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Roya Hashami / Elegance Fashion Boutique

Posted on Nov 14,2007
Filed Under Local Leaders , Community,

Roya Hashami/Elegance Fashion Boutique
1311 King Street
Alexandria VA 22314
(703) 838-9282

About Roya:
Although born in Germany, Roya grew up in Afghanistan (where her family is from). At 16, when the USSR invaded her home, the family moved back to Germany and settled. Living in Hamburg, Roya studied fashion design for seven years and then worked in Hamburg for a local designer making dresses. In 1997, Roya moved to the United States and married.

About Elegance:
In 1998 Elegance opened. (Roya first sold 200 pieces out of her house in order to pay to open the store.) “My first order was to an Australian – I could barely understand her (I had studied English for only two weeks at the time), but it made me very happy! Most of my work, probably 95% of it is couture work – made to measure. I do custom design, eveningwear, bridal, shower, alterations and repairs.

Recently Roya went back to Afghanistan with a plan – employ as many tailors as she could to make as many dresses as they could in the short time she would be there. She was amazed when she found herself with 100 dresses to take back to the US. “There are many talented people in Afghanistan looking for work. I set up a small factory and was able to provide them work for the short amount of time I was there. I hope to sell these dresses so I can go back next time and employ them for a longer period of time. Eventually my dream is to provide them with enough work to keep the factory open full-time so they can live comfortably.”

Roya’s dreams don’t end there. “I also met children who showed me their small school which had been partially destroyed by the Taliban. I’m hoping to use the income from my work to help rebuild the school. The town also desperately needs new wells dug for drinking water and irrigation. I’m not rich, but I’ve learned that it doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference over there.”    

Business Philosophy:
“I promised them – that’s all I think about now. I strive to do my best for my clients here so I can help the people I’ve met in Afghanistan. It’s a great country. They are great people. They just need some help right now - I hope I can do that.”

Why did you choose to do this?
“I love my work. I’m always happy here. I’ve loved fashion for as long as I can remember. I’ve had a lot of support. When I was growing up, my mother used to point to dresses in shops and say, ‘You could do that Roya!’”

Why Alexandria?
“I met someone from Alexandria & we got married. Old Town is for me. It reminds me a lot of Europe. I love it here and I never have a day that I don’t want to be here!”

Funny Story?
“I was having a fashion show soon after I opened my boutique. It was really hard to answer questions because I was still learning English. A woman came into the shop and said, ‘I’m really mad at you – you’re responsible for the damage to my car!’ I was shaking – what did I do? I didn’t know what to say. The woman then continued, ‘Your window is too beautiful. I was looking at it driving by and ran into the car in front of me!’ I then realized she wasn’t really mad at me - she was complementing my store. We both laughed!”

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