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Zehra and Sophia Naqvi on Combining Fashion and Social Justice

Meet the Homegirls: Co-founders of GLO, Fashion for the Socially Aware

by Lu Lu

Illustration by Manaal Sheikh

“Fair is better” they say.

The colorist society we live in has neglected the melting chocolate and decadent mocha that adorns the world’s palette.

Zehra is a student at Columbia University in New York City while Sophia is a high school student in Hong Kong. Growing up in Hong Kong, where South and Southeast Asians faced blatant discrimination, Zehra and Sophia Naqvi stood out from their peers for their religion and skin color. They received both Islamophobic jeers such as being called extremists and innocent side comments from friends about which color makes their skin appear lighter.

One of the changes the sisters want to see in the world is the acknowledgement of colorism in South Asia. Zehra only came to acknowledge colorism when she was about 16, because she had always internalized these notions and accepted them as a fact. Since colorism is an issue within an ethnic group they truly hope to see more improvement in the Asian community with colorism and acknowledgement of the issue.

The two sisters noticed the lack of discussion surrounding social issues in Hong Kong, so they decided to start their own clothing brand, GLO, that brings to attention issues such as colorism, feminism and female empowerment, and body positivity.

With their trendy T-shirts that are apt for modern social issues, GLO has taken the internet by storm. Their company boasts nearly 20 thousand followers on Instagram, posting pictures of diverse models of all shapes, sizes, and skin tones. Representation and equity is central to GLO, so their T-shirts flaunt empowering messages such as “dark skin is not a crime.” They believe that activism can be fun and fashionable as well as meaningful, and they aspire to give women the means to express themselves in the clothes that they wear.

To Zehra and Sophia, social justice and sustainability are closely linked, so they felt that making sure our production was more sustainable was something they had to do in order to release a campaign that would truly empower people. The brand also ensures an 100% ethical production process that is sustainable and affordable.

Running a business is never easy, and it's even harder for Zehra and Sophia since they must balance school, work, and time zone difficulties because they're on opposite sides of the world. But through their determination and enthusiasm to spread awareness, they are able to become young entrepreneurs making a difference in the world.

Visit their shop here:

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