Thursday, 18 February 2010

Hijab Style Needs YOU!

I am in the process of writing a post about today's Islamic clothing industry, and where improvements need to be made. Although I have an extensive list of points to make, it would be great to hear direct from readers what you think is missing from Islamic clothing companies and how they can improve. For example; would you rather shop from the high street or from Islamic clothing websites? Are you happy with the range of clothing offered? What stops you from buying from these websites, and what would encourage you?

Please write your thoughts in the comments section, and don't forget to mention what part of the world you live in! And please note, we're not here to bash individual companies, but making constructive observations.

I look forward to reading your comments!

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

i don't feel happy buying from a website that doesnt do paypal, but mashaallah i looked up one of your shopping links from indoniesia and im about to order some really nice tops because they do paypal! thats something alot of the uk islamic clothing websites don't offer.

Anonymous said...

I prefer buying things in a shop rather than online. You need to try things on and clothes always appear different on computer screen!

Mido said...

Hi!!
I'm a hijabi that lives in Cork Ireland, I have to admit that in recent years there has been a huge improvement in the range of clothes available but the main problems remain the same.....

A)Many T-shirts are still too short(on the hip)....leading to uncomfortable layering during summer months...

B)when buying online...the looser, more modest clothes rarely have a nice shape or cut too them. making them look like granny clothes!!(I'm 19 not 91!!!)

C) Many day-dresses which I like to layer over jeans are quite tight around the bust area....leading me to buy a bigger size....which makes them look baggy...not a good look!!!!

Hope this help...can't wait to read your article/post!!

Lâle said...

id really like to shop from the high street rather than web sites as i could try on the clothes and see the fabric as quite often the images of clothes on web sites r changed by the company pining the back of the garment on the manaquins so the shape look completely different. There is no shops any where near me i live in south germany near switzerland and i cant find any in either gamany or switzerland i think there should be more franchise islamic shops like there is plenty of Top Shop, C&A, Zarah etc. I do realize that with islamic shops its a bit more difficult but more shops can do normal clothing for non muslims with a section for islamic clothing

Anonymous said...

Salam sis,

in france we lack hijab stores, and also online stores. In big towns you can some hijab shops but they are usually pretty small, with not a lot of variety... I usually shop only in "normal" stores like h&m, zara, accessorize...

Anonymous said...

Asalam alikum a lovely topic. I believe that many of the Islamic companies are way too expensive. This day and age some reasonable stuff would be good as am sure many would agree with me sometimes in highstreet shops dresses and tunics are much cheaper.

Amani said...

Salaams!!
I'm Amani Iqbal from Colombo, Sri Lanka. Down here, we don't have stores catering to specific islamic clothing, apart from general abaya and hijab stores. When it comes to fashionable islamic clothing, it's more about us muslimahs down here having to go LOOK for western clothing and then find long sleeved tshirts to match!
Personally, i believe specific islamic clothing stores would be very helpful...as it would be cheaper than buying high street brands and it would also help the muslim community grow.

I am a keen follower of your blog and commend the work you do! Keep it up!

Hesty Wulandari said...

dear jana, to be honest, I never bought any clothes from website. For me the biggest problem is about size which is quite difficult to find in Indonesia, the other problem usually about safety and the next about the appearance of the product that we want to buy that sometimes different with the one that we expected before..thats all from me

Whittni said...

As-salaamu alaikum...

I usually buy my clothes online; I tend to find cheaper Islamic clothing online. If I go to the storefronts in my area, items are very expensive. I feel ripped off for living in the USA where an abaya costs around $50 and its equal or something more spectacular in the Middle East costs about $10 or less.

I think there is a good range of clothing offered online if you go to many online stores, but I have yet to find a superstore with all of my dreams in it. Another qualm is that most of the Islamic clothes I find online and in-stores are TOO big. Sometimes the smallest size I can find is a Size 1, and I have to search high and low and pay a hefty price to find a size 38 which is for thinner people. I want to be modest, not swarming in clothes!

Oftentimes, I just have to be creative and mix and match from the regular secular department stores...and I've also been known to buy a hijab or two from Jewish stores online because they seem to be cheaper as well sometimes...

Oh! And it'd be great if there were better shipping prices as well online...and if hijab fashion magazines were sold online. I only know of one currently online from Egypt's 2Hijab online store, but I know there are countless other hijab fashion magazines such as Paras Magazine in Indonesia, but it can't be accessed online :( as far as I know...so that is why I read this blog instead!

Jazaki Allahu khair...please feel free to email me with any more questions. I'm from Washington,DC in the USA--the nation's capital, where there are a lot of Muslims!

Hinna said...

Sizing is always a concern when I purchase items from an Islamic clothing website. The models and photographs portray the clothes in one way, but when you get the clothes they look completely different. As a result, I've either had to return items or spend more money to get them tailored.

Hinna from Canada.

haaniah said...

