Arts & Culture, Fashion, Features

Hipsters and Hijabs Movement: Bringing Faith and Fashion Together

By Aly Zorn If you have read are latest November/October magazine you may be aware of Summer Albarcha of the popular Instgram account, "Hipsters Hijabs's." Turns out Summer is not alone in her endeavour to fuse faith with high fashion, because why can't Hijabs and modest dress be just as fashionable as any other style?! Summer and many other trendy individuals are sparking a new movement, reinterpreting traditional means of conservative dress with style and flare. A whole new niche market in the fashion industry is gaining momentum through these young and self aware individuals, who are tired of being left behind when it comes to fashion. 5438180a3fd12.image Photo via Summer Albarcha speaks during a Fashion Forward session in Dubai Meet Ibtihaj Muhammad, a member of the United States fencing team and founder of Louella, a Los-Angeles based fashion brand catering to modest dress. Muhammad said to National Post, "We want to be current in fashion and adhere to the tenets of our faith... I just got tired of spending money and chasing this idea of the perfect modest dress." Muhammad always found it such a struggle to find long-sleeved, floor-length dresses when travelling and speaking on behalf of the US Team. Clearly she is not the only one. Her Louella line has sold almost 4000 pieces since its launch around 3 months ago. Her line includes floor length sheer cardigans and dresses in bright colours and prints. Another Los Angeles based brand that is paving the way for the Hipsters and Hijabs movement is Vela Scarves, owned by Marwa Atik. The designer graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and felt her hijab had always been a barrier to fashion expression. She stated that it was easy to be pinned into common stereotypes, so she took matters into her own hands. Atik participated in a creative video production made by a group of women who donned themselves the Mipsterz, Muslim Hipsters, using it to position her Vela Scarves line. The short film depicted the ultra stylish Muslim women in fashionable hijabs and heels skateboarding. She sold more than 3,200 of her colourful and beautifully patterned scarves last year and has plans to expand her line into apparel. See the video, titled Somwhere in America, below.     Some criticized the video for being too Westernized, but it only seems like a natural byproduct of a generation of Muslim women becoming of age in a social media era. The Muslim population is the second largest in the world and can no longer be ignored. High fashion labels DKNY and Chanel agree! This past summer DKNY released a Ramadan collection, during the Holy Islamic month and Karl Lagerfeld's Chanel Cruise Collection, presented in Dubai, was inspired by the rich culture of the middle east. Albert Momdijan, founder and CEO of Dubai-based Sokotra Capital believes it is a market that is ripe for investment. It is clear that designers and retailers will be missing out if they choose not to capitalize on the Hipsters and Hijabs movement. For Atik the word hipster is already out of style, but modesty, well that is here to stay, along with the inspirational and fashionable women behind it.

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