March 11, 2009
Johana Bhuiyan wears a long white skirt. Her hair and neck are wrapped in a pink and white hijab falling over a long sleeved white shirt. Shell-pink shoes finish the look. "A few years year ago it would take me ages to put together an outfit," confesses Bhuiyan, 16, from Queens. "Now it takes a few moments."
Baggy jeans and loose shirts are old news for Muslim girls like Bhuiyan who, are mixing the Islamic dress code with in vogue. The element of élan and savoir-faire cannot be missed.
Ausma Khan, editor of Muslim Girl, a magazine for Muslim teens in the United States and Canada, says, "In America we're seeing an evolution where the governing principle of modesty remains the same, but at the same time it is incorporating contemporary styles of dressing."
This fusion is bringing more Muslim girls within the fold of the Islamic dress code rather than westernizing them. Colorful hijabs, printed skirts, full dresses, knee length outfits with jeans and wide-legged pants are part of the ensemble. One easy way of achieving variation is wearing clothes in layers -- a shapely and shear garment over concealing material.
Balancing the religion and fashion equation is a challenge. "It gets complicated mixing Islamic tradition and western fashion when you come from religious families," says Bushra Chaudhary.
After spending years in school wearing an "Islamic uniform" the 20- year- old makes a big effort to look good in college despite strong opposition at home. "You get sick of standing out and just want to blend in and look good," she says.
Chaudhary, who loves shopping at Union Square Park, admits that dressing up for Muslim girls involves being creative everyday. "Since there is nothing being designed specifically for us the key is to mix and match."
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