Muslim women may be fasting this month for Ramadan, but that doesn’t mean they can’t look good doing it. DKNY, the fashion label founded by Jewish designer Donna Karan, has a new Ramadan Summer 2014 line aimed mainly at Middle Eastern modest fashionistas.
However, following the European Court of Human Rights upholding of France’s ban on the burqa and niqab this week, observant Muslim women in that country might want to also check out these glam, yet body-covering, looks.
Yalda Golsharifi, the fashion editor at the Kuwaiti Styles Magazine, and Tamara Al Gabbani, a fashion designer in Dubai, styled this collection that “channels [a woman’s] inner silver-screen siren and make[s] a scene with sweeping silhouettes, bold and artful prints and stunning fabrics.”
The garments may be eye-catching, but they are all kosher—or rather, halal. Legs and arms are covered, and necklines reveal neither hint of collarbone nor glimpse of cleavage. The clothes, however, are anything but dowdy. The styles of jumpsuits, long skirts, maxi dresses, and tunics worn over leggings mirror what’s on offer in mainstream fashion these days. The layering of light — and even sheer — fabrics and playful but modest skirt slits push, but don’t cross, boundaries.
The three-quarter-length leather coat is a standout in this Ramadan collection, which falls this year during the summer
The three-quarter-length leather coat is a standout in this Ramadan collection, but might best be worn several months after the holiday, which falls this year during the hot summer.
Golsharifi and Al Gabbani each have favorite pieces from the collection and favorite Ramadan experiences. Golsharifi loves the long-sleeved orange maxi dress (appropriate for all occasions) and being around her family at Futoor (the meal breaking the daily fast during Ramadan) time. Al Gabbani is partial to the skirts (“I love how modern they are and how comfortable you feel in them”) and enjoys volunteering to aid the needy during Ramadan.
In a piece for The Independent, Pakistani writer Bina Shah questions whether spending large sums of money on designer duds (no matter how modest) is appropriate during Ramadan, the holiest month in the Muslim year.
Shah doesn’t think there is anything inherently wrong in a Muslim woman’s treating herself to a DKNY shopping spree. While Ramadan is about spiritual practice, it is also about celebration.
“For Muslims who worry about this aspect, it’s important to remember that Islam urges balance in all things: as long as one is fulfilling one’s religious obligations in Ramadan, there is no harm in buying a beautiful outfit in celebration of the month,” she writes.
DKNY has stores in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and UAE. For Muslim women in other countries, there is always online shopping.