: Badhaftu Kadir

By Mara Aussendorf

This week I sat down with Badhaftu Kadir ’14, activist, self-proclaimed “rambunctious go-getter,” and someone I am honored to call a good friend. She entered the room in true Badhaftu fashion, blinding me with her sparkly gold shirt and bright blue pants. As a friend, I’ve had the opportunity to hear many descriptions of Kadir over the years and this fierce fashionista has been called many things, but “quiet” is not one of them. This characteristic can be seen in both her personality and her creative, colorful outfits. She discusses head scarves, how the news influences her fashion choices and Mac style. TMW: How would you describe your style?
I don’t have a set style; I just wear what I like. I’ve thought about this a lot, what my sense of style is, because I feel like a lot of blogs or people have an individual set style. They’re very specific and you know what they wear, but I think my style is just wearing what I want and I don’t really care about having a set style. But I do really like shoes. Shoes are really important. Why are shoes so important?
That’s the first thing I look at. When I look at someone, I look at their shoes. And if the shoes aren’t that cool, it’s like, I don’t want to look up. I also like good scarves. Good scarves for life. Head scarves. Number one: they’re just cool. And number two: if you’re having a bad hair day? Instant fix! Then people just assume that you’re cool and that you have a good sense of style. I wear scarves because as a child I wore scarves because I was Muslim—not that I’m not Muslim now, but I’m less religious I would say. When I was a kid, like in middle school and high school, I hated wearing scarves, but now I’m embracing the scarf. Were you required to wear head scarves when you were young?
No. When I was in second grade, I was like, “I want to start wearing a scarf,” and my mom was like, “Okay, I’ll start buying you guys scarves.” That was weird; I feel like a lot of other families wear scarves at four [years old], but my mom was just like, “Wear it whenever you feel like it.” Now I wear them a lot. I feel like it’s more for fashion reasons now. How do you feel about non-Muslims wearing head scarves?
I feel like if you wear it not to be offensive or to appropriate the culture or religion, then it’s fine. But if you’re not doing it in a positive way, then I feel like you shouldn’t do that. I feel like sometimes people obsess in a weird way over someone else’s culture and it’s uncomfortable. There’s a difference between liking something and being weirdly obsessed and thinking it’s your own culture. I feel like a lot of people do that. They go abroad and then they pretend like they’re experts on the culture just because they have a purse and a headband and speak Spanish now. You’ve mentioned that your style has changed since coming to Macalester. Does that have to do anything with the freedom that comes with being on your own?
Yes. In high school my mom bought a lot of my clothes, but now that I’m in college, I’m buying most of my clothes. Sometimes my mom doesn’t understand my clothing choices and is like, “What are you doing?” One day, she was like, “Why are you wearing grandma shoes?” and I said, “Because I like them,” and she’s like, “No, it’s because you’re in college and have the freedom to dress crappy.” Also, now I read blogs and tumblr and stuff and have more time to be inspired by fashion. What blogs do you read?
There’s this blog I started following a few days ago because I’m going to study abroad in Morocco next spring. It’s called Fashion is Here, and it’s this 18-year-old boy named Ayoub, who is just in Casablanca killin’ it with his men’s fashion. I’ve started to really like men’s fashion. I feel like they have fewer options and all their clothes cost more. So it’s interesting to see what boys do—like my brother. Sometimes I think I created him and his swagger. Do you think your style will change when you go to Morocco?
I think all experiences influence your fashion. Anything can influence what you think about society, for example, fashion, music, news. So going to Morocco will definitely have some influence on my style. What are some of those other societal influences on your fashion?
I would say music is a big influence because I’m obsessed with music, slash, I read 10 million music blogs and download a million songs a day and secretly, if I could just drop out of college and write a music blog, I would, but I don’t think my mom would like that. I think music definitely does have an influence on my style, and I’m obsessed with the 90s in general. I love fashion of the90s. Acid wash jeans, high top fades, colorful track jackets, cool sneakers and high-waisted shorts. I’m just really into the 90s and I’m really obsessed with90s music, so that probably worked into my `90s obsession. Aaliyah was really influential with her crop tops and baggy pants and just showing that you can do a bunch of things with that. And girl groups and the Backstreet Boys and all that stuff all influence what I thought was cool. I was really into overalls and still want some that fit me. Do you have any other influences?
The news, kind of. In high school I just really didn’t want to wear a scarf. But after I could realize what 9/11 meant, I was proud to wear one because I feel like a lot of people thought, “scarf people are terrorists,” and things like that, so it definitely made me want to wear scarves more and not being ashamed or angry that I have to wear one. Another big influence is my mom. Looking back at pictures of her before I was a born, she’s really stylish and cool. As a kid, I loved going shopping and having new clothes, even if I didn’t always make great fashion decisions, aka ponchos, which my whole family is obsessed with; I had five in every color, which was a horrible choice. I think my mom still has them. They’re never going to come back and I’m never going to wear those dreaded ponchos again. What role does fashion play in your life?
I think it allows me to express myself and show people a part of my personality. I mean, I don’t want to be judged by how I look, but I think that regardless of what people do and how they look, people judge you. I use fashion to portray who I am as a person and what I want the world to know about me, like that I’m fun and outgoing and a good person. Last words?
In the words of ASAP Rocky: “Fuck fly, I am fashion.” refresh –>