I think that islamic clothing is too cliche. im 15 and i love young, fresh ideas, things that are more unusual. at the moment,i think the only designer that has really done anything different is elenany. it would be really great to see islamic designers taking cues from the mainstream fashion world; for example it would be nice to see islamic desugners using prints that arent floral or paisley and maybe making use of really hijab friendly trends like harem pants. soz if ive been too opinionated:)xx
Haaniah...

Mrs. S said...

I am open to purchasing online or in a shop. My issue, however, is that there isn't a large range of sizes. Because I'm tall and thin I rarely order or purchase clothing from Islamic clothing companies. The sizes just aren't offered. Instead I opt for "tall" sizes from other clothing stores, have items made or purchase overseas. I've ordered a few times before and it just never works out. Also I'm discouraged by the materials used. Rayon, polyester and mysterious blends aren't the most comfortable or practical for extended wear.

Anonymous said...

What is missing from most islamic clothing companies is the quality of material or even stitching. I have bought a few items both online and from stores in Toronto, the quality made me rethink buying again.
Some of the stores are cheap, which mean that bad material is what you get. But alot of my friends are willing to pay a little more (some a lot more) to get the same quality as non-muslim stores.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that if I buy from GUESS, PRADA, CHANNEL, Old navy, etc... Then I'm willing to give benefit a muslim business and buy from them for the same quality and designs.
Hiba

Anonymous said...

I think the regular shops offer lots of possibilities for hijabis.
But you just have to use your fantasy a bit more, and most of the time you are busy layering and mix and match clothes.Sometimes that is a bit difficult.
So the islamic webshops like shukr or artizara make it more easy with their tunics for example. Than you just have to wear one item instead of more. This is also great in warm weather. To be honest most islamic clothes are a bit old fashioned in my opinion. Sometimes the fabric is also not very attractive (polyester). I like cotton and linen. I usually buy tunics online from a Danish company called "bonaparte". But most of the time I have to wear something underneath because of low neck-line. Fortunately most of their tunics are from light weight fabric and made of cotton. So even in summer it is not to warm to wear a sleefless top underneath.

Khal said...

I prefer to buy from high street shops rather than online Islamic stores because I find they are too expensive. I have a budget within which to be.
But the difficulty with high street shops also is most things have to be bought in layers i.e I would just like to have some long dresses with full sleeves with out buying tops to wear over or under them esp in summer.

Anonymous said...

I have been wearing hijab for 14 years. I much prefer to shop in high st stores such as Top Shop, Zara, Mango and Primark. I find the clothing in Islamic stores too severe, staid and not fashionable enough. The designs are not very imaginative or fashion forward and the idea that layering can be more flattering than a single garment is completely missed. At the moment I like to wear dresses with jeans and cardigans or a jacket on top which I think creates a modest but trendy look. I buy dresses and knitwear in a size or 2 bigger than I am. I like the quirky details on clothes in high st stores such as the buttons, prints and trims. You cannot find anything like that on Islamic clothing websites. I also much prefer the scarves that can be worn as hijab in high st shops, although you don't come across nice ones very often. The prints are more subtle and the fabric more natural looking than the synthetic hijabs you mostly get in Islamic stores/websites. I think it definately takes more imagination to shop on the high st as you are always thinking about how something you like can be adapted to look modest.

Anonymous said...

Salamu Alaikum,
I'm currently living in Toronto, Canada and all I see are skinny jeans here, skinney jeans there, and I end up wearing them with dress-like shirts. I would wish to see Islamic clothing shops in regular malls, or even in the streets.
I never bought anything online, because I never buy anything without trying it on, God knows how many times I've like something and then tried it on, and hated it!

mona thuhur@yahoo.com said...

Salam
My name is Mona and i am from Florida. I love browsing thru the islamic websites to get ideas and to see what they have "a window shopping" online. But i dont buy from them because alot of the fashion are way too baggy, the sizes dont match, and the prices are way too high.

Anonymous said...

I personally prefer to buy from high street shops, only because i like to try clothes on first to see how they fit before i buy it.
I find Islamic clothing companies all have the same range of clothing, and think they should spice it up a bit. Instead of sewing more couture jilbabs and abaya's, why not make couture gowns and dresses suitable for hijabi's to wear? Other than that i love the long skirts as well as hijabs. I'm from Canada by the way.
-Salaams

Anonymous said...

ooh good idea!

From me my main gripes / comments are: in the Summer, I would love to see more long sleeved thin clothing on the high street - not everyone wants to wear strapless/sleeveless once the sun comes out! ( Muslim ladies and non-Muslim)

Also I would like to see more long skirts on the high street - its not just Muslim ladies who want to wear them but so hard to find

I find Islamic Clothing websites on the whole to be too expensive and its cheaper to shop on the High St and also you can see what you are buying.

Ummm...thats about it! On the whole I find shopping for hijab friendly clothes relatively easy apart from these issues.

Leila

afshi said...

A couple of points:
- make the items more affordable
- could have actual stores, instead of only purchasing items online and pay for shipping
- have Canadian/US websites (since sometimes shipping costs more than the actual product if they are purchased from the UK)

Anonymous said...

