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Weeklong fashion event in Dubai promotes modest designs

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2018年4月2日
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Weeklong fashion event in Dubai promotes modest designs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A weeklong fashion event in Dubai is being held without catwalks, models or skin-baring designs.

Instead, around 30 designers of fashionable modest wear– some Muslim and others not– from nearly two dozen countries showcased their long-sleeved and floor-length pieces on large screens. Buyers could see and touch the collections up close in one of Dubai’s newest shopping districts, a shimmering maze of walkways and fountains. At the start of the event, a handful of designs were paraded around the plaza.

“We did away with the catwalk. We thought that was one of the most antiquated things,” Alia Khan, chairwoman of the Islamic Fashion and Design Council (IFDC), said, explaining the decision to nix the most common elements of fashion shows around the world.

Khan spoke Wednesday, the opening night of the event dubbed “A Modest Revolution.” It showcases the latest creations by designers hoping to capitalize on a growing desire by Muslim shoppers to wear modest clothing that is also fashionable.

Italian designer Isabella Caposanno’s long-sleeved evening-wear dresses can take months to make by hand, and some cost upward of 30,000 euros ($37,000). Her clients include Arab royalty.

Under-Rapt offers modest sportswear, with longer, looser tops. Its leggings include flaps that fall just below the hips to give extra cover to the rear and front.

Another line, called Blue Meets Blue, employs refugees who have resettled in the Chicago area to make dressy and formal wear.

“We’re trying to change the stereotypes of refugees in the U.S., as well. We want people to know that they’re very hardworking, they’re very excited to be in their new country and they want an opportunity to show that,” said Shahd Alasaly, designer and founder of the American-made brand.

Alasaly says her customers aren’t just Muslims, but also Orthodox Jewish women who want to wear something that’s “classy, timeless and elegant.”

How women choose to dress modestly varies around the world. Often, Muslim women who cover their hair with a hijab, or headscarf, in public do so in ways that reflect the local culture and their interpretation of Islamic guidelines.

But even women who dress modestly and cover their hair can find themselves at odds with conservatives who say the hijab should not be eye-catching and should conceal a woman’s beauty from strangers.

“Modest fashion comes in so many different ways and I think people tend to pigeon-hole it and stereotype it,” Khan said. “Designers are coming from all walks of life. All have their own interpretation.”

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