Meet the People Behind the Scenes:
Farah Alhafez, Founder
Immigrating from Syria at the age of 5, Farah learned of the difference in culture at a young age. Through years of growing in the United States, she noticed that there was not a lot of representation of Arab individuals in media and fashion. Due to lack of representation, she would embarrassingly push away from her culture and heritage as an attempt to fit into American society. Years later, through sociological studies of the diversity within the United States, she gained a sense of pride in being of a different background. The inclusive nature of her major granted her a different perspective than the one she had growing up. She wanted to advocate for those underrepresented. In 2019, she launched AMNiMODA with the objective to allow anyone and everyone to feel seen and to grant them their “moment”. By capturing unique styles and stories of diverse individuals in Los Angeles, Farah found a way to push for the inclusivity and representation she had always longed to see. Through AMNiMODA, she hopes to grow an empowering community while pushing for greater change in terms of representation of diverse individuals in fashion and media.
Gayle Velasco, Marketing Director
Growing up, Gayle was often conflicted with identity on her Filipino heritage and American upbringing. Either being told she’s ‘not Filipino for her inability to speak Tagalog and being born in the US’ or, being stereotyped over ‘what asian’ she is- common guesses are Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Chinese. Filipinos she comes across often comment on the lightness of her skin- she notes, “Within the Filipino culture, skin tone is a common focus. This goes back to the racism and implied caste system that still exists today in the Philippines. This needs to change.” Gayle hopes through AMNIMODA she can help cultivate a community where people are accepting & appreciative of all individual’s unique traits. She also hopes to continue learning and broadening her perspective on what it means to truly be inclusive and topics on important social movements. There is a lot of work left to be done in terms of inclusivity and representation within fashion. However, she feels that we are on the road to REAL social transformation; and that inspires her to keep going. “We’ve lived in a world for too long that limits our ability to show our own beautiful, unique traits. Expecting to only accept one type of “right” body image or style is now outdated and frowned upon. We are entering a new phase of acceptance and love, and I can’t be more grateful to be part of this movement and help be that change.”
Elizabeth Lee, Creative Director & Editor
Growing up a 2nd Generation Korean American, Elizabeth Sun Lee struggled with both her American and Korean identities in regards to accepting herself and her body image. She believes that it is important to include and bring awareness to all different walks of life. Through AMNiMODA, Elizabeth hopes to impact people’s lives by pushing them to love themselves exactly the way they are, not through other people’s expectations or within society’s standards. Not only does she want people to feel confident with their physical appearance, but with their minds as well. Mental health is very important to her because she believes that everything starts from within. For her, having a healthy mind promotes a positive perception of oneself inside and out. Through AMNiMODA, She hopes to share stories that bring awareness to mental health to both her cultural communities.
Mit Patel, Data & Analytics
Mit was born and raised in Gujarat – one of the most historical and culturally diverse states in western India. He immigrated to the United States at the age of 10, yet he carries his Indian roots proudly and profoundly till this day. He struggled a lot initially, trying to fit into the American culture and surroundings, as it was all completely new and different. Slowly, Mit began to notice that even in the US, Indian culture is appreciated and celebrated to a certain extent. At university Mit became more aware of the difference in culture, personality, style and fashion that separated him not only from Americans, but also other Indians. India was slowly catching up to the standards of American style and fashion, however, when he immigrated to the States, they were quite behind. Through the years, Mit noticed a shift in American culture that hadn’t caught up to a large part of the rest of the world, the advocacy for inclusion and diversity in media. He admired seeing greater representation of Indians in American media and wanted to be a part of this change. He joined the AMNiMODA team in hopes of spreading the message of inclusivity and hopes to inspire greater change in the United States and India. Through AMNiMODA, Mit aspires to build and grow a community that will be noticed, heard, appreciated, celebrated, and most importantly, loved, by not just one another, but by everyone that comes across it.