THE HIJAB, or Islamic headscarf, has had a lot of negative attention in recent months.  However, last week in Johannesburg, it received attention for a different reason.

Hijab is synonymous with modesty but at the Coca Cola Dome it was seen on the runway completing the look for the latest ensembles.

Hijab Fashion Week SA was the first attempt at a concept that has been growing in the Muslim world. The fashion ramp was part of the Eid Shopping Festival held from Wednesday to Sunday ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan.

According to the organisers, “the show aimed to show the beauty of Hijab as well as to encourage Muslims women to be proud of their dress”. Eastern wear, casual and smart-casual ensembles as well as traditional Islamic garments where showcased.

One of the main attractions was shows by local Islamic fashion house, SILK, which launched its collection for Eid, the post-fasting celebration. SILK owner Aneesa Omar described the range as a mix of opulent detailing, draped chiffons and fine handwork that fuses the latest fashion trends of Europe with the traditional abayas (black dress).

Each model had their headscarves draped by a “Hijab stylist”, Adila Suliman, who used various bands, pins and clips to enhance the rectangle of material.

Rowena Saloojie, of Secrets and Stilettos, treated the audience to Hijab styling demonstrations to show women how to achieve the looks themselves.

Hijab does not refer just to the headscarf but the actual dress of a female. When people picture Islamic dress, they visualise dark, uninspiring cloth that drapes from head to toe. This notion is being changed; Islamic wear can be modern and fashionable, as long as it stays within the Islamic guidelines of modest dress.

Hijabistas, as the fashionable Muslim women are known, create wardrobe ideas that mix fashion must-haves in a Hijab-friendly way.