Muslim Women Setting Fashion Trends

Muslim women and designers are setting fashion trends.

"It's a challenge to be modest and fashionable," says fashion show coordinator Aliyah Ali.

"When you nail it, it's really fun."

Fashionistas Kim Kardashian and Cynthia Bailey of the "Real Housewives of Atlanta" have both been seen in a caftan, a Muslim over-garment often adorned with jewels. 

Retailers such as Target, Sears, Anne Taylor and H&M carry oblong scarves, also known as a shayla in the Muslim community. Ali says tunic tops, maxi dresses, head wraps and wide-legged pants are among the Muslim fashions that have inspired mainstream designers.

"We are setting the tone for other women for fashion. A lot of prominent designers are using us as their muse," said Aliya Khabir, a long-time fashion show coordinator. 

United Muslim Masjid is set to celebrate fashion and womanhood -- hijabi as they call it or the "Muslimah life" by bringing Muslim fashions to the runway. The 15th Annual Sister's Recognition Luncheon and Fashion Show, called "Beautifully Adorned," is this Saturday at The Hilton Hotel on City Avenue at 11 a.m. 

"You can be covered and still be beautiful," said model Shahida Muhammad. "There's a misconception if you're covered that you're oppressed. This shows women are empowered."

The fashion show has developed a following and is known as a 'Muslim Fashion Week' on the East Coast. Hundreds of attendees are expected from New York City to Atlanta. The day of fashion was founded by Fatimah Gamble, wife of Kenny Gamble and co-founder of Universal Companies.

"This is the one event regardless of which mosque you go to you know where you are going to be the day before Mother's Day each year," said Khabir.

"It's a wonderful challenge to put a modest spin on clothes you find fashionable," said designer Renee Hill-Islam, a graduate of Moore College of Art. "I love making clothes. It gives you a sense of pride." 

Hill-Islam's collection includes a series of camouflage outfits. She said she was influenced by her daughters and teen culture. 

Other designs in the show are inspired by Africa and Dubai. Also, expect leather skirts, big accessories and high-end shoes on the runway. Zinman Furs kicks off the show and Authentic Statements on Locust Street will showcase their Saudi-inspired garments. 

Muslims and non-Muslims are invited to the fashion show, "Beautifully Adorned: Celebrating the Timeless Elegance of the Modern Muslimah."

Tickets are $50 at the door and include lunch and a gift.

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