Islamic fashion gaining popularity in Moscow - Russia Beyond The Headlines
The Russian capital hosted the Islamic Style 4 International Fashion Festival on 15 June; the event was held as part of the Moscow Halal Expo. Several Russian fashion designers who specialize in Islamic fashion and style demonstrated their new collections.
Casual Muslim style
There are many stereotypes about Muslim dress. One of them is that the cuts and the colour schemes tend to be largely the same. But participants of the Islamic Style festival tried to make their collections as casual as possible, without contravening any Muslim canons. They have made good use of popular European fashion elements, such as long skirts, lacework, and various accessories.
One of the most distinctive features of the fashion items on display was intricate use of colour and texture. There were interesting combinations of pastels and bright patterns, as well as various ornaments. Classical narrow-waist floor-length dresses were contrasted with loose-cut designs, often with belts and shawls of matching colour, as well as trousers with long shirts and blouses tucked into skirts.
“I wanted to demonstrate that the same individual pieces can be used to create several interesting combinations, which can be interchanged quite easily, and produce a very different effect,” says one of the participating designers, Dilyara Sadriyeva. "I am really not interested in making clothes that simply look good on the catwalk. My goal is to make clothes for real life. I want every Muslim woman, or just any woman whatever who wants to dress without showing lots of skin, to be able to look good.”
There is now little doubt left that global fashion will increasingly turn towards Muslim traditions and culture. The world’s leading fashion houses have long begun to include Muslim dress elements in their collections, including high neck, covered shoulders, long skirts and dresses, and loose cuts.
In Russia, too interest in Islamic fashion has been growing in recent years. Nevertheless, it would be premature to say that this style has already become fully distinct.
“Talking about the highest tiers of fashion, we are talking about two or three leading designers, no more,” says Rusudan Kobyakova, fashion designer and founder of Laboratory 13. "I am talking about renowned professionals who offer interesting and unique solutions of their own," she told an RBTH correspondent. “But talking about the mass category, there are many more designers who have adopted this style." Kobyakova believes that even though this particular segment of the fashion market is undersupplied, the gap is closing because there is rapidly growing demand for Muslim dress and Islamic style as a whole. Russia already has some respected schools of fashion design, and Russian designers often travel abroad to learn tricks of the trade.
Covered look the new trend
The main consumers of modern Muslim fashion in Russia are women who follow the canons of Islam, but also want to keep up with the latest international trends.
A smaller but constantly growing group of clientele is women who espouse various religions but prefer a stylishly covered look. "I receive a lot of custom from non-Muslim women who simply prefer well-designed covered dress,” says Dilyara Sadriyeva. “Showing too much skin, the look of permissiveness is something many women as well as many men have grown tired of.”
“Modern fashion designers have left women practically in a state of undress, and now they need to be dressed up again," Dilyara argues. “In the 1980s, at the peak of the ‘anything goes’ style, women's fashion was extremely exposed. Now the pendulum is swinging back, and women are dressing themselves up again. I am talking about long skirts, pinafore dress, and European interpretations of eastern-style trousers. That is why many fashion design elements will be borrowed from Muslim fashion. The designers who can combine covered Muslim dress with European trends will be the winners.”
Russian style of Muslim fashion
Even though the Muslim style of dress is gaining popularity in Russia, experts do not believe that the streets of Russian cities will soon be full of women dressed like the denizens of Qatar, Saudi Arabia or other countries of the Arab East.
“We are not an Arabic country, and Arabic dress does not suit us," says Rusudan Kobyakova. "Russian Muslim fashion will always be different from any Eastern or Muslim fashion; it will be closer to the European style. Eastern Muslim dress is very strict, orthodox and nationally distinct. There is simply nowhere to wear such clothes for women in Russia.”
Meanwhile, the more relaxed Russian style of Muslim fashion is gaining popularity in the European markets as well as the Arabic countries. “Even though this is a fairly new style of fashion in Russia, we can offer our own distinctive look," says Dilyara Sadriyeva. “Our ideas attract quite a bit of interest abroad. We have achieved strong sales in the foreign markets. We receive a lot of custom from Europe as well as the Arabic countries. We work with these customers via the Internet, and there is constantly growing interest in what we have to offer."
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