“If you love what you do and are willing to do what it takes, it’s within your reach. And it’ll be worth every minute you spend alone at night, thinking and thinking about what it is you want to design or build.” Steve Wozniak
When I came across the message behind Lis’n Up Clothing, what flitted across my mind was that life has a deeper meaning when you realise you’ve been blessed in extending both hands out to others. A question asked more often than not is, “If you give yourself to every soul that asked, would there be anything left of you?” Yes! Because your widely overlooked deeds of kindness and love have meaning. They have soul!
2011 marked a milestone for young Boston entrepreneur Adam Khafif, with the debut of his streetwear brand collection Lis’n Up. Khafif, 22, a Babson College graduate collaborates with athletes and artists amongst others to release clothing brands called “Albums”.
“With each new collaborator, we like to build a new experience around a different cause that is meaningful to them. It’s like creating a brand within a brand, which is super fun and very rewarding,” Khafif explains.
One collaboration that has stolen the show is ‘The Noor Effect.’ Acclaimed journalist, 23 year-old, Noor Tagouri, a Libyan American joined founder Adam Khafif in launching this clothing line to combat sex trafficking and aid those that have become victims of it. Tagouri, a graduate of the University of Maryland is widely acknowledged for her storytelling passion and significant breakthrough in combating challenges that women face. The duo worked alongside Project Futures, a non-profit organisation, donating 50% of profits to help combat sex trafficking and slavery, raising awareness worldwide.
In a recently conducted interview, we were given a little more insight into their passions.
Faatimah B: Lis’n Up – Take us through your journey working with athletes, artists and noble- cause-based clothing lines.
Adam Khafif: Our first collaboration was with the Abdullah Brothers, who at the time were NFL Players. We worked with them for a year, traveling around the country to sell at various conferences. At our DC stop, we met Olympic Athlete Ibtihaj Muhammad who was impressed with our work with the brothers and wanted to create something. We worked with her for about two years. Noor Tagouri happened to hear about the brand and even owned one of our shirts. After staying in touch for a few years, we later launched ‘The Noor Effect’ clothing line in 2016 to combat sex trafficking, and went on tour hosting five pop up shops around the country. Through Noor, I was introduced to the artist Yuna, who we worked with on a line for refugees, and hosted an event in LA.
FB: Where does your call in creating brands to make a statement and 50% donation policy originate?
AK: When I was younger, my father told me to do something I love but to do something that benefits others. I was fortunate enough to find a way to combine my passion with my values, and came up with Lisn’ Up, a streetwear line dedicated to positivity and real meaningful messages, with the aim of donating 50% of its profit to charity. I wanted each purchase to be personal, so the customer chooses where we donate the 50%.
FB: What are you currently working on?
AK: Through Noor, I recently met Yuna and together we launched the – Lis’n Up & Yuna collaboration. The collection was created to support refugees around the world. A lot of the awareness and meaning behind the products, revolves around the theme of solidarity. Fifty per cent of the profits are being donated to USCRI, the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.
Moving over to Noor Tagouri…
Faatimah B: What’s a description of a typical work day for you and from where are your ideas and inspirations born, in relation to your career field?
Noor Tagouri: I like to wake up early, eat a great breakfast and take on the day. I have a lot to do in terms of keeping organised with events, speaking, my new Newsy series, etc, so staying on top of my work and scheduling every part of my day is very important. I schedule my day in 30-minute blocks to challenge myself to stay disciplined. I get inspired from people who can lead by being themselves, who don’t need to hide behind a facade. I love seeing people make a difference and break down stereotypes, pushing me to work harder every day.
FB: The Lis’nup & Tagouri collaboration – what is the inspiration behind the collaboration?
NT: I am passionate about combatting sex trafficking, so when I heard about Lis’n Up’s initiative, we both knew it was the perfect fit. We chose minimal designs that sent a meaningful message. The collection includes beanies, varsity jackets and shirts in an array of colours emblazoned with the crossed out text ‘GIRL’.
FB: In your career as a Muslim hijabi journalist – what challenges do you face?
NT: I don’t face as many challenges now as I did before. It was harder to get a job or get a story done when it involved talking to strangers, but now I see it as an advantage. I’m able to get stories because of who I am and embracing my identity.
FB: What’s it like being in the limelight?
NT: I don’t think I’m really in the limelight on a bigger scale. It’s cool to meet people in different places who have been following you and become friends. I think it’s cool as long as you don’t focus on it and let it get to your head.
FB: How has the recent buzz from your high profile coverage impacted your daily work?
NT: Work hasn’t changed, it’s just more, and the real key is managing your time with your workload.
FB: Any advice/inspiration for people who are following in your footsteps?
NT: Always be the hardest worker you know!
Noor continues to pursue her dream of becoming the first hijabi news anchor on US Television. Her current day job is as a journalist working for Newsy, based in the Washington D.C. area. In addition, Tagouri breaks down cultural barriers in her capacity as an accredited speaker. Noor is currently working on A Woman’s Job, a documentary series featuring women working in male dominated environments.
A wanderlust at heart, Faatimah B is a student with a background in writing and education, she has a passion for storytelling and travelling and is an avid reader. Alongside her pursuit of becoming a published author, she enjoys unwinding with pilates and food.