Denmark: Danish-Muslim fashion house

New Danish designs for Muslim women combine the traditional headscarf with modern Western designs - but also send a signal to Danish politicians as well as Muslim fundamentalists that women should be free to wear a headscarf as they want.

How in the world can somebody combine ancient and traditional head covering with the latest new fashions from the western world's catwalks? That was the question which inspired 28-year old designer and color consultant Samar Safar to develop a design concept for Muslim women who wish to wear a headscarf, but at the same time, want to look hip and modern in their clothing.

Today she runs "Islamic Moon" - an internet based design company, which as the first of its type in Denmark offers designs which can be worn either with or without a Muslim headscarf - hijab.

"Many of my designs can be quickly adjusted, so the women can have the hijab on when they are out, but then let their hair out when they are home or visiting family. In this way the design adapts Muslim culture at the same time that it takes into account the individual woman's wish for clothing. For example fit, color and cut" says Samar Safar.

The young designer, who is of Palestinian origins but was raised in Denmark, began to wear a headscarf when she was 15. Samar Safar has linked the headscarf with beauty and womanhood since she was quite little. And when she herself was on her way to becoming a grown woman, she saw it as completely natural to wear a headscarf.

"It was my own choice, and my parents were then also wildly surprised, when I suddenly stood before them in my headscarf. I don't think they had expected it, but they backed me up," Samar Safar says.

Women's right to choose on their own is an important point for the young woman. The design company's site says "Hijab is your right - your choice - your freedom." And according to Samar Safar this is the message for everybody who gets involved in the headscarf debate - Muslims and Danes, to step back and let the women choose on their own.

"For me it's about giving women the possibility to choose on their own. Neither Danish politicians nor Muslim fundamentalists should decide for them, but the woman on her own, if it's right for her to wear a hijab or if it's right for her to drop it" says the designer.

In Samar Safar's company, the women make the decision. If they don't want a design with a headscarf, then Samar Safar gladly designs it without one. She has not yet been asked to design a burka, but won't reject the task.

"As a designer it's certainly my task to accommodate the customer's wishes," she says and adds, "There are two basic interpretation of hijab: complete covering, where also the face is hidden - the so-called niqab - and partial covering, where both the face and hands are visible. It's only a small minority which profess the first version, so it's clear that I engage most with the latter. And here it's just fantasy which limits the pattern, colors and style. It should never be dreary to go with a headscarf," says Samar Safar.

Source: Kristeligt Dagblad,
Islamic Moon(Danish)

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