Islamic fashion is no oxymoron. As the recent Islamic Fashion Festival (IFF) staged in Manila showed, there’s more to Muslim dressing than the traditional abaya, chador and even burka.
The collections of seven designers, including the Philippines’ JC Buendia, Jun Escario and Veejay Floresca, were noteworthy for their wearability, craftsmanship, variety and sophistication.
Organized by Malaysian Raja Rezza Shah, IFF was established in 2006 to create, in Shah’s words, an understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim countries that Islam isn’t about terrorism. To break this stereotype, Shah, with support from the Malaysian government, has staged the festival yearly beyond such Islamic cities as Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Dubai, to include New York, London and, more recently, Manila.
“IFF is not even about promoting a religion, but creating an understanding and breaking certain stereotypes about Islam,” Shah said. “And we can do this not through bombs and bullets, but through fashion shows. If you want to change certain perceptions, do it the gentle, beautiful and shiny way.”