Salaams :D
I think I'd prefer to buy from the high street, its just easier to try on, feel the material, see the colour for real, because with online shopping, ure never really sure of the exact colour, or material or length on you, even if companies offer returns, I always prefer goin to the shop myself.
What islamic clothing companies need to do i think is open shops in places other than london! Places up north have a serious lack of islamic clothing ranges, so would be nice to see shops opening in places like liverpool and manchester!
also, would be nice if what you bought from an islamic clothing place doesnt look like specialised islamic clothing, after all we're british, so we want clothing that is definitely modest and hijabi friendly, but doesnt look like it could only be worn by muslims, and that any person would wear it becaue its trendy and that. Take elenany's clothing range for example, her clothes are most definitely modest, but they dont look like 'islamic clothing', they just look like cool clothes that I love :D
I dont know about everyone else, but personally i still look for bargains and clothes that i can afford, and for students sometimes that means that we simppy cant afford some of the clothing offered, im not saying that everything's priced too high, because i understand that for clothing of high quality ur gonna have to pay, but maybe it'd be nice to have some cheaper, less detailed clothing pieces that one can buy and then brighten it up therselves with antoher garment or accessories.
All in all, what i look for in clothes shops is variety, affordability, and britishness. I like wearing clothes that non-muslim friends can sort of relate to, if that makes sense... but that doesnt by any means undermine the importance of them being hijabi friendly :) oh, and colour... colour is a must most of the time!!!

Keep up the good work and may Allah reward everyone for their efforts in striving for the right path

Alixandra said...

I prefer online Islamic clothing stores but I have SO much trouble finding clothing that is long enough for me! I am 5'9" and it seems like most stores do not have skirts, dresses, abayas, or pants that are long enough for me :-( or that offer custom sizing for inseams/lengths.

Aliyah said...

As Salaamu Alaikum :o)

I enjoy shopping in stores, but I shop online, occassionally. I have a problem finding abayas that have nice detailing and color. I have a hard time finding clothing for the summer that is appropriate and lightweight.

eyes serene said...

Assalamu alaikom,
I live in Michigan, USA. I can buy Islamic clothing from Islamic clothing stores in person, as there are a number in my area, and of course the online stores...

Honestly, more often than not, I end up buying modest items when I run across them in regular clothing stores, or I layer clothing from regular stores to make it meet the modesty requirements. Because...

I have a few issues with Islamic stores online and physical. Oftentimes, the workmanship is inferior, and the price is high. I feel insulted. I've seen garments made with inferior fabric, shoddy sewing, funny cuts (no allowance for the fact a woman has a chest, for one example), colors or strange fabrics I've never seen anybody actually wear (for example, an odd gray-green seems to be a popular abaya color in stores, or abayas with tufts of fur and patches of strings randomly sewn to them, a type of fabric that collects every piece of lint nearby), etc.

I have bought Islamic clothing online and I have received the wrong item or shoddy items (which looked great online), so I really don't bother buying anything from Islamic stores online anymore. I don't want the hassle of trying to get an exchange or refund. It's not worth it.

A fair amount of Islamic online shops have rather crummy websites, the links do not work, or some part of the site says "under construction" for half a year, spelling and grammar errors, a lack of descriptions of the items for sale, or there are only small photos of each item (so you cannot really get a good look at what you're buying), no measurements on scarves, etc.

When I do see quality items for sale, sometimes I can find something comparable in the regular stores for much cheaper, so I go for the cheaper option. (I have a family and bills, I gotta be careful with my money!) A quality abaya or jilbab, I will spend the money if I have to, because I know how hard it is to find quality abayas and jilbabs...

There you go, that's my opinion. heh

Maryam said...

PRICE!

I need affordable modest attire that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

asmaa17 said...

I think after reading the above comments I'm quite lucky to be living in London =)...I'm not a big fan of online shopping so most of my clothes are from the high street (dorothy perkins, topshop, primark, debenhams). Most of my tunic tops are made my mum (because she's awesome at sewing-something I can't do) which means that they are the length that I want them to be. Being someone who wears an abaya, its hard to find plain and simple styles which are cheap, for uni(most of them now come embellished in swarovski) so most of my abayas come from market stalls in east london. I find that in the islamic shops even simple abayas cost around £40-£60, whereas one in the market cost around £10-£20. I find that most islamic shops are overpricing their items and means that I don't shop there as much as I would like to.

Rania said...

Dear Jana,
I live in Indonesia where, I think, we have a lot of variety on fashionable hijab friendly clothes (either on Islamic stores or regular stores) and beautiful headscarves with wide variety on model/form, size, pattern, color, and fabric (especially for square scarves, which is the most popular here). The price also range from the cheap ones to the expensive ones.
So I like to shop offline because there is a lot of choices on the stores and we could see the real item and try on it.
Sometimes, I also interested to buy online when I found something interesting, but usually the price is too high for me and we have to pay for high shipping cost, and when I do window-shopping here, I could find the look-alike items here with the cheaper price... Just use my imagination to find the right clothes to shape up the style that I want... ^_^
But I'm not a kind of person who do shop a lot because of my limited budget... :)
The lack we have here, I think, is the way the hijab/headscarf/pashmina are being wrapped (the hijab styles). There are several way that we usually do but not many. I think we need more hijab wrap tutorial for easy yet stylish daily hijab wrap... :)

sam said...

