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Courtesy of Hana Tajima
Young, chic Muslim women keep head-scarves and veils in fashion.
On a Sunday afternoon, hundreds of young Muslim women gathered at a shopping mall in Central Jakarta. Just like any teenagers, they were cheerful and stylish despite wearing hijab, the headscarf for Muslim women that covers the neck and hair.
In that afternoon, those young Muslim women were drawn together to meet their veil style gurus: Indonesian Dian Pelangi and British Dina Toki-o and Hana Tajima.
The three ladies are fashion muses for young Indonesian women, who are familiar with the virtual world.
Stylish and avid bloggers, the three women display their colorful and fun styles on social media and sell the items to thousands of readers. Accordingly, Muslim women in Indonesia have shifted the way of wearing head covers in their direction.
Dian’s, Toki-o’s and Tajima’s veil styles apply a sophisticated touch to simple scarves, shawls or pashminas for daily wear, making the veils part of modernity rather than a legacy of religious tradition.
To them, head-covers are no different from other types of clothing, which are elements of confidence and comfort rather than religious decrees.
Toki-o prefers animal-print or floral-print scarves; while Tajima is known for her plain and short scarf — usually in flat colors such as dark mocha.
JP/Hijab Street Style: Dian PelangiDian’s signature is strongly influenced by Malay style and Toki-o’s by Middle Eastern fashion, while Tajima’s capuchon and other style attributes are smooth adaptations of what urban youth wear nowadays.
Dian is already an established designer whose brand, Dian Pelangi, has become a significant wave in the country’s
fashion. Meanwhile, British Toki-o and Tajima are all up-and-coming designers who respectively reside in London and New York.
Dian said that she was sad to hear of Muslim women being pictured as old-fashioned and tacky on account of their loose clothing and veiled heads. As her passion was for fashion, she then determined to change such looks by fusing the long, covering clothes with international flavors.
“I love to browse on the Internet and blog-walk to get inspiration. I am also fond of traveling — the activity which has given me so many ideas for my designs,” Dian told participants of the Sunday gathering.
“For example, when I went to Europe and they had a certain style I would bring that European look home and it would inspire my next designs. Also when I went to the Middle East, I would bring that atmosphere to my sketching,” said Dian.
Among her adaptations are India-originated harem trousers that turns out to be an eclectic match to various Muslim blouses and head covers. She first showcased them at Jakarta Fashion Week in 2009.
The 21-year-old Dian said that she was thrilled at the development of fashion in Muslim women. “Yes, we have fixed rules for wearing the hijab, but I also think that we can add our personal flavor to it.”
Dian says the street style of hijab should reflect the characters of the wearers. “The most important thing is that you have to be comfortable with what you wear and it should be in line with Islamic teachings.
“I have a friend who loved skinny jeans, but those tight trousers were a trouble when she made her wudhu [religious ablutions]. She then transformed the skinny jeans to be more wearable for shalat [prayer] by putting zippers on the bottom sides of the pants.”
As for veils, Dian relied on personal styling of colorful shawls or scarves. “But now I see that jilbab sosor, a veil that is worn from the top of the head like a T-shirt and can be used for 20 different styles, as an interesting alternative. Simple, but it gives you various styles.”
Courtesy of Dina Toki-oToki-o, whose real name is Dina Torkia, from Cardiff, said that she liked to experiment with her scarves, “I go a bit ‘crazy’ sometimes, but I think the Indonesians love it.”
The Cairo-born 22-year-old said that she preferred to set the trend, instead of following someone else’s fashion. Toki-o said that in where she lived, Muslim women’s clothing — black suits or abaya, long and loose dresses — were quite intimidating for some people.
“But when we dress up like this, in colorful scarves and outfits, they become excited and curious,” said Toki-o, who named Elie Saab as one of her favorite designers. “In London, people recognize me, but not as much as in Indonesia.”
Toki-o admitted that anything could inspire her in designing scarves and dresses. She looked on different cultures and mixed them up with Islamic modesty and the high-street flair of London look.
“Just ignore people who look down on us,” suggested Toki-o to the young women.
Born of British and Japanese parents, Tajima, 25, said that she was excited to see young Indonesian women who were inspired by her veil styles, which she had created by accident.
“I came up with the designs by accident. The silk from my original scarf was an off-cut from a dress I was working on, it was on my studio floor and I just picked it up and started playing around with it. The best things happen organically like that, it just seemed to fall into place,” shared Tajima.
Tajima says she does not like the word “fashion” and prefers to describe what she does as basically mixing style and expression.
“Both my parents are artists, so I grew up in a really creative environment … Putting shapes together, working out how fabrics work when they’re draped over the body.”
Tajima said that she was joyful at seeing women expressing themselves through their clothes.
“In Southeast Asia everything is bold and colorful and has a sort of playful youth to it. It’s really inspiring. Then I’ll come back to the UK and see these girls doing incredibly subtle but incredibly cool things with their style,” she said.
Quick steps to street style hijab:
•Look around, browse the Internet, take a sneak-peak on various fashion bloggers’ blogs for inspiration. Be creative; be brave in fusing various colors, patterns and styles.
•Being fashionable does not require you to spend a lot. Take a look into your siblings’ or mother’s closets, you may find some cool or vintage pieces to borrow.
•Check YouTube for Dian’s, Toki-o’s and Tajima’s video tutorials on wearing stylish veils.
Dian Pelangi: dianpelangi.com and
Dina Toki-o: dinatoki-o.com and lazydoll.com
Hana Tajima: hanatajima.tumblr.com, stylecovered.com and maysaa.com