Ohio State student Hiba Alshahal talks about her fashion brand Verity

Ohio State University student Hiba Alshahal developed her Verity brand with the help of the nonprofit Frank Project, which has a store on Third Avenue in downtown Columbus.

At 19 years old, Hiba Alshahal is probably one of the youngest fashion designers in central Ohio. A 2021 graduate of Olentangy Liberty High School, she began developing her Verity brand with the help of the Frank Project, a Columbus nonprofit that helps marginalized youth learn the fashion business.

In October, she was the youngest designer involved in a fashion show for Fashion Week Columbus. “It was a very surreal experience,” she says. She attends Ohio State University and is thinking about how to continue developing her fashion brand.

When we spoke, you mentioned that as a student of Lebanese descent, you were the only brown girl in many of your classes at Olentangy Liberty High School. How did that affect your fashion sense? Growing up, I was a shy kid with terrible social anxiety, and it didn’t help that I was one of the few brown kids in my classes. I just wanted to be like everyone else because I thought I could fit in that way. I was ashamed of my culture and who I was, I was embarrassed when my friends came to my house and heard my mom playing Arabic music or saw the Koran.

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