Source: The Guardian
Writer: Aina Khan
Last weekend more than 3,000 people streamed into London’s Saatchi Gallery for a modst fashion event unlike any other
Some were dressed in shimmering tunics and silk turbans; some wore leather caps perched on top of their hijabs and had septum piercings through their noses; others wore nude-coloured kimonos that trailed the floor. There were fashion shows with models in burkinis and hijabs, and a burqa-clad designer pitching her clothing line to the Dragon’s Den of the fashion world. This was the scene at the first ever London modest fashion week (LMFW) launched by online fashion marketplace, Haute Elan.
More than 40 designers, hailing everywhere from the UK to Saudi Arabia, showcased clothes that weave culture and religious identity into yards of fabric. Designs weren’t limited to abayas (a long tunic traditionally worn by Muslim women in the Middle East). There were lush velvet palazzos from Maslea; pastel-coloured flared jumpsuits by Syomirizwa Gupta; satin emerald-green dresses with puffed shoulders from Foulard; trendy burkini-wear by Lyra; and beaded evening gowns by Sahee London that could have floated off the pages of an F Scott Fitzgerald novel.
Amid burkini bans in France and a cacophony of debates about Muslim women’s sartorial choices, it is a charged world in which this revolution in modest wear is taking place. And it is high time – as Romanna Bint Abu Bakr, the founder and CEO of Haute Elan, points out: “A quarter of the world’s population are going to be Muslim by 2030. Sixty percent of that population will be under 30 by 2030, so it’s really time for retailers to take notice that they exist.”
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