Salaam Sis,

I live in London, although there are a variety of Islamic websites and modest clothes in the high street, it is difficult to find suitable clothing for a lady on the curvier side. I'm a uk size 10-12, it's difficult to find clothes to cover up and look nice. Fashion experts usually say that the more curves you have the more tighter the clothes need to be, I don't follow this option and try to find baggy clothes, but in todays fashion obsessed society, it is hard to find clothing that is suitable and modest for curvier women without the clothes looking wrong and frumpy. I find that the high street tends to focus fashion styles (even baggy tops, cardigans etc) on women who are nice and slim.

ZebraPrints001 said...

HI :D I'm from the US and I live in a small town so we have basically no hijabi stores here. The closest are those in NY and those are a pain to go to. For the most part, I never buy from online websites because
a. They are expensive. LIKE HONESTLY. I am NOT going to pay $50 for a skirt. Especially with the shipping and handling :[
b. They barely have any nice clothing. It's mainly the boring drapery type shirts that are in boring colors. Or else they are again, extremely expensive.
c. I wish they had different patterns for skirts. I don't like the single colored ones that much because they can be a tad boring at times. Why not spice it up with some pattern??
d. They need to offer actual DRESSES, long sleeved, hijab-friendly dresses that can be worn in the summer. So full length. I've never worn an abaya for more than a week and I'm not exactly comfortable in one so to me, these types of dresses would be a blessing.

Otherwise, just try to come up with something nice and new? :]

Anonymous said...

Asalamu alaykom ..
For me I'd rather buy clothes from the store but unfortunately i can barely find something good to be worn for Hijab. It'd be really great to have hijab stores even if online i don't mind. i know there are some but most are way too expensive or they lack style ! most of the clothes available will add 20 years to your real age ! and i don't like layering specially in summer ! so i really want to find a one piece top with good light material that is suitable to hijab & yet stylish so when am with my husband i won't look like if am his mother !
hope that was useful for you :)..

Anonymous said...

I'm Meliha from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. We down here, elhamdulillah have to much specific islamic clothing and nice hijabs, but we have big problem's we don't have money, because my salary (wages) very smoll...and clothing it's very very expensiveness. P.S. high cost of living...

Anonymous said...

i live in birmingham , england.
i find that there just isnt enough choice. the clothes seem to be quite "grannny" like and boring with dull colours, not particulary "modern" at all. i would like to look like i live in this century and not like i look like ive stepped out of the 1800's !

ive never brought any islamic clothing from a website for the reasons above.

Anonymous said...

I'm from Abu Dhabi, UAE, and here you see different styles from the conservative to its complete opposite. I mostly shop from bargain shops as I am a student who loves dressing well and having a lot of variety in my wardrobe, so I have to keep expenditure on unit items low. There's a very good retail shop here (and also in the rest of the Gulf countries) called "Max" (it is owned by Landmark Retail which also has a shop in UK, as well as UAE, called "New Look"), and you find western styles there. Although not all items are hijab-friendly, I modify them. E.g. I pair sleeveless dresses/tops with a long full-sleeved light cardigan and jeans. They also have a good collection of full length skirts from time to time, and that's always welcome in a hijabi's wardrobe. That is for day-to-day wear.

When it comes to ethnic wear for special occasions, I have to get my Shalwar Kameez stitched by a tailor as most don't come with long sleeves.

Although I love to check apparel designs online, I do not prefer to shop for them online as I believe you need to try on clothes and see how they look on you before you buy them :)

Sharbina said...

I prefer shopping in shops where I can bargain. That's 1 thing I don't get when I shop online. Also, when it comes to clothing, I prefer to try it before purchasing.

Singapore

Modestamente Bellas said...

Assalamu alaykum;
i usually buy clothes on the street shops, because, even if sometimes i'd like to buy dresses or hijabs on islamic websites, i never do that, because it's very very hard to find beautiful clothes which are cheaper too; also i prefer to buy clothes made on natural materials, such as cotton or linen, because i don't like polyester or viscosa, and i't impossible to find a beautiful cloth, made in natural material and cheaper!!!

Ridda said...

