The Jelbab Loves Mainstream

By Sahar Arrayeh

Modest fashion has been on the rise and making more appearances on the runways. Who can forget when Anniesa Hasibuan made us proud when her modest collection rocked the runways of New York Fashion Week September 2016. Abayas have always been the garment most associated with modest women, there is a huge market for it in the modest fashion world and it is starting to catch the attention of main stream designers. Dolce and Gabbana released an abaya collection, by doing that they have brought more attention the modest fashion industry.

But what about the Jelbab?

The jelbab is a traditional dress that is worn in many Middle Eastern and north African countries. It is characterised by always being long and wide, it will also have many different colours and patterns depending on which country it comes from. It is very versatile and can be worn in different occasions or even as a wedding dress, in some cases it is so simple and comfy that it is worn as a “stay at home and chill” dress. One thing we know for sure is that its beautiful and modest! not to mention so easy to wear! Modest fashion designers have been doing a great job at integrating jellabas into modern fashion, Fatma AlMulla of Fmm Dubai has certainly made the jelbab cool and relevant. So why are we not seeing more jebabs on the runway? But we are!

Looking at the catwalks during 2016, jelbabs have snuck into a few collections. Audiences see them as maxi dresses but a trained eye will tell you otherwise! Brands such as Acne studios and Marimekko have definitely been inspired by the jelbab, even if it was not intentional. Their catwalks have featured designs that can easily be seen as jelbabs.  Acne Studios ready to wear 2017 collection featured more than one “Jelbab” and has traditional Arabian influences, Balenciaga as well.

So maybe pull out the old jelbab from the back of your closet, style it up with some accessories and call it fashion because 2017 is the year of the Jelbab.

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