This is an exclusive look into Hayati Magazine, its founder and its mission. Fatima Togbe created a new platform for Muslimahs to be able to express themselves, read up on the latest fashion and stay well rounded with house cleaning tips, recipes, faith articles and more.
By: Binta Mohammed
I am sure that you have heard stories about fashion magazine editors being all pointy elbows, high heels at dawn and preposterous. However I’m sure that in real life, you know that Fatima Togbe probably doesn’t fall under the popular ice queen editor legends.
After taking a virtual tour of her office, I was very surprised to find that the office of Fatima Togbe, the respected and influential editor-in-chief of Hayati Magazine, is kind of a mess.
She sits down to chat with me via Skype and slides a cup of tea closer towards herself before leisurely taking a sip… Wow! She’s a lot more relaxed and easy going then I imagined.
With clichés out of the equation, I notice that there’s something innocent and serene about Fatima; or perhaps diplomatic and courteous. I can’t decide.
Her face is attractive: big brown soft eyes, electrifying smile and a modelesque bone structure. She is 26 and Kate Moss slim, an impression enhanced by her choice of caftan: a green silk linen caftan with intricate bead work all around her neck and her sleeves and a black silk hijab which accentuates her face.Accessories are a gold Cartier watch and gold stud earrings.
As behooves her position, Fatima has her own style. Unlike other editors, she does not fuss about wearing clothes in the season they’re designed for. ‘I love mixing the old and the new.’ She has Dolce & Gabbana skirts from her mom’s 1980s storage that she still wears.
During her career Fatima has certainly done more than work a good look. When she founded Hayati Magazine, she was the one and online worker for up to 6 months. Her long days and sleepless nights have turned Hayati into what it is today. A former model, she speaks English, French and a smattering of Portuguese and still has an extensive portfolio and memories to look back on.
With an online audience of 880,000+ readers, Hayati Magazine may not be the powerhouse of the million-strong print title publications world-wide but with Fatima’s leadership it has gone from a non-existent title to a visually arresting, risk-taking title that out-fashions the fashionable in the Muslimah world and influences the influencers.
Hayati Magazine’s language is Islam. Fatima has skillfully found a way to incorporate every aspect of the Muslimah’s faith and lifestyle into a monthly publication. With a growing team of creative employees, Fatima now spends a lot of time in West Africa looking at ways to expand the Muslimah fashion industry.
Fatima was born in Philadelphia, USA, in a family that holds culture and education above everything else. Her mother encouraged her to go to university where she studied business administration and graduated.
Fatima then surprised everyone by starting a pastry business with her best friend immediately after graduating. The business lasted just a little over a year. While she was soul searching and dedicating herself more to Islam, she began to look for Muslimah magazines which could rival Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. When she found none, she started a blog and did not think much of it, until it turned into Hayati; a full blown magazine.
Fatima worked all day and night making her dream of owning a magazine a reality. It took time for her parents to approve, but eventually they became her greatest supporters.
To end our interview, I asked Fatima what Hayati Magazine’s mission is, she energetically replied: “Hayati is a Muslimah lifestyle magazine. Our mission is to influence Muslim women’s whole lives, helping them to be fashion-forward, smart and modern within the limits of Islam. With intelligent, in-depth writing and a current array of fashion that is both aspirational and accessible, Hayati inspires its readers to build not just personal style but personal power.