Salaam Alaikum!
Im a 17 year old girl from the UK, and although I appreciate Islamic Clothing websites greatly, personally, I find it easier to go buy clothes from stores; the main reason being, it is much easier to see how the peice of clothing will fit it on you, and whether or not the quality is good or not. Also, (and this is only my opinion, its not to offend anybody who has such clothing sites), I think that because they know that the majority of people tend to buy from high street stores etc, they may not put 100% effort into the quality of products? I would LOVE to shop from Islamic clothing websites, but I think realistically, the products need to be more affordable, considering there is also the issue of shipping prices etc. The range of clothing is verrry suitable and all items I usually see on such sites are beautiful! The only thing i would say, is that there should be more range of flowing dresses which look amazing with a Hijab! I sometimes think, that although modesty is one of the main principles when adorning the Hijab, the clothes we often see associated with wearing a scarf, may fit too tightly, although that could just be how the clothing appears to fit on the models? But in my opinion, it would be really good to see a variety of colourful knee length or maybe just a little above the knee size dresses, so I think that may be one of the only things stopping me from buying from these websites? Because high street stores do not offer much for Hijabis, whereas Islamic clothing websites could make a huge difference as Muslim sisters all believe in the same principles therefore along with the help of the Almighty, Great & Glorious is He!, we can all help to make a better Islamic clothing industry :) J'A, and I'm sorry for rambling on! xxx

Ridda said...

PS: Also, I just read one of the other sister's comments, and I also wear Abaya, and I agree fully on the concept of Islamic clothing stores selling too expensive abayas, therefore I think it is to our advantage that the markets/Islamic stores here sell relitavely cheap?(£15-20) abayas, it would be lovely to see Islamic Clothing stores bring their prices down a fair bit seeing as though they are one of the only people who sell the most beautiful abayas! Salaams. x

Anonymous said...

Salams, I have had no problems buying jilbabs from ebay and shukr. I live in Dublin, Ireland and as far as I know there is only 1 shop which is a bit expensive but has good quality stock. My issue would be the fact that sizes are not catered for properly. I am an average height and size but some of my friends would be shorter and broader than me and its v difficult for them to purchase unless abroad. us women come in every shape and size and height. All the best with this report

ioana said...

I find many shops sell low quality items, made in cheap fabrics, for premium prices.
I mean, more expensive than in the shops, by far. Why would someone pay more for the same stuff? Add to that prices for transportation, and eventual import taxes...

Carib Muslimah said...

ASA, I'm coming from the United States. I'd prefer to shop with Islamic clothing stores and I don't mind shopping online as long as the return policy is decent.

I have to agree with some of the others who have said that most of the Islamic clothing stores are not fashion forward. I've seen some of the same clothing on Islamic websites for years- meanwhile the fashions have changed. Also like another person said- the cuts, trims and fabrics are important. I'd like to see more daring but still modest Islamic clothing. Sometimes the clothing is really plain.

Finally, I have a problem with the way many Islamic clothing sites assume one body type to be the norm. For as much as I love Shukr, really, is everyone who wears an extra large 5'6"-5'8"? There is seems to be little concept for tall, average and petite as far as height is concerned. I'd also say they seem to assume that most women are small-chested. I often have to buy an XL because of my chest but the arms are incredibly long.

Okay, I've said enough. :)

B said...

I prefer to shop on the high street just because its so much more fun :)

Not particularly happy with Islamic websites/high street shops.

I mostly wear abayas in the colder months (buy online) and maxi dresses (high street)in the warmer ones. I can't find any nice non- transparent maxi dresses anywhere right now and I find that the abayas online are usually waaay too jazzy. With bright colours, ribbons, denim etc. There are hardly any websites that have reasonably priced elegant abayas with simple detailing.

Nothing would encourage me to shop on Islamic websites more if they had nicer abayas that I wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen in.

B, UK.

Nadia said...

My experience has been that Canada does not have a big variety of "stylish" Islamic clothing available particularly in stores or online. Most clothing is made "Islamic" by hugely oversizing everything. Plus, there is a serious lack of "modest" clothing in the mainstream stores. I recently visited London, UK and found that hemlines and sleeves were generally longer in London stores than they are in Canada regardless of season. Also, many online websites charge much higher rates to ship to Canada compared to the US or within Europe. I really wish a company like Tekbir Giyim (Turkey-based) would set up an English website shipping to Canada! We have a serious lack of variety in fashionable, modest clothing at affordable prices in the Canadian market.

Laila said...

I have come across some hijab stores that sell clothing in a size 8/10 or 12/14 for example, with no 10/12 option! So the range of sizes available needs to be more broader :)

Aminah said...

I'd like to see clothing that actually qualifies as 'hijab'. Cute dresses over skinny jeans is not hijab... things that cling to your arms or chest are not hijab. We can look nice, but we don't have to give up what true modesty is. Just because your skin is covered does not mean its covered properly.

maha said...

I have such a hard time finding nice work clothes. I am an attorney and need to wear suits, but the suits I find at Islamic shops are ill fitting and seem much too old for my 28 years.

~Wana~ said...

I'm not sure if this can be included but the Islamic clothing companies should widen their branches to other countries. If it's possible, make it available in every country (not via internet).

Anonymous said...

Salam, im sorry but how can you compare small islamic sites to highstreet stores thats just silly! im guessing most of these companys are quite small there is no WAY they can provide the prices such as primark do! i have my favs in the uk online islamic world, i must say the pictures do need to be improved because they do not to there garments justice! i think muslims should try and support muslim companys as much as they can, like the KEEP IT MUSLIM website have, many thanks georgie

Anonymous said...

