- Over the past few years, hijab styles and ‘modest’ fashion have blossomed into a full-grown preoccupation with Muslim women who wear the headscarf (hijab), with hijab-wearing public figures, designers, blogs, YouTube and Facebook groups all pitching in to stoke the hype.
Jana Kossaibati, a medical student from the UK, whose blog HijabStyle, (hijabstyle.blogspot.com) is tagged as the ‘UK’s first style guide for Muslim women’, says “Muslim girls are very conscious of the way they dress. When you wear a headscarf you stand out as a Muslim, so what kind of message are you also sending out if you look drab or messy?”
- Ausma Khan, a former human rights lawyer and editor-in-chief of Muslim Girl, a US-based niche magazine which devoted its spring issue to modest fashion, showing Muslim girls how to combine articles of clothing so that they remain hijab-friendly says there’s “a huge demand” for Muslim-friendly fashion in the West.
There is some Muslim design coming out of the Middle East, but it’s mainly focused on stylized robes — not so popular among North American Muslims.
- “The big demand here is for clothing that looks like everybody else’s clothing but isn’t as skin-baring,” says Khan.
Muslim women’s clothing was thrust into the spotlight last year with the arrival of the Burqini — a full-coverage bathing suit consisting of a hooded tunic and long pants, made in Australia by Ahiida. (The word is derived from a combination of burqa and bikini).
Mainstream retailers have picked up on the huge market potential and are also starting to market their clothing to Muslim women. A few years ago Nordstrom put on a “full coverage” fashion seminar at a Washington, D.C.-area upscale suburban mall, promising to interpret “Hot Trends for Conservative and Veiled Women,” noted a Slate magazine article on the trend.
- Although older Muslim women often choose a style of headscarf that reflects their cultural heritage, and more conservative Muslims call the “trendy hijab” an oxymoron, there’s no stopping young women from all over the Muslim world who have discovered that hijabs can be fashionable and fun.
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