It was one of the holiest nights of Ramadan in Southern California when Marwa Atik decided to show off her self-designed head scarf reports the Los Angeles Times. By the end of the evening one woman turned to her and asked, “How can I get one?” For Marwa, the rest is history.
Atik has taken the Muslim head scarf, often known as hijab, and turned it into a canvas for her fashion sensibilities, with ideas inspired by designs from Forever 21 and H&M as well as haute couture runways and the pages of Vogue and Elle. Showing her latest design at a mosque was her way of gauging sentiment on scarves that go beyond the limited fashion realm they have thus far inhabited, such as floral and geometric prints or lace and beaded embellishments.
For women like Atik, an Orange Coast College student who works part time at Urban Outfitters, fashion-forward hijabs are an attempt not only to fill a void, but to make the scarves less foreign and more friendly to non-Muslims.
The Islamic religious parameters for hijab – that the entire body must be covered except for the face and hands – are broad enough to include those who wear black, flowing abayas to those who pair a head scarf with skinny jeans.
“We’ve gotten maybe just a few people saying, ‘Oh, this is defeating the purpose,'” said Tasneem Sabri, Atik’s older sister and business partner. “It really comes down to interpretation.”.
Photos from Vela Scarves