Personally, an issue I have with buying from Islam online shops is that the clothing tends to be over-priced ... and then muslimahs who can't spend much money on clothing have to resort to 'halalifying' clothing they buy from high street stores...

Vio said...

id prefer to shop on a street shops, but honestly, here in Indonesia they set too expensive price for Zara and Mango.
There are bulks of online shop that's based in Indonesia, and they cost you a lower price, and some of them provide a good quality hijabis-clothing, with a great deal.
Most of them is not an islamic clothing, so i shop by choosing the most wearable and proper outfits.
I could find almost every range of price and quality, but i only shop in a trusted online shop.
I dont do shop in an overseas-based online shop. I dont have paypal account, so i only shop i rupiahs.

سيده نفيسه said...

salem,Jana.Purchasing a blouse/islamic clothes quite annoying for me!Well, I am from Malaysia and I think it s quite hard to buy fashionable as well as 'hijab' dress code.I experienced so many times, whenever I wanna purchasing it eg blouse:All are perfect but its too tight!!!.Yes everything is perfect but they must be something lack, short sleeve, too expensive, or the fabric.I own abaya but the best I bought are from internet.I hope all website selling Islamic dress could appear offline/in street and in Malaysia too!!!Thats all I want to say and Im so sad at the same time.Insha Allah it will change sooner.

imthereallive1 said...

Salaam Sis,

The one thing that always gets my goat about the online shops are the horrendous prices. Recently I saw a denim long skirt on such a site here in the US and the skirt was for $50! 'Are you kidding me?', I thought to myself. If I had a dressmaker's hands I would make my own.

Anonymous said...

alot of the prices are really expensive...like the hijabs and the skirts. i can find hijabs cheaper in the shops so i end up buying it from there..

Ala'a said...

Assalamu 'Alaikum,

As many of the sisters on this thread have already mentioned, online store prices are ridiculous. I've never actually bought anything from an online Islamic store, but I think I would if I could find pieces that were both reasonably priced and fashionable.

Around here in the US, it's not too dificult to find stylish, modest clothing at reasonable prices. My approach has been to take advantage of seasonal styles that tend to be modest. For example, throughout the summer of 2009, there was an abundance of maxi dresses and maxi skirts in pretty much all stores. I stocked up on these styles, and now I am just waiting for the next modest season!

I guess online stores could better cater to our needs by providing these "staple" pieces (maxi dresses, long skirts, etc) in fashionable assortments year round.

♥ aaina ♥ said...

Assalaamu alaykum

I am Asiya from Canada, and I'm 25 years old. I haven't been able to read through all the comments, so I'm not sure if my points have been mentioned already.

I wear abayas, everyday, everywhere. I have not purchased any new ones since I left the middle east over 3 years ago. Not because I don't want to, but because I simply cannot bring myself to pay what I feel are exorbitant prices for substandard products IN COMPARISON to what I was accustomed to in the middle east.

When I do find a company whose clothing somewhat reflects what I understand to be the current trends in the middle east, I am put off by their extremely high prices and the costs of shipping. Another unfortunate aspect is the lack of convenient or technically sound checkouts at most of these sites. They also offer very little in terms of customer service and support.

There is one exception in my experience, but since we aren't naming names, I won't post it here.

Anonymous said...

Assalam alaikum

The clothing industry has got better but still so much to do. I am in a high end conservative job and finding work clothes which are hijab friendly is a nightmare!

Would love to hear of places where I can buy clothes from but do not cost £150 a skirt

shiori said...

things i'd like to see more of, from islamic clothing houses:

- options for tall AND thin hijabis who aren't into abayas/jilbabs. (i'll wear a maxi dress, but definitely not an abaya or jilbab) too often i see that taller sizing also = wider sizing. not flattering on skinny people.

- more youthful options. like some people mentioned above, too many times it seems like people are interpreting modest with older age & dowdiness.

- edgier designs: please do not be afraid of zippers, grommets, studs, sequins, rock/grunge-inspiration etc. not all hijabis are soft little girly-girls who want to dance about it flowers and lace (altho there are days when that's fun too).

- closer attention to trends, runway and otherwise. yes, yes, we are all supposed to stay away from scary western influences, but fashion is fashion~!

- fashion collections that don't seem entirely composed of evening or event wear. can i go to school in that? i didn't think so.

- collections that are on par with the kinds of things you'd find in asos or topshop. i.e. very cool items that would make me want to buy from the Muslim shop rather than the mainstream shop. at this point in time, to me, merely being a muslim business is not enough to make me patronize your shop. i have to be impressed, the same way i am impressed with the offerings at asos and topshop.

- and finally, i'd love to see magazines or blogs with truly professional fashion photoshoots/spreads and features , the kind you'd find in vogue for instance, featuring hijabi fashion. homegrown is all well and good, but i'd love to show the fashion industry that muslims have a competitive, artistic handle on fashion.

shiori said...

