By Sarah Ghanem
Not long ago, Muslim fashionistas had to master the art of layering to ensure their fashion ensembles followed the religion’s prescription. These days, it is so much easier to procure Muslim-friendly garments that are stylish and fashionable. The growing purchasing power of Muslim consumers have convinced many mainstream fashion powerhouses like Dolce & Gabbana, Donna Karen and Chanel to jump onto the Muslim-fashion bandwagon.
This effort in changing the fashion industry to be more inclusive of other styles of dress has been lauded by many fashion-conscious Muslims around the globe. While this is a positive move, some Muslims are still searching and wanting more from their garments in order for them to fully perform their responsibilities as devout Muslims. The passages of the Quran and Sunnah not only shape their belief in dressing modestly, but also to do so in a manner that protects every living creature on Earth.
Sustainable fashion often refers to garments made of eco-friendly resources, e.g. sustainably-grown fibers from crops such as organic cotton, hemp and bamboo or recycled materials. One of the biggest misconceptions that designers and consumers have about sustainable fabrics is that they are grainy and rough, making them less versatile than synthetic fabrics.
These days, this is no longer true – technological breakthroughs have allowed these fabrics to evolve to be more refined and flexible. However, it is important to note that it is also about reducing the amount of clothing in landfills and diminishing the negative impact of agro-chemical products used in the production of conventional fibre crops, e.g. cotton.
While there is still little awareness about the importance of sustainable Muslimah fashion in Asia, some entrepreneurs are starting to cater to this niche in order to spread awareness of this accountable responsibility toward Mother Nature.
Companies like Kloth Malaysia are working with Waste2Wear to push the idea of using greener textiles in everything. While Kloth Malaysia's business started off with colorful, eco-friendly hijabs, the foursome are now expanding to other eco-friendly merchandises – an endeavor that not only delights eco-friendly hijabis around the globe, but other environment evangelists as well.
Clad in a blush overcoat and loose pants, Idrissi complemented her outfit in a printed hijab for the Close The Loop campaign. The campaign was a bold move by the retailer in a time when the hijab is seen as a negative symbol. While the move was praised by many eco-friendly hijabis, some members of the Muslim community were upset by the promotional posters and video as they view it as immodest and inappropriate for a Muslim woman. Instead of being discouraged by this, the beautiful British model continues to spread the word on sustainable fashion and tries to do more to change the Muslim community’s perception on fashion.
There is still more to be done to bring the idea of sustainable fashion mainstream. While H&M's Close The Loop video was praised for its diversity and the deconstruction of fashion rules, many failed to see that it is about recycling. In this cause for a better Earth, people need to realize that it is a collective effort regardless if you are an eco-friendly hijabi or a 40-year-old woman in a miniskirt.
Image credit: Modanisa
Sarah is a hijabista and fashion consultant at Modanisa. She is really keen on modern, but modest Islamic wear for women, and she’s always trying out new fashion trends and styles.