Basketball Player Creates Modest Activewear for Muslim Women

Muna Mohamed, a Somali girl from Minneapolis, developed a passion for basketball in high school. However, she faced challenges playing the game while wearing long-sleeved shirts under her jersey and wrapping her hijab. As a coach, she noticed that some of her players grew frustrated with their hijabs falling off and interfering with their game. This inspired Mohamed to start Kalsoni, a modest activewear brand that helps Muslim women live a healthy lifestyle.

In creating a product marketed to Muslim women in the East African community, it was important to maintain a sense of cultural expression, Mohamed said. She settled on the Somali word ‘Kalsoni,’ which means confidence. Mohamed’s personal experience as an athlete and researcher gives her a unique perspective on design. While well-known brands such as Nike and Lululemon carry versions of modest athletic and leisure wear, she said they fall short of what Muslim women want.

Customers can purchase loose-fitting tunics of different lengths and colors, with zippers on the bottom of both sides to allow for more mobility. There are unisex long-sleeve shirts to give men options. Mohamed said American lifestyles are more sedentary and exacerbate cardiovascular issues and high blood pressure, issues for many East African women. Her mother told her that people in Somalia are naturally healthy because of their daily activity level.

Kalsoni launched its website this year with a list of products, some named for Mohamed’s peers and the young women she once coached who affectionately refer to her as Coach Muna. Even before selling her products online, she was getting international inquiries.

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