Paris. London. Milan. New York. These are the principal fashion capitals of the world. Everyone knows they are a cut above other cities.
When it comes to Muslim fashion, though, Jakarta has a lot going for it. The country’s rising middle class has fueled a boom in the domestic fashion industry. The Industry Ministry and the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry have already announced plans to turn Indonesia into an Islamic fashion capital by 2020.
“I believe Indonesia can soon be the Paris of the international Muslim vogue,” said Irna Mutiara, a Muslim fashion designer. “We’re already a trendsetter for Muslim fashion styles.”
Indonesian women have long been known for their fashion sense, she added.
“When going on the pilgrimage to Mecca, Indonesian women always stand out,” Irna said. “Our beautiful fashion styles have always invited other pilgrims to start a conversation.”
International buyers are increasingly taking notice of Indonesia’s Muslim fashion, and efforts are under way in the country to cultivate a vibrant local industry. One of the keys is the unique, varied styles and tastes of Indonesians, especially women.
In recent years, more Indonesian women have donned the hijab, whose main purpose is to protect a woman from unwanted attention, designer Sarfilianty Anggiani said . Some believe that wearing the garment is required by the Koran, which tells Muslim women to guard their bodies against men’s lustful stares.
But nowadays, Sarfilianty said , the hijab is a “hot fashion trend.”
“Women don’t just wear it for religious reasons alone,” she said.” They also want to look chic.”
According to Sarfilianty, many of the young women wearing the hijab are fashion forward and tech savvy. They take pictures of themselves and their friends wearing stylish hijabs and upload the images onto social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Multiply. That in turn feeds awareness about what looks good, as Muslim women see what their peers are doing.
“Many see a unique style on the Internet and decide to follow suit,” Sarfilianty said. “I believe this is the start of a very positive movement.”
And the domestic Muslim fashion industry is growing along with this movement, she added.
“Indonesian hijabs have become much more fun and stylish these days,” she said. “Women look outstanding when wearing them.”
The colors, patterns and styles of hijabs draw attention to the women who wear them.
Read more: Jakarta Globe