At play with the hijab
JAKARTA: After donning a blue Cinderella dress, Sind Yanti carefully arranges her pale yellow hijab, or traditional headscarf, into folds that resemble hair.
“Wearing a hijab should not be a barrier for anything. We are free to be creative,” says the 24-year-old Indonesian designer after posting selfies of her latest “cosplay” outfit.
She is among a growing number of young Muslim women in southeast Asia who are taking part in hijab costume play, finding creative ways to incorporate the head covering into colourful fantasy costumes.
Yanti’s fashions are inspired by Disney and Japanese anime characters, with artful hijab designs that resemble wigs or hoods. She can express herself while preserving the Islamic requirement of modest dress for women, she says.
The fashion play is also popular in neighbouring Muslim-majority Malaysia, where young people dressed as superheroes, warriors and princesses flocked to a cosplay show in Kuala Lumpur, the capital.
Among them was 20-year-old Nursyamimi Minhalia, who wore a black hijab cut to form a fringe with two buns on either side.
“Usually I pick a character hat covers most of my body, so it’s easier for me to wear it in the Muslimah style,” she says, employing the Arabic term for Muslim women.
Yanti says hijab cosplay has helped her stay true to her faith, even while enjoying the cosplay experience.
“If I took off my hijab just because of cosplay, I’d feel sorry for myself,” she says.
“It would feel like there is a conflict inside my heart.” – Reuters