Muslims Breaking Barriers


What do you know about Muslim women and the hijab? Do you understand what the hijab denotes or rather represents? Do you have misconceptions about it – and believe that it is rather a piece of fabric that takes away a woman’s confidence instead of enhancing it, or it is a symbol of culture? Many questions surround the hijab and the women around the world who either choose to or are forced to wear it.  It has become quite the hot topic in the western world where Muslim women – models, bloggers and entrepreneurs – are making a mark for themselves and changing the impression of what the headgear represents. It is about time we recognized a culture that has for many years been under-represented and misunderstood.

Firstly, the hijab is more than just sophisticated or a mere simple headwear; it is a symbol of modesty, and has religious and cultural significance in the Islamic world. Let’s be honest, the fashion and beauty industry have certainly not been known for modesty or diversity until quite recently. If you haven’t been a part of what’s going on in the western world at the moment, this article will give you a mini update.

Discussing diversity in the fashion and beauty industry was non existent, until a few years ago. Women of colour, age, race, ethnicity and even human preferences and behavior were not included in campaigns and even addressed in the least. Inclusivity certainly took its time to show up. But it here to stay and is now also enveloping women of Islamic, especially those who cover their heads.

The hijab appeared on the fashion runways for the very first time in the fall of 2018 (2017). Unfortunately however, the models were not Muslim themselves, which takes away from the honest representation of the culture. This brought upon little outrage but certainly made waves of attention and spiked the rise of Muslim models in the industry to take a stand for themselves. And a stand they certainly took. Halima Aiden is the first Muslim to have landed a Nike campaign. Kadija Diawara is a stunning model for many high end fashion brands. Mariah Idrissi was featured on the cover of Teen Vogue, Elle and Marie Clare. Ikram Abdi Omar walked the London Fashion Week runway.


In order to accept these diverse advances, it must be understood that beauty comes in all ages, sizes, skin tones, genders and religious preferences. Once that’s an accepted norm, the rest is pretty simple. Anyone from anywhere can personify beauty and fashion; and that is exactly how it should be. There’s no denying negativity that is encountered every today, but it is important to soldier on in this path in order to have a positive impact and make a change. Negativity and stereotypes exist because of lack of knowledge and understanding. Therefore it is vital to create awareness of the importance of inclusivity in all aspects of fashion and beauty.

Here also lies the opportunity to educate the world about what the hijab symbolizes. It isn’t an item to be sexualized. It is a part of the Muslim faith. The women who choose to wear it often feel strong, and beautiful and confident. They take pride in their sophisticated and stylish headwear, and instead of feeling demeaned, feel rather powerful.


Stand apart from the crowd

Aden once said that we are all born to stand out; that nobody is born to blend in at an interview and this certainly rings true. Her Nike campaign is set to hit shelves this year and has paved the way of other Muslim women who are in the modeling industry, to land great fashion and beauty campaigns. The world’s first Muslim modeling agency – Underwraps, was a recent addition amongst the thousands of others that do no represent women in hijab. For its founder, the journey hasn’t been easy but hard work definitely pays off. She understands that it is important to receive attention, dismiss and break barriers and any type or kind of negative association along with it.

Amena Khan was the first hijab wearing model to have been casted in a L’Oreal hair care campaign. Now, many might raise their eyebrows at this notion or even find it ridiculous but in interviews conducted with Khan, she admitted that even though she does cover her hair when outdoors, her hair is just as important to her as someone who does not. Like everyone else, she shampoos and conditions it, nourishes it with oils and hair masks and the campaign was meant to highlight diversity as well as inclusivity even if it were someone who covered her head in public. The campaign received plenty of attention and also got the ball rolling on other brands like CoverGirl, H&M, DKNY and Dolce & Gabbana giving women in hijab the opportunity to be featured and also creating collections meant for them.  


This goes to prove that there is a definite demand in terms of fashion and beauty for the Muslim fashionista. Collections by the mentioned designers and fashion labels above included modern looks with rules of modesty, and this is just the beginning. Hama Tajima is a British Japanese blogger and now fashion designer who is redefining the hijab with her workmanship. Her stylish lifestyle and take on modest fashion has thousands of others following in on her footsteps and recreating the same in their own way.

Question is, is it a passing trend or a powerful sense of style that is here to stay? Much like inclusivity in the makeup industry, this isn’t just a trend. This is a powerful representation that is becoming more and more recognized as we speak, and also proving to be an inspiration to others around the world, including Sri Lanka. The ideology is thought provoking and opens conversations about the stigma that surrounds the hijab and hopefully will break such misconceptions in time to come.

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Colombo Fashion Week – Day 2

Here are a couple of images I captured of my favourite designers on Day 2!

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Yasisurie
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Ramona Oshini
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Ohe Island
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Sonali Dharmawardena

Stay tuned for updates on Day 3!

Xoxo

 

Colombo Fashion Week! Day 1

YES, I attended Colombo Fashion Week over the past three days and I know I’ve neglected posting on my blog but I was kind of busy trying to scheduled a few interviews here and there with some of the designers so… yeah! Here’s a look at some of the highlights of Day 1 🙂

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Amilani Perera

 

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Lois London

 

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Dimuthu Sahabandu

 

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Charini Suriyage

 

 

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Indi

 

 

Stay tuned for updates from Day 2 and Day 3!

