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Nzinga Knight

Place of Residence: New York City

Why She’s a Game Changer: Knight, a fashion designer, is also a Muslim American. She has created an Islamic-inspired line of fashionable clothes for women that is beautiful while respecting their beliefs.


Knight, a devout Muslim, doesn’t believe that women have to show all of their assets to look beautiful. That belief comes out in her designs, which include ankle length dresses, long sleeves and neck lines that don’t reveal much cleavage.

“The look of my work is sensual, mysterious, innovative,” Knight told AFP. “I felt a lot of women were wearing things because that’s what the magazines told them. It seemed each designer had the same point of view…I value coverage. I’m informed about it from the point of view of Islam,” she says, “but I embrace it from my own values about what that actually does for a woman. It elevates her.”

Watch an AFP news report about Knight here:

Knight’s clothes come in colors that pop. She says they hug women’s curves and have surprising small details. The clothes allow her to honor her faith while still making women look good. With parents from Guyana and Trinidad, Knight says her styles reflect her Caribbean roots. Her designs, which run from $365 for a blouse to $3,500 for a gown, are sold in high-end stores in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Knight also made her debut at New York City’s Fashion Week last year.

There’s a robust market for Knight’s designs. Some estimates put the size of the Muslim fashion market at $96 billion worldwide. And it’s not just Muslim women that are looking for less revealing, flattering fashion. Knight says she gets orders from women of all religions and backgrounds. But her designs aren’t solely about making money, said Knight. She wants to make women feel good.

“These clothes enable that sense of somebody actually looking at you in praise or in awe, as opposed to looking at you as, you know, a piece of meat because they’re seeing all your skin,” Knight told Radio Free Europe.

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