Culture & Society


ELEGANT kaftans, toga dresses, zuave pants are fast becoming a must have in the wardrobes of fashionistas around the world. The West seems to be finally waking up to the influence of Islamic cultures on fashion. “Many young Muslims are creatively wearing layers of clothing which is both chic and fulfils what may be deemed as Islamic,” says Professor Faegheh Shirazi, Associate Professor, Islamic Studies Program, University of Texas at Austin.

The new trend is catching up with other communities as well. “I have read testimonials and comments by orthodox Jewish women as well as others from various communities praising the clothes and saying how nice and comfortable they are,” she adds.

In desi galis
Back in Delhi. When you walk into the galis of Chandni Chowk or Balli Maron, your eyes are drawn to the zari-worked salwars, netted lehengas and intricately-designed jootis. Deeba Abrar, a resident of Jamia Nagar, says, “Whenever we have time, we go to shop at Chandni Chowk to get the best of things at the cheapest price.” Priyanka Guha Roy hardly wears anything ethnic. However, when she has to buy clothes for her mother, she prefers kurtis or sarees from Chandni Chowk or Lajpat Nagar market. Speaking on the influence of Islamic motifs, she says, “Lot of motifs, especially the geometrical ones, are so cool. Now a day, it is even there on sarees.”

On the ramp
On the Indian fashion stage, Middle Eastern and Turkish motifs are a new rage. “With a resurge of Islamic influence in Turkey, one also sees a growing influence of Islam on fashion,” says Apla Srivastava, fashion stylist, FnL Magazine. Collections by designers like Zubair Kirmani and Renu Tandon show the influence of Islam in the design and fabric used. Kirmani, who comes from Kashmir, says, “My collections are influenced by movements like Sufism. I also use a lot of geometry in design.” His work, at the forthcoming Wills Lifestyle Fashion Week (WLFW), promises to be all about deep tones like blue, maroon and copper with black. Tandon’s WIFW collection too promises to focus on Islamic influence. Named Mystic, the work has lot of tunics and innovates with silhouettes on kaftans. “Though I am targeting customers from the Middle East, my dresses will also appeal to Indians,” says Tandon.

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