Zarifa Hameed is passionate about style. Always immaculately coiffed, beautifully dressed and smiling, she has been sharing styling advice with women at her stall, Zarifa’s Collection, for nearly three decades.
Zarifa’s market journey began not long after she arrived in Australia from Afghanistan in the late 1980s when she established a stall selling T-shirts at Queen Victoria Market. However at the time, she was living not far away from South Melbourne Market and visiting often to buy fresh produce and groceries. It wasn’t long before she decided it was a more convenient location to start a business while raising two daughters and made the move to start selling women’s fashion at South Melbourne Market in 1991.
Regular customers at Zarifa’s Collection will be aware that fleeting trends are not what the stall is about, although the selection extends well beyond basic pieces to include items for special occasions such as the races, weddings and other celebrations. “Our styles are carefully selected for the unique style, fabrication, quality and fit,” says Zarifa. “We prefer styles that are timeless and versatile that are not saturated in the fashion market.”
Staples at Zarifa’s Collection include loose tops, dresses and sweaters in natural fabrics such as cotton, linen and silk, but there are also faux fur vests and jackets along with handbags, scarves, jewellery and all kinds of other accessories to dress up outfits. She has also recently established a website for the store, zarifascollection.com, allowing customers to shop for a selection of items online.
Zarifa’s love of discovering new pieces keeps her busy even when she is not at the Market. “In my spare time I look after my grandchildren and I also like to try new recipes* when I can, but I also look for new styles and brands,” she says. “I love fashion so I also design things such as phone cases and garments as a hobby.”
Over the years, Zarifa has come to love the atmosphere and vibe of the Market. “I love the community feel as well as the fact that the South Melbourne Market is also progressive and has a vision for the future. That makes it exciting and I want to be a part of that.”
*You can find the recipe for one of Zarifa’s favourite dishes here.