Oh and one other thing, which has been mentioned, but I think is worth echoing: prices on muslim clothing sites are Way Too Expensive. I wear skirts or maxis every single day. I also work & study in a creative field, where I am constantly surrounded by artists, writers, and designers. In that kind of field, you kind of have to keep up a hip, stylish appearance. So, I really have to be creative with what I have. But I also need variety. I cannot afford to pay $50+ for one skirt, especially when it's not simply a matter of just buying one or two. If you only wear dresses and skirts (not my choice, btw), then you have to have many, otherwise it will be very obvious that you're wearing "that" skirt/dress *again*.

Anonymous said...

Asalaamu Alaikum

Great initiative Jana! This report is much needed and it's really great that you are trying to tackle the problems in the Islamic clothing industry.

I would concur with many of the comments made here, but have a few of my own as follows:

1. One issue that keeps cropping up is price! No doubt there are some Islamic companies that are too expensive but most people fail to understand the issue of economies of scale. To be fair, Islamic companies simply do not have the presence to sell the amount of stock that high street shops do. For example, Primark, Next, H&M, Topshop all have hundreds of outlets on the high street as well as online shopping. Taking the example of Primark - it will easily sell 200,000 pieces of a popular dress (like it did a few summers ago - the polka dot one), whereas an Islamic retailer will be lucky to shift 300 of the same sort of dress. So, of course Primark has the upper hand as their buying power is incredible - which translates to unbelievably cheaper prices. Also, many Islamic clothing companies cater only for Muslim women whereas high street clothing retailers cater for non-Muslims (and to a certain extent Muslims) and therefore, have a much broader customer base which is more commercially viable. I don't understand why most people on here don't recognise this....

2. I think quality is definitely an issue as I have come across very simples designs/stitching and use of cheap materials - but the price doesn't reflect that i.e. too expensive. In some cases, this is probably related to the first point about economies of scale. I think if you want something which is made from quality fabric and has been tailored beautifully - you have to be prepared to pay for it. Which is actually not that different fron non Islamic clothing shops. I have bought some items for work from places like Hobbs, Jaegar, L.K Bennet because they are investment pieces and I want the quality of fabric and refined finish, but I know I have to pay for it (even in the sale!). Even places like Monsoon, Oasis, Designers at Debenhams etc will sell simple (albeit well made) short cotton tops for £20 - £30 and anything which is slightly embellished can easily be £40 - £50 even though the base material is inexpensive. Even though they mass produce they still charge a lot!

Personally, I don't mind paying more for items if I can see/feel the level of quality, detailing, comfort etc. However, I do have an issue with abaya companies who make very plain, boring abayas in cheap/average fabrics with no detailing, embellishment, lining etc but still charge very high prices. Again, is somewhat related to econs of scale and I don't know their costs but on the face of it, it does seem to be quite excessive.

3. My biggest issue by far - sizing! Why oh why oh why do Islamic clothing companies think that if you are tall you are also of a large build?!! Particularly when buying abayas it's a nightmare! I need 58/59 in length for flat shoes and 60/62 for heels.....but that means I end up getting get an Xl or XXL abaya. Alhamdulillah it is beginning to change and there are some people who cater for taller/slimmer sisters but the choice is still somewhat limited. I buy many skirts from Long Tall Sally and yes they are expensive, but they are well made, fit well (the A line styles) and will last forever if you take care of them.

Overall, some good attempts but a way to go....

Yara aka Butterfly2729 said...

I feel there should be more mainstream stores for islamic dress, rather than just shops online.

Also just because a minority are catered for why does it have to come with a huge price tag?? I think people do tend to feed off others' desperation. It shouldn't have to be this expensive

More modern and trendy designs would be helpfu instead of the boring plain jane styles that are too generic.

That's all I can think of at the moment : /

Hatice Şeyda said...

In İstabul; Türkey, you can find almost everything that you want. There are so much firms that produces modest, elegent islamic clothing like Aker, Armine, Peçe etc. Also i have my clothes planted. I choose the model from burb., gucci etc. I buy fabric my self then take it to tailor. You may try this sisters. Also it would be more economical generally then the originals.

z a t i said...

hi i'm frm kuala lumpur,..
In malaysia you can find boutique for hijabis and modest fashion quite a lot. and i can say they are all beautiful and good quality, but my problem , being 20's (i'm 26 btw) it's hard to make choices at this hijabis boutique as most of me designed for woman at least 35..and mostly for the 40's ... and we , (me and my friends) end up shopping at the high street and normal boutique like topshop zara MNG and of course have to do a lot of alteration and add here and there to make the clothing hijaby friendly...

but i think there's a lot of way to do it right for hijabis and we just need to be creative :) and ya i think there's lotsa website that help us on this.

Shaaista said...

Assalamu Alaikum,

What a great topic to discuss! I live in Canada and most of my clothing are bought from mainstream stores: Guess, Old Navy, H&M etc. But the biggest problem with these clothes is that you usually have to modify and 'hijabify' them! Also, I always end up buying bigger sizes so that it doesnt stick to my bum and hip, but then it gets too big in the bust area!

