20 April 2017

The pitfalls of Islamic fashion

ISLAMIC fashion websites can be pretty drab. KhaleejiAbaya.com, an outlet based in Teesside, North England, plies its selection of faceless black coverings under the somewhat overstated slogan “effortlessly elegant”. Alongside, its website carries a health warning on the “dangers of al-tabarruj”, the impermissible exposure of beauty.

Defying such prudishness, leading Muslim designers recently took part in London Fashion Week, a global showcase of threads, to prove that what they called “Modest Fashion” could be as sleek as a bedtime story from a Thousand and One Nights.

The organisers avoided the word sexy, since that would be un-Islamic, explained one. But their models on the catwalk wore make-up, nail-polish, and figure-hugging costumes. Some had veils, though these tended to slip from their heads as they strutted to techno beats.

Abayas were embellished with leather straps, transforming nun-like uniforms, said the publicity, into “edgy urban wear perfect for warrior princesses”. Nearby, cosmetics companies plied alcohol-free perfume and lipsticks free of animal fat, which made the products halal, though still viewed by some clerics as not sharia-compliant for being flirtatious. [The Economist] Read more