Antwerp: Headscarf fashion

Antwerp: Headscarf fashion

Fatima Rafiy of Antwerp, Belgium, is taking over the international fashion press with her headscarves. "Young Muslimas are my target group, but during the Paris fashion week Western women and men were also wild about my designs."

Noor D'Izar, literally 'beatury of the veil': is the label of Fatima Rafiy (39) and Inge Rombouts (45) of Antwerp. Fatima Rafiy is a Muslim who is looking for hipper headscarves which are also more comfortable to wear. Inge Rombouts, an experienced hand in the fashion world, also worked for Ann Demeulemeester.

"We got acquainted at a neighborhood party in our street," says Inge Rombouts. 'We got talking and immediately discovered a common passion: fashion. Fatima has been engaged for years with her creations and she asked me if I wanted to look at her designs. I was particulary impressed by her headscarves. So hip, I've never seen that yet. They were completely taken out of their religious context, I thought that was clever. I immediately saw the potential and gave up my job. Last April we started Noor D'Izar. Fatima designs and I'm kept busy with the business side."

The creative duo got the opportunity early this month to go to the Paris fahsion week. "I've always believed in my idea," says Fatima Rafiy. "It's a gap in the market, since there are no hip headscarves usually. But that my designs would also be liked by Western women, I've never considered that. They see my creations as a fashion accessory."

"The international fashion journalists were wildly enthusiastic. Next month we'll be on the cover of a German fashion journal, also the Danish and British press were interested and we'll soon appear in the Chinese Vogue."

Nethertheless, Western women were not the target group of the designer. "I wanted to create hip headscarves for myself and other young Muslimas, because you don't usually find it. And the existing designs are also exceptionally awkward. Draping and fastening with hairpins is a whole ritual and the headscarf never stays on well."

"I created a headscarf with a buildt-in headband, so that pins are superflous. And in addition I don't restrain myself: in imitation leather and imitation fur, crocheted as a cap and scarf in one, a sports design."

"My pilot design-concept was liked even by men during the Paris fashion week. They wanted to wear it under their motorcycle helmet. I thought that was really funny. I also have a design-concept with two slots so you could stick your sunglasses if you put them on your head."

They currently have a web-shop and a showroom, where people who are interested could try on their designs. Fatima Rafiy also designs by request.

And now a real store: "A chic boutique. I want to be the Arab Chanel. I pack my headscarves in luxury boxes. I don't get involved in the political discussions about headscarves. Whoever wants to wear one, fine. Whoever doesn't, also fine. I want to simply go through life as a designer, just like all other designers."

Source: Nieuwsblad (Dutch)

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