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A Revolution in Islamic Fashion

September 20, 2016
Plain English Version
Models at Modest Fashion Week, in Istanbul. Photo credit: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

Models at Modest Fashion Week, in Istanbul. Photo credit: AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

The hijab is a head scarf worn by observant Muslim women. Most did not think it was a symbol of fashion. Now that is changing.

At the Istanbul Modest Fashion Week show, the new look was on display. One observer said the fashion was high heels, flowing tunics and colorful head scarves.

This is not the Islamic fashion worn by the women of Riyadh or Kabul. It is not the dark and dreary dress that the West sees. Islamic fashion in Istanbul is a colorful and creative enterprise. It is also a huge business.

Turkey was not always this way. Before President Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey favored fashions of the West. There was even a ban on hijabs in some places. Now Turkey is moving closer to favoring Islam. It began by allowing female police officers to wear head scarves.

At the same time that France was banning burkinis, Turkey was going high Islamic fashion.

The country is becoming more conservative in religion. A designer said, “Our main purpose is to make women feel better. To feel the glamour and the shine inside, even if they are covered.” He went on, “My mother is covered and my sister is not covered. It is a Turkish family.”

A woman designer said she wears bikinis and goes to bars. “But I am still religious. I still pray. And I wear a scarf when I go to the mosque.” She sells head scarves made from natural fibers such as bamboo.

The big question is: can a Muslim woman be fashionable and true to her religion? The rules are simple. One designer said, “You just have to adjust some things such as length and width. You should not see skin. It should not be tight. That is it.”

Not all Muslims are happy with the new fashions. They fear that Islam is becoming commercial.

The market for Islam couture is growing. American designers are showing Ramadan collections.

Source: The New York Times September 17, 2016

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