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11 March 2016 / Lifestyle

The Rise of the Arabic and Islamic fashion scene

Last year was a memorable year for the fashion industry across the world. As normal, well-known fashion designers unveiled their latest creations to admiring audiences everywhere but one development took the experts by surprise. Also known as the hijab haute culture or Islamic chic, the Arabic and Islamic clothing industry rose to record performances and profits.

The well-known and popular American Fortune publication published previous stats, saying…

“Globally, Muslims spent $266 billion on clothing and footwear in 2013. That is more than the total fashion spending of Japan and Italy combined, according to a recent report from Thomson Reuters. The report also notes that that figure is expected to balloon to $484 billion by 2019.”

The new industry taps into the younger generations of Muslim women, who want all the benefits of the modern world while maintaining their religious lifestyle. Therefore, other reputable brands eager to cash in on the growing industry released their own Islamic chic creations in time for the annual festival of Ramadan, including DKNY, Dolce&Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, and Mango while Muslim women leading the new trend are often referred to as hijabistas.



Big Names in the Islamic Fashion Industry

As with other industries, certain people embracing this trend have obtained Internet fame through their YouTube or Instagram accounts. Dina Tokio and her 886k followers on Instagram are one such example. Displaying her latest creations and tips on YouTube, her combined love of Islamic chic and makeup, is capturing the attention of Muslim women across the globe.

Closely following with 170k followers on Instagram is the immaculately groomed Yaz the Spaz, who has likewise uploaded videos giving helpful hints and tips about Islamic clothing. Describing herself as a hijab stylist, makeup artist, and modest model, she has even designed her own range.

Although numerous companies could take credit for this unusual fashion boom, industry experts generally, agree one man, in particular, kick-started the growing trend in 2002. Anas Silwood launched Shukr, an online shopping website catering to Muslims around the world. Over time sales increased and the company expanded into America and the Middle East.

Mariam Sobh, a Chicago-based journalist who invented a website in 2007 for readers to keep up with Islamic clothing trends is another pioneer in this area, yet she has received criticism. Defending her stance in a post on her website called Hijabtrendz, she says the rise of the Islamic clothing industry and models within it, has created controversy in some circles who say the concept is going against the stance that a Muslim woman should be modest.

So What Does This Mean for the Fashion Industry of Turkey?

The Islamic chic industry has been growing for many years in Turkey.  

Modanisa, a Turkish brand that established itself in 2012 as a reputable fashion e-commerce centre is extremely popular with their features of winter, summer, and pregnancy collections for Muslim women. Their rise to success is much like Artizara, another website focusing on Islamic fashion houses and designers.



Taha Yasin Toraman, one of the founders of the budget range Internet fashion outlet E-Tesettur, impressively shows through the range of goods for sale on her website that covering up no longer means a woman has to be unfashionable, while Armine is another Islamic Chic Internet success story that is also established with shops in Istanbul and around the country.

The Turkish publication Ala can also take credit. As Turkey’s leading style magazine for women’s clothes, its nickname is “Vogue of the Veil.”

While a walk around the more wealthy neighbourhoods of Istanbul reveals what some Turks call the Islamist  bourgeois, who only buy luxury and brand names within the Islamic clothing industry, wealthy Arabs, often flock to the Istanbul shopping malls of Fly Inn and Istinye Park to visit the upper-market brand houses featuring clothes fitting into the” Tesettur Giyim” industry.

This notion has attracted some criticism, but generally, the growing popularity of Turkish, Muslim women to be fashionable as well as pious has built up intense anticipation for the annual Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Istanbul on March the 14th 2016.

Featuring more than 20 designers, it is a guaranteed certainty that alongside the mainstream fashion shows, the catwalk will also devote a lengthy amount of time to Islamic fashion, given that many women in Turkey are becoming devout fans.

Meanwhile Iman Aldebe, an Islamic Chic haute designer living in Paris, who drifted into this field of work because she hated her mum’s baggy and loose dresses, says she wants to introduce other cultures and religious influences into the mainstream fashion industry. Pointing out this has partly been achieved because fashion industry trends turn over so quickly and they are always looking for new ideas, she believes Islamic chic, and the hijab haute culture is here to stay.


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