In­done­sian Mus­lim de­signer's hi­jab col­lec­tion proves di­vi­sive

Kuwait Times - - WEEKENDER -


An In­done­sian Mus­lim de­signer has drawn global at­ten­tion with a col­lec­tion fea­tur­ing hi­jabs com­bined with glit­ter­ing gowns and flow­ing tu­nics, de­fy­ing con­ser­va­tive crit­ics in her home­land who say the out­fits are not mod­est enough. When An­niesa Ha­si­buan show­cased her col­lec­tion at last month’s New York Fash­ion Week, it was the first time the pres­ti­gious an­nual event saw all the mod­els on the cat­walk sport­ing hi­jabs.

The 30-year-old, who was the first In­done­sian de­signer to have her own show at the event, won praise from fash­ion crit­ics around the world, which she said was “to­tally un­ex­pected”. “Every­one ap­pre­ci­ated my de­signs, praise be to God,” she said Fri­day at Jakarta Fash­ion Week, as she brought her col­lec­tion back to the city where she lives.

Ha­si­buan’s works have pre­vi­ously fea­tured at shows in Lon­don, Is­tan­bul and Cannes but New York Fash­ion Week ce­mented her sta­tus as a ris­ing star. Her cur­rent col­lec­tion fea­tures col­or­ful tu­nics, a mod­ern take on the Ja­panese ki­mono and sparkly evening gowns with lacey trains, all com­bined with the hi­jab-the tra­di­tional cov­er­ing for the head and neck worn by many Mus­lim women. The elab­o­rate out­fits are dec­o­rated with se­quins and em­broi­dery, and com­bine warm, earthy colours with more vi­brant ones such as pink, gold, peach and green. Called “D’Jakarta”, the col­lec­tion-which was also show­cased on Fri­day-is in­spired by Ha­si­buan’s love for the In­done­sian cap­i­tal Jakarta where she lives, a me­trop­o­lis of 10 mil­lion peo­ple that is a melt­ing pot of dif­fer­ent cul­tures and tra­di­tions.

The at­ten­tion on Ha­si­buan’s work comes af­ter Is­lamic cloth­ing ear­lier this year hit global head­lines due to a row in strictly sec­u­lar France over whether Mus­lim women had the right to wear the burkini swim­suit, which cov­ers all but the hands, feet and face.

French courts ul­ti­mately ruled that a burkini ban by some 30 towns was “clearly il­le­gal” and a vi­o­la­tion of fun­da­men­tal rights. But for Ha­si­buan, the re­cep­tion of her work abroad has some­times been bet­ter than in In­done­sia, which has the world’s big­gest Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion, and where con­ser­va­tive crit­ics have at­tacked her for mak­ing cloth­ing they deem im­mod­est.

‘Just a de­signer’

The de­signer said that when she was in New York, peo­ple fo­cused more on the artis­tic side of her de­signs rather than the re­li­gious as­pects. “I felt very com­fort­able be­cause they didn’t care whether I was a Mus­lim de­signer or not-I was just a de­signer to them,” she told AFP.

She is not the first de­signer from the coun­try to ex­per­i­ment with mix­ing the hi­jab with glam­ourous gowns. Is­lamic fash­ion in In­done­sia, where most prac­tise a mod­er­ate form of Is­lam, is of­ten more dar­ing and ex­per­i­men­tal than in other Mus­lim coun­tries.

Hi­jabs can be elab­o­rate and ex­pen­sive in In­done­sia, and wealthy women can be seen wan­der­ing Jakarta’s fancy malls wear­ing hand­stitched head­scarves dec­o­rated with pre­cious gems. Nev­er­the­less ris­ing con­ser­vatism across so­ci­ety, which has led to in­creased at­tacks on re­li­gious mi­nori­ties and calls for al­co­hol to be banned, has also tar­geted de­sign­ers who try to push the boundaries of Is­lamic fash­ion. While she has re­ceived a great deal of praise at home, pho­tos of Ha­si­buan’s de­signs on her so­cial me­dia ac­counts have also been flooded with crit­i­cism.

“The hi­jab is not worn cor­rectly be­cause it still shows the neck and chest,” Face­book user Um­mie Salamah wrote on Ha­si­buan’s ac­count. “Cov­er­ing your chest is a must-it is God’s or­der, please do not ne­go­ti­ate.” Some con­ser­va­tive Mus­lims ar­gue the true aim of wear­ing the hi­jab is for women to re­main mod­est and not draw any at­ten­tion to them­selves, and the head cover­ings should not be elab­o­rately dec­o­rated or col­or­ful. Nev­er­the­less, Ha­si­buan is de­ter­mined to stick to de­sign­ing Is­lamic cloth­ing with a mod­ern, glam­orous twist. “Con­tro­versy is ev­ery­where, I faced it here (in In­done­sia) and all over the world,” she said. “But I try to stay pos­i­tive.”

Mod­els present cre­ations by In­done­sian Mus­lim de­signer An­niesa Ha­si­buan dur­ing Jakarta Fash­ion Week yes­ter­day.


In­done­sian Mus­lim de­signer An­niesa Ha­si­buan holds a bou­quet of flow­ers af­ter she pre­sented her col­lec­tion dur­ing Jakarta Fash­ion Week.

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