Fellow hijabi blogger Jana at Hijab Style, and myself were mentioned once again, today in The Star.
As fall’s oversized fashion bibles begin landing on magazine stands with a thud, a major trend will be conspicuously absent.
And that’s fine by Jana Kossaibati, a 19-year-old medical student in London, whose new blog, Hijab Style, is filling the void for Muslim women around the world. Billed as Britain’s first style guide for “Muslimahs,” the site has inspired knockoffs and is proving to be an invaluable resource for fashionistas who are becoming more adventurous than ever with their hijabs.
“Forget London, Paris or New York, the Arab Gulf is where glamorous hijab is at,” Kossaibati writes in a post about her favourite headscarf style. “And boy do those Khaleeji girls know how to rock their shaylas.”
Adopting and adapting hijab styles from all over the Muslim world is a relatively new tradition. For centuries, Muslims typically wore a headscarf reflective of their heritage. Today, while most older women still do, that custom is fading.
Kossaibati’s fashion views, which were aired in an article in the British daily The Guardian this week, have caused a stir among readers who have since flocked to her blog.
“Some people, both Muslim and non-Muslim seem to find the notion of `hijab fashion’ (and my blog is about style for goodness sake, not fashion), a contradictory concept,” she writes on her blog.
“Apparently, modesty dictates that you look as `blah’ as possible. Apparently, wearing hijab means you should shun all worldly notions of `style’ and `looking good'” she adds. “There is nothing wrong with having a personal sense of style. Islam does not dictate to us which colours to wear or which hijab wrap is the best.”
Blogger Imaan, a 21-year-old Norwegian Muslim who launched The Hijab blog last month, says she favours the Spanish style.
“You see it all over Cairo,” says Imaan, who didn’t want her surname published. The style, which goes on like a bandana and is tied at the back of the head, has sparked some controversy since it leaves the neck exposed. Imaan plays it both ways by sporting a turtleneck with the headscarf.
“I think it’s very good to be creative with the hijab,” she says in a telephone interview. “When my non-Muslim friends and colleagues see me, they get very excited. They want me to teach them how to tie the different styles.”
She believes experimenting with the hijab invites more positive interest in Islam from outsiders “than if you’re wrapped in a burka.”
Sobia Malik, a psychology student at York University, started experimenting with new ways to wrap her hijab after she started wearing one a few years ago. She wanted a style that would help boost her confidence and not look out of place with her fashionable Western clothes.
After a few months of trial and error in front of the mirror, she perfected a technique that has turned heads and garnered compliments from strangers.
A couple of weeks ago, she was in line for the Psyclone at Canada’s Wonderland when two young Muslim women standing behind her asked about her hijab. Malik invited the women to a public washroom and showed them, step by step, how to tie their own rectangular pashminas. When the lesson ended, Malik said the girls were surprised at how easy and comfortable it was.
Malik, who buys her scarves from H&M, Costa Blanca and Suzy Shier, said she doesn’t know if the style has a name.
“I call it `My Way.'”