A brief internet search highlights articles on a number of Islamic fashion festivals and shows and numerous websites selling Muslim clothing and providing fashion tips. I was particularly impressed by the stunning outfits showcased at the Islamic Fashion Festival 2009, which took place in Jakarta.
Muslim women often wear designer labels underneath their outer garments and increasingly they want to wear fashionable outerwear too. Devout need not mean drab. Fashion designers are waking up to this need for trendy Muslim clothing, and specialised stores, websites and fashion shows are springing up across the UK.
European fashion labels are beginning to embrace Muslim fashion. In June 2009 at The Saks Fifth Avenue Riyadh and Jeddah fashion show held at the George V hotel in Paris, top European fashion labels including John Galliano and Blumarine showcased models wearing couture abayas.
Designers have realised that many Muslim women are wearing designer brands, but that these garments are usually covered by a black abaya. This has led them to consider the idea of producing designer abayas, will this mark the beginning of a new fashion trend for both Muslim and non Muslim women?
The designers and retailers seem suddenly to have woken up to the fact that Muslim women are as interested in fashion as any other women, and whilst a cynic might put this down to the recognition of a very lucrative and as yet virtually uptapped market, a wider availability of fashionable Muslim clothes must surely be good for Muslim women everywhere.
It may be that Muslim women themselves, however well versed in the nuances and requirements of their religion, will be best equipped to introduce traditional garments to the world of high fashion.