In spite of the current global recession, designers in Malaysia are keen to try and exploit the previously ‘untapped’ area of Islamic fashion. Designers including Tom Abang Saufi, Abdul Kareem Said Khadaied and Nuraini Mohammed Ariffin aim to inspire both Muslim and non-Muslim women with their clothing ranges. Although, Tom Abang Saufi believes that ‘many non-Muslims equate Islamic wear to draping yourself in black’ she argues that such a view is incorrect.
While Muslim attire should be modest – covering the entire body with the exception of face and hands – all of the Malaysian designers believe that religious obeisance and fashion need not be mutually exclusive. Whilst recognising the need for all garments to be non-revealing, the designers have experimented with colour, fine fabrics, and layering in an attempt to provide women with greater choice.
It is perhaps important to note that Malaysia does not have such strict legislation as many other countries. Indeed, ‘Malaysia prides itself as a moderate Muslim nation’ thus offering more opportunity to experiment with Muslim women’s clothing. However, it seems that Malaysia’s attempts are beginning to attract the world’s attention, with many fashion houses, including Christian Dior, also beginning to pay attention to the needs of Muslim women.
The Male Is Not Like the Female (Q 3:36): The Question of Gender Egalitarianism in the Qur’ān
By Karen Bauer
(Vol. 4, June 2009)
Controlling the Body: Muslim Feminists Debating Women’s Rights in Indonesia
By Pieternella van Doorn-Harder
(Vol. 3, October 2008)
Veiling (in Islam)
From A New Dictionary of Religions