In Jakarta, gorgeous models strut the runway, adorned with exquisite headpieces, faces framed by silky headscarves. This is no typical fashion show: there are no sheer materials, no bare midriffs, no naked legs; the goal is not to scream “sex appeal” from the rooftops. No, this is the Islamic Fashion Fair, showcasing luxurious Muslimah fashion, and it is every bit as fierce as New York’s famed Fashion Week.
It’s easy to see why the modest, yet elegant style is growing in popularity; after all, out of almost 8 billion people on this planet, close to 1 in 4 is Muslim. That Muslim fashion has been left out of the spotlight for so long is a travesty.
A far cry from the traditional plain black abaya, the styles on showcase feature bright, festive colors, wild prints, light pastels, demure earth tones, and more. All of the designs clothe their models from head to toe, preserving modesty while allowing the wearer to express their creativity. Another key aspect of these outfits? The striking styling of the hijab, worn thousands of splendid ways, crafted from many different fabrics, embellished with beautiful accessories, and afforded just as much life and artistry as the clothing.
Partnered closely with this growing trend is the rise of Halal cosmetics. Halal products are gaining in popularity not just because of Muslim practices, but also because more conscientiously minded people appreciate the benefits of halal goods. Many halal goods are vegan friendly, as it is easier to remove animal by-products than it is to ensure the animal was slaughtered in accordance with Dhabihah. Further, the association of halal cosmetics with purity, safety, high quality, and ethically and environmentally friendly production is contributing to a soaring increase in demand. Many also rejoice in the fact that this makeup is not tested on animals, and lacks certain non-permissible chemical additives. Though it is still considered a niche market, it will not be for long, as halal-certified products will no doubt storm the alternative makeup scene in the Western world while continuing to enjoy popularity in predominantly Muslim countries.
As more and more Muslims enter the fashion and cosmetics industry, we can be sure to see their faith reflected and honored in their work. Muslim fashion online portals, magazines, fashion blogs, and modelling agencies are gaining steam everywhere, with new ones appearing every day. And this is no happenstance: in the Western world of high fashion, there is an alarming lack of conservative and modest styles. For women who would rather be covered than exposed, this growing trend is a holy grail of appropriate, fashionable styles. It fills a huge hole in today’s fashion industry, giving rise to a humbled approach to couture. In a world dominated by sex appeal and objectification of women, Muslimah high fashion provides a vital disruption in the echo chamber of “sex sells”.