Xoxo

Haute Couture: Zuhair Murad SS15

Zuhair Murad : Runway - Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture S/S 2015

 

Seems like most of the couture designers are heading down the embellishment path for this Spring and Summer season. I ain’t complaining. I’m totally in love with most of the collections that were showcased. This would be the last post on Paris Couture Week and highlights the work of Lebanese fashion designer Zuhair Murad, yet another favourite of mine. Take a look:

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His collection was very much dream-like and flowy, utterly feminine and exotic with extensive bead work. He I must add that his collection also had a variety of hues in terms of the blues, pinks, yellows and off whites. I did also like the change of silhouettes and the additions of capes to some of the dresses.

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Zuhair Murad : Runway - Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture S/S 2015

 

Xoxo

HSBC CFW RESORT SHOW Unveils a Four-Day Showcase

Colombo Fashion Week (CFW), which introduced its Resort edition as a single day event in 2012, is now a four-day showcase  from the 1 to 4 October. The show will unveil the best of resort wear fashion including fifteen ‘Bright Spark’ shows at the start of the week leading up to twenty main shows by established designers. The ‘Bright Spark’ shows will also unveil the collection from Peronie Nadine Stefel who is the first ‘Bright Spark’ designer to be awarded the fund created by CFW in its ongoing effort to develop and support up-and-coming fashion designers.

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Commenting about the show, Ajai V Singh, President, Colombo Fashion Week stated, “The creation of resort wear as a season is vital for us as we can play on our strengths and make us shine by the grace of God. Resort wear is a growing category and we want to lead its growth in this part of the world. We can’t do much in terms of fashion with the Fall and Winter seasons, so for designer businesses to grow we need a second season along with Spring and Summer. Two years ago we found that resort wear worked well as our second season. With continuous innovation, we will keep driving this category to greater heights, creating more opportunities for Sri Lankan fashion designers and the industry.”

CFW is one of the three main Fashion Weeks in Asia which have been running for more than 10 years. It is also one of two fashion weeks in Asia which has introduced a dedicated resort wear season in its annual calendar, in addition to its Spring/Summer season. In just two years it has grown to become a four-day event and has shown an ever-increasing growth pattern. The HSBC CFW Resort Wear Show is unique because it takes place at a resort and this time Jetwing Blue and Beach in Negombo will play host to the highly anticipated event.

U by Upeksha at the CFW Resort 2013 Show

Singh further added, “There’s a valid reason for promoting resort wear, it’s not just part of our efforts to make Sri Lanka a destination for fashion entertainment, it’s part of our plan to make an international impact in the fashion industry. As our plans for CFW’s growth continued to unfold CFW became part of Asian Fashion Week (AFW). Five Sri Lankan designers who showcased their work at CFW, were selected to show their collections at AFW in Indonesia.  Sri Lankan designer, Sonali Dharmawardena even had the honour of opening Asian Fashion Week this year. Colombo Fashion Week is now being recognized internationally for the impact it is making on the local fashion industry and every aspect of fashion in Sri Lanka.”

Along with 17 established Sri Lankan fashion designers, there will be three international heavyweights at the HSBC CFW Resort Wear Show who will add an interesting dimension to the show. Abraham & Thakore, a designer duo and label from the Indian fashion industry which has won accolades and recognitions around world, will be showing in Sri Lanka for the first time. Harare, a label owned by Caroline Fuss will also show at the HSBC CFW Resort Wear Show. Caroline showed at New York Fashion Week just last week and was well received by the fashion community. The third international designer to be featured at the show includes a CFW loyalist and the show’s best international ambassador; Bibi Russell. She is a world-renowned fashion designer and icon who is also a Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO.

In addition to several ramp events this not-for-profit annual event stays true to its vision of developing and uplifting Colombo’s fashion design industry through its behind-the-scenes mentoring process and workshops.  This year at the HSBC Colombo Fashion Week workshop will be held on the 4 October and will focus on a theme titled, ‘The use of indigenous textiles in fashion’. Designers Bibi Russell, Harare and Abraham & Takore will also join the workshop to share their knowledge and experience.

Yoland at the CFW Resort 2013 Show

Every year, as part of the CFW plan, new additions are made to the seasonal CFW calendar.  This year CFW Resort will see designer Pop-up stores being created with the support of TATA housing. TATA housing held a competition among final year architecture students and the designs of two students were selected and awarded. A total of 15 Pop-up stores for each designer brand will be set up at the venue, Jetwing Beach, enabling guests to see the latest collections in a well-designed retail environment. As part of the Fashion + Food series of CFW, a Michellin star chef from Paris and an internationally acclaimed Malaysian chef will be at the event. The chefs will provide delightful cuisines every evening, bringing in a design element to the show from the culinary arts. There will be special menus available on 1 and 2 October, the day of the ‘Bright Spark’ shows and the menus will continue to evolve till the show comes to a close on 5 October.

Issued by    :    Arc Worldwide Sri Lanka; a part of Leo Burnett Solutions Inc.