At play with the hi­jab

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

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

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