I was reading this interesting Reuters article entitled “Fusion Muslim Chic hits Europe’s Streets”. It’s basically about young European Muslims adopting today’s fashion with a Muslim twist. Since today is the first day of Ramadan fasting, it would be a good timing to look deeper into it.
First of all, I’m not trying to educate about the Proper Muslim Fashion. I’m certainly not an expert in Muslim Fashion. I do not wear veil/hijab on daily basis and still in need to learn more. What I’m writing here is from an amateur’s point of view, without any political and religious meanings. My apologies in advance, to those who may feel offended.
After all, this is not a new subject. Hanzky had brilliantly started a post in this forum about Jilbab/Hijab Chic. Our lovely FD members have also posted some styling options, which are totally inspiring. Back home, my friends and I were always excited to dress up in Muslim-inspired outfits during the month of Ramadan. I know it’s so lame that we didn’t continue to dress up that way after celebrating Eid. Well, it’s our own personal decision anyway.
People tend to relate Arabic fashion to Muslim fashion. We can’t deny that there’s a strong connection between those two subjects. My first introduction to Arabic fashion happened when I lived in Tunisia and Jordan during my adolescence years. I was introduced to the beautiful pieces of delicate Jordanian tunics and caftans, and always glued to the TV screen whenever Queen Noor and Queen Rania of Jordan appeared.
My mom always brought me to Le Souk (a local traditional market) to shop for groceries. And I always tried to visit the stands selling the traditional arts & crafts, abayas, keffiyehs, Bedouin clothings, leather accessories, ethnic jewelries, hats, perfumes and many other things. Since caftan and tunic have been adapted widely into modern fashion, there’s no need further explanation about them here. But keffiyeh, which I’m sure some of you must be tired of it by now, was a huge trend in my junior high school around early 90s. Seeing people on the street wearing them in different colors last year, brought back my old memories. Little that I know, those keffiyehs actually have different patterns and symbolic meanings. Urban Outfitters and Delia’s had to remove the keffiyehs from their stores. Some close-minded people thought that they carry a hidden political message rather than a fashion statement. On the other hand, Balenciaga managed to beautifully capture the global fashion trend by designing a modified keffiyeh for their F/W 07 collection.
Nom de guerre, a New York fashion label, has designed several Arabic inspired menswear collection for their 2005 F/W collection. From a hoodie to a casual tee printed with Arabic writings. *which hopefully won’t translate to something offensive to the Muslim community. Meanwhile, Dead, an Reykjavik street label has applied the keffiyeh print into a kid hoodie jacket.
The thing that is really challenging, personally for myself, is to find head covers which are simple, modern yet also stylish. Besides the latest hit of turbans, this cool design of Capsters or sporty hijabs, by a Dutch designer, Cindy Van Den Bremen, is totally appealing. Quoting from her website, “the concept is based on the idea to give Muslim girls and their gym teachers in the Netherlands a safe alternative for the traditional hijab to wear during gym-class. The sports designs were realized in close co-operation with Muslim girls and an Imam.”
I feel like we would see more girls wrapping their head with a scarf in the streets as a fashion statement this coming Fall and Winter. I spotted one worn by Renee, an ANTM finalist and the other one from the Sartorialist. This plaid ‘Scoodie’ (scarf+hoodie), as what they are called, in green and grey/brown colors from KASIL would also be a great option.
Mike & Chris has designed a brilliant F/W 2007 collection which would appeal to those who just want to slightly cover themselves in a more descent way. And they also have this cool head scarf which I found totally practical to wear for those who want to start wearing some Muslim-inspired outfits.
We have seen several Muslim-inspired clothing in today’s fashion. More and more mainstream publications are trying to cater for the need of this specific market. One is ALEF magazine known for its wonderful editorial styling and the hip MSLMmagazine, both headquartered in Europe. There’s also this Atlanta-based woman magazine, Azizah, and in Indonesia, we have Noor magazine, both are dedicated to Muslim women.
For the younger generation, there’s Muslim Girlmagazine targeting young Muslim girls, a sort of “Muslim version” of Teen Vogue with a different flair.
On the the launch and exhibition of MSLM magazine at Showroom Mama in Rotterdam, several innovative European-based fashion designers showcased their Muslim-friendly collection. Some of their installations could be seen on the very first picture of this article, and also below. Besides its controversial approach, realizing that there are many alternatives and options available for Muslim fashion-conscious people, is somehow refreshing.