July 16, 2014

Muslim fashion

It's kind of strange that I've never actually talked about muslim fashion on my blog. After all, I've studied Islam and the Middle Eastern culture for several years now, and I've even made a small essay about muslim fashion when I was in Jordan. DKNY's recent Ramadan Collection has made me think why I never addressed this particular side of fashion - especially since I want to work in the field of gender & women's issues in Islam, and maybe even focus on fashion. So here we go!

First of all, why is there a need for 'muslim fashion'? Why can't aspiring muslim fashionistas shop on the high street and then just cover up with a headscarf? Yes, many women shop at H&M, Topshop & Zara (my Moroccan friend Loubna knows the Zara collections by heart) but still they struggle to find a way to stay fashionable yet modest. Low necklines, tight jeans or sleeveless tops don't really fit in with the muslim dresscode. Layering is also an option, but you don' want to be wearing multiple layers in a 35 degree heat! Fortunately, some designers have been able to fill this hole in the market by creating a collection suitable for muslim women.

As much as I love the idea of designers who exclusively cater to a muslim public (or women who just like to dress modestly - think about conservative jews or mormons), the problem is that these collections are only availabe to the higher class who can afford high quality designer items. I would love to see that high street brands dedicate a line from their collection to muslim women - I've noticed that Zara in Amman has more maxi skirts and basic long-sleeved t-shirts than the stores I've visited in Europe, but the options are still quite limited. Muslim women are equally interested in fashion and trends as non-muslim women, so why should they have to resort to wearing plain blouses and shapeless maxi skirts?

Personally, I love Barjis Chohan's latest collection (two photos above), I wouldn't mind wearing most of her pieces myself! The Middle East, and especially Dubai is slowly establishing itself as a fashion center - if even Karl Lagerfeld chose Dubai to show his latest Chanel collection! Hopefully more and more high street stores will take note and bring out a collection suitable for muslim fashionistas. 

Have you heard about muslim fashion? What do you think about this concept?

More interesting reading about muslim fashion:
DKNY's Ramadan Collection
The rise and rise of the muslim fashion industry

Images: DKNY & Barjis