- Closing show – V Hijrah
Summary: Asia Islamic Fashion Week is the new Silk Road, leading a diverse country to understand the intricacies of modest design.
Writer: Ali Parvin
Asia Islamic Fashion Week (AIFW), held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is featuring some awe-inspiring designers and beautiful clothes. But the trends don’t stop there. AIFW is also ground-breaking for its influence on the business of modest fashion trade and comprehensive seminars on fashion related topics.
The fashion trade dates back centuries. A great example is the “Silk Road,” an ancient network of trade routes for cultural/business interaction between East and West.
Here at AIFW, a platform for Muslim fashion and lifestyle has been shaped, paving the way for businesses to network about present and future sustainably of the Islamic fashion trade. This platform is supported by fashion shows that feature an array of the latest Islamic styles from well-known designers, top retailers and boutiques owners, as well as seminars on Islamic fashion. The seminars speak to fashion and business knowledge, and the Islamic value of hijab and modest fashion design.
Notably, three remarkable global modest fashion inﬂuencers are showcasing their passion at the event, including:
Dian Pelangi—a multi-talented Indonesian designer, award winner, successful entrepreneur, and one of the most inﬂuential fashion icons in the global Islamic community with more than 4.4 million followers on Instagram alone.
Mizz Nina—a highly respected icon in Malaysia, Mizz Nina continues to raise the bar with her ever-growing accomplishments in da’wah, fashion and humanitarian eﬀorts.
Melanie Elturk—a modest fashion industry expert and the CEO of one of the largest U.S. brands for modest fashion. Elturk has a mission to empower hijab-wearing women of the world.
With Ramadan expected to start this May, it remains to be seen to what extent exhibitors at the event will promote or showcase their collections to visitors.
Beyond hijabs and Islamic related values, the big three mega trends AIFW strives to address are this:
1. The Islamic fashion industry is rising
There should be more events like AIFW. A number of fashion industries are not in line with Islamic fashion design, but because of events like this, could be truly inspired and therefore raise the bar for future collaboration and connection among Muslim and non-Muslim fashion industries.
Here in Malaysia or even in Indonesia, more and more Muslim women who are not wearing hijab are changing their perception of the cultural symbol and are embracing the beauty hijab offers them. So what indication or message does this send? One answer would be that the Islamic fashion industry is booming and requires talented designers who are capable of fulfilling the demands of this ever-growing movement of consumers.
2. Islamic fashion is about wearing it right
What is the value of Islamic fashion anyway? It is crucial for everyone—including Muslims—to raise the value of beauty, bearing in mind that there should be no intention of showcasing it for someone’s entertainment. The whole idea of Islamic fashion is that Muslims are not taking part in the concept of ‘beauty’ per say. If so, that would be demeaning. To Muslims, beauty is something to be appreciated as a gift given by God. Everyone carries his or her own beauty, which should be guarded and cherished at all times.
One might consider what is happening with ongoing stereotypes attached to Muslims and Islam. Muslims could easily remove or choose not to wear hijab, as there is no doubt about the level of negativity created by certain groups, which has led to Islamophobia.
Let us be clear here; wearing hijab does not define stereotypes. Wearing hijab is about wearing it correctly in order to fulfill personal respect and honor the religion itself.
3. Islamic fashion matters! Because diversity in Asia in massive.
A number of designers and exhibitors are raising legitimate concerns about modest fashion and Islamic design in today’s style landscape. Yet, nothing has been done physically until AIFW came into the picture. This is a great news for Muslims fashion enthusiasts, particularly those in Asia.
Let’s not forget the role of women. As many researchers and scholars agree, women are progressively entering the workforce, particularly in Asia, due to its wide and diverse demographics. So the question we need to ask is how much these ‘diverse demographics’ know about Islam and Muslims. Or, what is the perception of Islamic value here in Asia?
Events like AIFW promote unity and diversity. Asia is a continent with rich cultures and religions. Illustrating Islamic values through fashion is a powerful way to send a peaceful message on behalf of the Muslim world to the region.
More events should be organized within Asia to encourage and pave the way for other non-Muslims to partake and understand modest fashion, which represents true Islamic values coupled with peace and love.