Are Niqabs and Hijabs a Fashion Statement?

FASHION/RELIGION - Have you seen any women recently wearing a Niqab or Hijab?

No, I am not talking about Conservative Muslim women. I am talking about women (of any ethnic background) wearing it as some kind of fashion statement.

And an important point is you can now buy them in brand names like Calvin Klein and GAP.

Like WTF? How did that happen? Well, its not so much that these brand name companies are getting into the business, its the fact they're making scarves/etc that can be used as such.

First lets affiliate you with some of the fashion terms:

A Hijab is basically a hood that is worn over your hair.

A Niqab (or Niqaab) is a scarf you wear over your face. A full niqab covers everything but a slit for the eyes.

There's also:

Abaya - Covers you from head to toe except for the eyes, one large piece that looks very baggy. Usually found in Pakistan.

Burqa - Like the Abaya, but it covers the eyes with semi-transparent fabric or a grille. More common in Afghanistan.

Dupatta - Popular in Pakistan, covers the head and shoulders.

Its important to note this is NOT a religious belief per se... and nor is it sexist. Many men in Arab countries also wear headwear to cover their heads. Such things include the Igal, Bisht, Ihram, Kufi / Kuffiyya / Ghutra / Shmagh, Taqiyah cap, Thawb and the more commonly known Turban.

So yes, before you go jumping to conclusions you have to realize this is a CULTURAL tradition, not a religious edict. Some Muslim women choose to wear such things and often make that choice when they are a teenager (ah, the horrors of peer pressure). In that context they see their friends wearing such things and they follow suit.

After all if you're best friend gets a tattoo, or a nose piercing or a pair of high heels... are you repressing yourself if you choose to get the same thing for yourself? No, you're making a choice. Admittedly your friend played a role in making that choice, but thats just a sign of a strong friendship.

Thus when non-Muslim women start wearing such clothing its not simply because they're trying to make a fashion statement. Sometimes they just have Muslim friends who wear such things, they look at it, realize they'd like to wear a hood or whatever, so they go out and buy it.

I myself have a fondness for hoodies, especially on rainy days. I could see myself buying a hijab someday if I found one I really liked. Does it mean I would be changing my religion? No.

Its just a fashion statement and frankly I think thats kewl. It could even be considered sexy.

Granted I am not about to run out and buy any full-length garments that cover me head to toe... they just look too much like radiation suits to me. But I could certainly see wearing a wide variety of Muslim clothing.

Let me give you an example you might not normally think of: Look at the adorable photo below of the little girl wearing a Kufi hat. Those hats are totally kewl and I WANT ONE! It has nothing to do with religion, its just plain a really kewl looking hat. Who wouldn't want one?

David Dixon, Hip to be Different

FASHION - I really like David Dixon's fashion designs. They're simple, stylish and I can see wearing them on a day to day basis. They're sexy too.

What I also like is his choice of models. He picks his models carefully, choosing not just ethnically diverse models, but also being careful to pick models who have more meat on their bones as opposed to the disgustingly thin.

"I don't even think about it," admits Dixon. "It's not a conscious decision to cast women from various ethnicities. I pick the girls I like. I pick girls I think women can relate to."

Its also smart business sense. "I get feedback from women who have a critical opinion. They want to see themselves in these clothes," says Dixon. They're more likely to buy the clothes they can see themselves wearing.

Designer Mark Fast does the same thing. A couple weeks ago he insisted on having plus-size models for his 2010 spring fashion show... which drew a lot of media attention. Fast says: "My knits respond differently to different bodies. Some looks just work better on curves."

Which sparks my belief that "Its hip to be diverse", not just by adding plus size models, but by including models from a wide range of backgrounds.

Sunny Fong for example recently hired two models: One that was a lot older, and other who was bigger. "Other cities look to this unnatural ideal of what's beautiful," says Fong who only hires models with a waist larger than 24 inches. "I've never liked skinny-skinny models. They don't suit my clothes. My target market is real women, not skinny 16-year-old girls. When I put my clothes on skinny girls, they hang like they're on a hanger. I want the body to translate the garment. On a skinny girl, it says nothing."

Curves are sexy. Show em off!

Paris Fashion Gaffs

FASHION - You know what a gaff is right? Its a mistake. Its a blooper. Its the outtake that usually doesn't make it into TV or magazine spreads.

But unfortunately in the fashion world these gaffs do make the news, and in a silly way some people actually take them seriously.

Like the two images to the right.

You see, as an artistic / creative person myself, I would be totally embarrassed to make things that look so ridiculous. They can't be worn, they can't be taken seriously, they're barely even 'art' because they're not making a statement about anything.

And the holes? What is the point of that? There's no statement there. Ripped blue jeans makes a fashion statement, but only if the rips are real. Fake rips are for poseurs.

And then there's the 1/2 dress / 1/2 business suit... WTF is that? What a complete waste of fabric.

Sometimes I swear Paris fashion designers are sniffing glue or something. They could be making fashion which actually helps people, looks good, gives people jobs, makes them look professional...

"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." - Mark Twain.

To infer from that, well-dressed people are leaders and go out and change the world. People who dress like idiots will be treated like idiots (and not taken seriously).

And they say fashion isn't important?

Lindsay Lohan's Fashion Line

FASHION - Lindsay Lohan's latest fashion for Spring / Summer 2010 was unveiled on Sunday... and frankly, what brain-dead person would wear this crap?

The brand is Emanuel Ungaro and the fashion itself was co-designed by Barcelona-born designer Estrella Archs, which is a funny way of saying Archs did most of the work. Lindsay Lohan is just the "artistic advisor".

Ungaro has been a fashion house since 1965 and fashion designer/owner Emanuel Ungaro retired from the house in 2004 at the age of 71 and in 2005 the brand was sold. Esteban Cortazar was anointed the head designer...

But pedigree aside, I'd say it still sucks.

Its too... 1980s.

And I realize some people think the 1980s is in vogue again, but frankly this is too much. I am beginning to think people are taking it too far. Its one thing to bring back the "good fashion" from the 1980s, but why would you bring back the crappy fashions too?

Oh and there was WAAAAAY too much fuchsia and pink. Sorry, that is just too Barbie Girl for me.

And before you think I am just being mean, or copying what other people are saying go ahead and Google Lindsay Lohan Ungaro and you will see there are a lot of people who hate the fashion looks being produced at the new Ungaro. There are probably a 'few' who like it, but they are in a minority.

In summary Lindsay Lohan's fashion style... 1980s pink Barbie. Its like fashion for 9 year old girls...

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