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FASHION FORWARD, NOT UNTOWARD

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    MUSLIM CLOTHING DESIGNER: MODESTY DOESN T HAVE TO LOOK MUNDANE REBECCA SANTANA
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 4, 2007
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      MUSLIM CLOTHING DESIGNER: MODESTY DOESN'T HAVE TO LOOK MUNDANE
      REBECCA SANTANA
      http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newjersey/ny-bc-nj--muslimfashion1125nov25,0,85295.story


      ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, N.J. -- Brooke Samad's contribution to high
      fashion may not be as well known as Diane von Furstenberg's wrap dress
      or a Vera Wang wedding gown.

      But her long skirts with kick pleats and her kimono and Nehru jackets
      are allowing Muslim women who want to dress modestly, as their
      religion requires, to be fashionable at the same time.

      A year and a half ago, Samad, 27, created Marabo, a clothing line that
      she designs and sews herself in her small studio located in her home
      along the central, Jersey shore. The clothing line is geared toward
      Muslim women like herself who've had a difficult time finding suitable
      clothing at the mall or in catalogs.

      ===

      OR: FASHION FORWARD, NOT UNTOWARD
      VIVIAN McINERNY
      The Oregonian
      11/24/06
      http://www.oregonlive.com/living/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/living/1164239748100820.xml&coll=7



      Garments were loose-fitting, longer and sporty but as stylish as
      clothing on any runway. The difference? These conformed to Islamic
      modesty


      The hall went dark and a hush fell over the crowd. But when the music
      started and the spotlight shone on the catwalk, the all-woman audience
      cheered to see a slender model hit the stage in a chic designer dress
      . . . and hijab.

      About 320 women attended The Muslim Educational Trust's first benefit
      fashion show Saturday night at Portland State University, an event
      that put the mod in modesty -- and proved that hijab, modest dress
      worn by Islamic women, can be highly stylish.

      Islamic theology requires modesty in thought, behavior and dress.
      That's not always easy when surrounded by pop culture that encourages
      the opposite.

      "We have a hard time finding what we need," said Majeda Hodroj, who is
      originally from Lebanon but now calls Oregon home. "We have to buy
      extra-large so it won't be (immodestly) tight, and then it is too big
      at the shoulders."

      At the fashion show, Muslim vendors from Oregon and elsewhere who
      specialize in modest clothing showed their wares on the runway and
      sold them in the foyer afterward.

      The fashions honor ancient tradition but were certainly made for
      modern life:

      A red-and-navy track suit from Prima Moda looked like the sort of
      thing a sporty young woman would wear to class or coffee. But the
      zip-front jacket reached modestly to mid-thigh.

      Any fashion-savvy college student probably could see the influence of
      Vivienne Westwood in the black skirt with pockets, tabs and red plaid
      inserts by Rebirth of Chic. But instead of a sky-high mini length, the
      skirt fell to the ankles.

      Lavishly embroidered fabrics cut into evening jackets and skirts by
      Artizara looked thoroughly modern. But the fabrics are woven and
      embellished by artisans around the world trained in traditional crafts.

      "We wanted to assert that there is beauty in modesty," Asra Razzaque
      said of the philosophy behind the Artizara line, which she started
      with Sarah Ansari. Both women are from San Diego.

      One segment in the fashion show featured modern takes on traditional
      costumes from parts of Africa, the Middle East and India. The women
      watching the fashion show cheered to see the garb of their heritage.

      "There are so many different countries here, I don't recognize all the
      clothes," said Shazia Malik, an engineer originally from Kashmir
      region of India who now works in Portland.

      The audience represented a global community, including Islamic
      converts of European descent and non-Muslims who came to support friends.

      "After 9/11, we reached out to the Muslim community," said Setsy
      Larouche, a board member of the Portland chapter of the Japanese
      American Citizens League. "We didn't want them to experience what our
      families did during World War II, when it seemed no one was there for
      us."

      Afterward, women of the world shopped in the lobby. Not exactly world
      peace, perhaps, but still a bonding experience.


      Vivian McInerny: 503-294-4076; vmcinerny @ news.oregonian.com

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