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Local woman paves the way for more accessible modest athletic wear

Kalsoni was born out of a need for more athletic wear for women and girls seeking modesty.

MINNEAPOLIS — What Muna Mohamed observed on the courts as a youth basketball coach, she's lived herself.

"We needed more inclusive access to modest and culturally sensitive clothing for East African girls," Mohamed said. "I remember certain games where a young girl would get frustrated – this is before sports Hijabs existed – and I remember where she would rip off her hijab and throw it to the side, or just felt very uncomfortable leaving her values behind."

After years of research, Mohamed created Kalsoni.

"Kalsoni is a lifestyle brand that creates inclusive athlete wear for Muslim women or any women looking for a modest fit," Mohamed said. 

The brand features tunics of all lengths, as well as sports shawls and hijabs. Mohamed explained all items are built to not only make things easier without layering, but also to build confidence for anyone looking to be active.

"I definitely know that experience of layering up, where I was wearing my basketball jerseys and shorts – I would wear undershirts, and try to figure out how to tuck in my hijab," Mohamed said. "In my culture, Kalsoni means confidence. The reason why I built my business around confidence, just like when you step into your brand new clothes and you feel that sense of confidence to take over the world, it's important for those who want to be modest be reflected in the retail space."

And really, it's been a slam dunk so far. Sports retailer REI carries Kalsoni now, opening it up to an even wider clientele.

Mohamed added that it's not weird for non-Muslim women to purchase and wear Kalsoni tunics and shawls.

"It's not only for Muslim women, the reason I founded this is because as a Muslim woman, modesty is something that is important to us," she said. "And modesty varies for everyone. It's not only prevalent in the Muslim community, there are also other communities that practice modesty that are not talked about here in the West.

"The hijab, yes, it's for Muslim women," she clarified. "But for the activewear top, we have a variety of coverages, full length, mid-length, there's a lot of coverages and it's inclusive for everyone."

Mohamed's ultimate goal, she said, is for everyone to be active in a way they want, in what they want.

"Clothing was the number one barrier to Muslim women, specifically East African girls being physically active," Mohamed said. "So it was just beautiful to see, people coming to the gym wearing my clothing, or around the lake wearing my clothing, and it's beautiful to see more inclusive, just building a brand here in Minnesota."

Kalsoni retails online through her website kalsoni.com and also at REI stores in Minnesota.

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