Two designers give local fashion a twist with their collection that’s inspired by Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, writes Shuhada Elis
MODEST fashion has taken the industry by storm these past few years. From abaya and dresses to long skirts and loose pants, fashion blogs and retail outlets have been competing to come out with the best look for women, who want to look good while not showing so much skin.
Here, even celebrities are bidding goodbye to sexy looks and opting for more modest wear.
Gone are the days when trendy haircut and hair colour were the talk of the town. Now, it’s all about the style and the brand of hijab. But with fashion houses coming up with new ideas for modern and modest wear, what else can appeal to the masses?
This is where two women, who met abroad by chance, decided to break away from conventional fashion and add some “fur” in their design for Hari Raya.
Looking up to retail giants like Zara and Mango, Hayati Jamil and Anna Yasmin Mahmud have embarked on a design process for their label, Rania.
Hayati met Anna, a graduate from Uptodate Fashion Academy in Milan, during her holidays in the fashion city two years ago. Since then, they have spent long, tedious hours analysing fashion trends spotted on the runways in Milan, New York and Paris.
The result is Rania’s first collection comprising long dresses designed for women for work, social functions and weekends.
The collection has 11 designs. Instead of normal scarf and hijab, Rania introduces Russian hats.
Office wear comes in V-neck and military maxi dress with white top whereas baby doll maxi in cotton jersey and satin is designed for the socialites. For a young and chic look, a duke blue and dim grey dress in cotton jersey is suitable for casual outing.
Some dresses have faux fur scarf around the neck. But this is a tropical country, so what’s this fascination with winter, furry hats and scarves? Are they appropriate for the local market?
“Yati loves fashion hats and so do I. It’s good to replace the conventional scarf with a hat and we believe the market can adapt to the concept,” says Anna who adds that her designs were inspired by Anna Karenina, that tome by Leo Tolstoy, which embodies the rich and lustrous ambience of cold wintry Russia.
Rania aims to appeal to both Muslims and non-Muslims who don’t want to show too much skin.
For Hayati, the choice is with the wearer. “One can opt for the hat and scarf or wear the normal hijab. We also design conventional scarves,” she says.
MATTER OF MATERIAL
Despite naming it winter collection, the dresses are made of cotton jersey, satin and chiffon because of the local weather. However, the light and soft materials cling to the body, which somehow makes it less appropriate for Muslim women who wear the hijab. The shape and silhouette of the chest can be seen clearly. The duo say the collection “presents a different view of Muslimah fashion.”
Hayati says the materials are practical for Muslim women to perform ablution. “Cotton lycra is even more body hugging than jersey,” she adds.
The scarf, though trendy, does not fully cover the neck and chest. I wouldn’t call this Muslimah fashion since, in some cases, the neck and chest are exposed. The hats are also not suitable for daily wear and will only be appropriate for dinners or functions.
The partners are working on resort wear which will hit the online market soon. The range will be in bright colours and features two-piece outfits. The choice of material is crepe but the designers will stick to cotton jersey for a certain target market.
For now, Rania collection is available online only.