I've also bought things from Muslim retailers online and from the few that I have ordered from Bahiya Collections, Shukr and SJYC seem to offer the more trendy, casual and fashionable items. What I like about Bahiya collections is that they sell clothing from different Muslim companies and its quite unique from other sites that offer just abayas and jilbabs. SJYC has really nice tunics that are quite trendy and more 'western looking'.

I really wish to buy more from Muslim sites as I feel good when I'm supporting my Muslim brothers and sisters, but I think there needs to be more Muslim designers who can offer a wider range of items for these Muslim shops to carry.

ummuitqan said...

Salam Jana and other sisters :)

I'm from Malaysia so I'm thankful that we have a wide range of islamic clothing shops be it on high street or online. However, I do find items such as shirtdresses are very much lacking here. The sleeve will either be too short and hence the need for arm-stocking or inner which are bad ideas because the weather here is too humid and warm. If we buy from the shops, the size focuses to slim to medium built (small bust and small back), so to find a bigger size, we have to go for plus sizes but the cutting is way too loose for the same bust and back size.

The colour choices as you may know is sometimes can be very striking so may still attract unwanted attention.

There is a wide variety of abayas too, many colours, patterns and fabric choice. I would yet to see a comfy cotton abayas on the market. Cotton is the most comfortable fabric to wear in this weather.

I like your suggestions of layering tops and shirts with cardigan ( loooooveee the cardi) but again weather is the main limiting factor :)

Hope this helps and good luck with your article.

ALSHARIFA.COM said...

Wow, MashaAllah such feedback! I happily can attest that our company does take such comments into great consideration when planning our future lines. Thanks for all of the thought provoking comments. It's great to know what guests are thinking!

Mrs. Ann said...

I am not a Muslim, but a Christian who practices modesty and wears hijab (I prefer the al-amira style). I wear ankle length jumpers, which of course can easily have a long sleeved top underneath. I love MiddleEasternMall.com for its huge selection of al-amira hijabs. EastEssence.com has a nice selection of abayas that are not too expensive. I have not actually bought any there yet, but plan to for this fall and winter.

Anonymous said...

've been living in england for a while now, and i've never found it difficult to shop for clothes wheather online or off the highstreet. i adapted the modern day clothing to what i believe is suitable. i wear long knee length tops/dresses and jeans. some may dissagree but as long as it doesnt reveal your figure...it's fine :)

buying hijabs is easy too...shops like new look, H&M and Accesorize sell amazing scarf (meant for necks) but still look great!

i know i wrote an essay, but i just wanted to say that some people who live in arab countries...think that just because we live in england..we dress bad, but thats definatly not the case, this is a 15 year old teenager having lived in england for 10 years noe. :D

Anonymous said...

AsSalaamuAlaikum,

I agree with many of the comments above regarding high prices not necessarily meaning quality garments. It does seem many clothing companies think the tag 'Islamic' is enough to get people spending, without having to guaranteee a particularly high standard of materials, make, fit or customer service. Maybe this will change when and if modest clothing becomes less of a niche market? We are certainly not there yet.

More worryingly, and something that I find really concerning, is the way that Islamic clothing companies present themselves, and the rise in hijab 'high fashion'. Many companies now use extremely thin, sometimes emaciated, female models to 'hang' their garments on, and pose them in provocative ways. This is especially true of companies selling jilbabs and abayas, even some more British ones like Aab UK have recently started using anorexic looking models.

Yes, there is no reason why dressing modestly can't be both stylish and comfortable, but why do clothing companies feel the need to emulate either western cat-walk fashion, or the copycat Gulf Arab fashions. Currently, in the west, there seems to be two style choices, companies who go down the tradisonal Asian cultural design route, and those who offer head to toe black, Dubai style garb.

For me, part of being a Muslim is choosing to reject materialism and vanity to a certain extent. No I don't want to look like I've crawled through a hedge backwards, but I also don't want to look like a wide eyed, 7 foot tall, stick insect with an inch of make up on. I want to look smart, natural and comfortable in my own skin, I want modest clothing that I forget I'm wearing because it allows me to carry on living my life without worrying if my blouse is see through, my hem is too short or my fringe showing.

No-one seems to think about the lives and choices of the women who actually buy their clothes. Our religion teaches us to reject mainstream vanity (not beautifying, but greed and vanity), so why are our clothing companies seduced by it? What is this teaching our young girls? The clothing currently on offer asks us to divide ourselves into cultural camps, and puts pressure on muslim women to conform to a certain body type and image. Surely this totally defeats the point of hijab??!!

Lexy said...

I buy most modest clothing online, it's cheaper and more convenient then trekking into the western suburbs for over priced or transparent clothing.

It's just a bit annoying having to wait for international orders and then not knowing if the measurements were correct, shipping is expensive as well but I can afford it as i am pretty much exclusively online (I live in Australia btw)
We definitely need more to choose from online and whats with 90% of garments being see through?!

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