By Nadia Cassim
Contributors: Sidra Khan and Sumaya Seedat
“Beauty of style and harmony and grace and good rhythm depend on simplicity.” — Plato
Well-known, famous western fashion designer Gianni Versace has been recorded as having once said, “Don’t make fashion own you…decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way to live”
Versace has a point; fashion is about personal style and expression. In Islam, this directly translates into the Hijab as an expression of who we are as Muslim women. Hijab is, in our personal opinion, one dress code that will never go out of fashion, never fail to be trendy and never fail in dignifying believing women.
TRENDY and FASHIONABLE, the Hijab has taken center-stage at the Dubai Fashion Week, a biannual event founded in 2006 by Australian Simon Lock, which aims to compete with renowned international events such as the Milan, London and Paris Fashion Weeks. Traditionally, the Dubai fashion week is held at the Arena, Dubai World Trade Centre; the last event having taken place in 2011 due to the lack of funding (The 2013 Fashion week dates are yet to be announced). An event such as this provides trend-setting designers such as Mariam Al Mazro, Amal Murad and Rabia Zargarpur a platform to unveil their upcoming collections. As most fashion enthusiasts would agree, it is essential to understand the inspiration behind collections presented by such famous designers (www.dubaichronicle.com, date accessed 20 December 2012).
Understanding the Women behind the Collections
Sharjah-born Mariam Al Mazro currently owns a world-wide brand by the name of Mimi’s Fashion Designers. Founded almost four years ago, Mimi’s Fashion Designers typifies the personality of a more daring and outgoing woman. Bright colours and bold prints with long sleeves are characteristic of Mariam’s collections and the designer admits that it is challenging to launch ready-to-wear collections for the Dubai Fashion Week (www.ahlanlive.com; www.designcentral.com, www.hijabstyle.co.uk, date accessed: 20 December 2012)
Amal Murad, the founder of REDDA Collections, first showcased her talent in 2006 at the Bride Show held in Abu Dhabi. Having started designing clothing since the age of fifteen, her influences are architecture and Fine Art. Her designs are classic and tailored to perfection. Through her collections she aims to merge tradition and modernism, giving Middle-Eastern women today a sense of identity. Her collections are essentially a tribute to women (www.amalmurad.com)
Emirati designer Rabia Zargarpur believes that “conservative couture is not necessarily for women who wear the hijab”. She goes on to say that modern yet modest applies to all her labels. She coins her collections as “universal modest chic” (www.wisemuslimwomen.org, date accessed: 20 December 2012). Rabia’s collection draws inspiration from the modern working woman. Winner of the International Young Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Mediterranean region) in 2008, Rabia’s designs are creative and edgy and have therefore made it to the stage at the London Fashion Week in 2009 (www.hijabstyle.co.uk, date accessed: 20 December 2012).
The demand for change, something fresh and relatable, has stemmed from Muslim women around the world in an attempt to reclaim their identities in the 21st Century. As catwalks dazzle with sleek, modern and graceful designs it is not impossible to recreate such looks locally.
Looking Local: Catwalk designs on Our Doorstep
Silk, an exclusive boutique based in Fordsburg, has featured as front cover news in well-known newspapers for many years. Having featured in the Sunday Times and Lenasia Times, SILK has been holding fashion shows annually at the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton, Illcontro Ballroom, since 2004. Their numerous collections designed by owner Shenaaz Patel, capture international trends and interpret modern yet modest hijab styles effortlessly. SILK’s collection merges the traditional and the modern, drawing on trends from Europe as inspiration. Their focus is largely on “construction, cut and drapery.
A closer look at their collection clearly illustrates how confidently they compete with International Catwalk looks: