Islamic fashion, flowing with confidence, graces the catwalks of Arab Fashion Week
Young British designer Zoe Eckett presented her collection of muslimwear on May 18 during Arab Fashion Week in Dubai, showing a range that was delicate yet uncomplicated.
While subject to much criticism in recent years, Islamic fashion has continued to flourish. According to the Islamic Fashion and Design Council of Dubai, this market could soon be worth some 445 billion euros in just a few years.
This fashion trend aims to reconcile religious values and fashion sensibility, and includes apparel such as hijabs, head scarves covering women's hair, and the abayas, the robe-like outerwear worn by Muslim women. Now some western brands are joining in.
Uniqlo, Marks & Spencer, Dolce & Gabbana have entered this market, provoking an uproar and debates in France, where some observers fear the trend will encourage the formation of a more isolated community. Zoe Eckett feels quite differently about this area of fashion. The British-born designer says: “Every summer I would see many tourists from Arab countries and I was impressed by their elegance and style. So I went to Dubai and launched my Eckett Couture label to offer my vision of Islamic fashion.”
For the past year, the designer has been developing collections that combine traditional values and modernity. She retails her clothes through her e-shop and in her first bricks-and-mortar store in Dubai. The looks she presented in her catwalk at Arab Fashion Week were delicate but self-assured.
The pastel-colored clothes featured fine embroidered flowers on trousers and flowing, light and airy silk dresses. Another segment of the show presented more traditional looks, including models wearing lightweight veils, but always with clothes in modern cuts. The ten-minute runway showcased an Islamic fashion that was highly feminine with a fairytale quality.
Jacob Abrian, founder of Arab Fashion Week, is also convinced of the potential of the Islamic fashion market and takes a broader view: “I think these clothes are not just for Muslim women. They can be sold all over the world. An English, a Russian or even an Italian woman can wear these outfits."
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