An All Hijab collection at NYFW makes history

Last week, a Muslim designer Anniesa Hasibuan showcased an all hijab collection for the first time in New York Fashion Week. The collection was also the first by an Indonesian at the prestigious annual event. Hasibuan entered the fashion world only last year and has started influencing her audience through her collection.

Every model dazzled the runway of Spring 2017 collection wearing different costumes including skirts, evening gowns, flowing tunics, kimonos and trousers which were made with luxurious fabrics of silk, satin, chiffon and lace but all the dresses were accessorized with colourful hijabs or Muslim veil.

Hasibuan’s collection inspired by her hometown, Jarkarta were loaded with intense embroidery and the colour palette of the collection included peach, ivory, green, silver, gold and dove grey.

At a time when Muslim women dress is causing intense debate, 30-year-old, Hasibuan’s bold move made the day historic and she was lauded with a standing ovation from the audience for her work.

Retailers too are on the chance to cash in by Islamic fashion. Like H&M has released an ad showing a Muslim model in a hijab, Uniqlo has partnered with a Muslim designer or Dolce and Gabbana have released a line of hijabs and abaya’s, aimed at wealthy Muslim consumers.

Melanie Elturk, chief executive of Haute Hijab – a US brand selling hijabs and modest fashion – was present at the show

Many designers are experimenting with covered-up clothing and Muslim designers are getting creative with Islamic clothing and taking their inspiration from Indonesia which is seen as an innovator for modern Islamic dress.

However, when on one hand designers are breaking the stereotype and coming out of the shackle of the plain black Arab-style burqa, there are conservative groups in Indonesia who have disapproved of this idea and say these clothes are ‘not Islamic enough’. Some Muslims believe that women should wear something which does not attract the attention of men and so these creative hijabs do not fall in this line.

For many young Muslim women, the hijab is part of their identity rather than any symbol but more often they are criticized and hated for the choice of their wear.

Recently France banned wearing burkini on its beaches which was a full-body swimsuit designed in the shape of hijab. The assumption was made that France wanted to regulate Islamic attire because the French are biased against their Muslim minority. Similarly, it’s difficult for Muslim women to carry out their choice of clothing in America too. In trying to impose racial superiority, the West demeans the traditions and cultures of other religions.

Meanwhile, if women want to wear hijab, it should not be looked down as Hindu women shouldn’t be considered conservative if they wear saree in the west. But if they do not feel to carry on the clothing, it shouldn’t be imposed by clerics or families meaninglessly.

I have seen many small girls as young as five-year-old are made to wear the hijabs, at an age when they do not understand the purpose of carrying it. Till a girl is young enough to decide on her clothing and decisions otherwise, the opinions of elders shouldn’t be forced upon.

And for all other women who want to carry traditions and modernity along, this fashion show had a lot to give and influence.

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