March 2012: A new exhibition, Faith, fashion, fusion: Muslim women’s style in Australia, developed by the Powerhouse Museum will explore a growing fashion market in Islamic women’s fashion in Australia today.
Opening 5 May 2012, Faith, fashion, fusion showcases a new generation of Australian brands that are designing, retailing and marketing stylish clothing for Muslim women, to meet their desire to dress creatively and fashionably, while remaining committed to their Islamic faith. The brands and the designers behind them are revealed below.
baraka: Kath Fry and Eisha Saleh are business and creative partners in the modest fashion label baraka which in 2009 won Muslim Business of the Year. The two met while studying Islam at the Daar Aisha Sharia College in Lakemba and had an instant rapport over their mutual love of fashion. Finding it difficult to buy modest clothing that was also fashionable they decided to do it themselves translating high fashion trends into more modest styles for a diverse customer base from women from various faiths to those who want to dress in flattering clothing that offers more coverage.
Fay Tellaoui: Fay Tellaoui had always loved designing and making her own clothing and started out testing her designs on family and friends. She soon found there was a gap in the market for fashionable modest clothing and expanded into wholesaling to traditional Muslim clothing stores in Western Sydney. With the support of her uncle she opened her eponymous boutique on South Terrace in the Sydney suburb of Bankstown in February 2008 and two years later launched a second store in Coburg, Melbourne.
Hijab House: Established by Tarik Houchar, Hijab House was one of the first Australian Muslim women’s fashion retailers to open inside a mainstream shopping centre. The flagship store opened in Bankstown Centro, Sydney in September 2010 and in the following April a second store opened in Stockland Mall Merrylands. Tarik introduced a fresh take on what it is like to be a fashionable, young Australian Muslim woman using striking fashion photographs which appear in the store windows, a playful, carefully co-ordinated store environment and engaging Facebook and online store conversations.
Integrity Boutique: Sisters Howayda Moussa and Hanadi Chehab set up Integrity Boutique at the end of January 2010 “I had just put on the scarf,” says Howayda. “I was looking for new places to shop…but everywhere had the same traditional clothes…I couldn’t find any variety!” As a result, Integrity Boutique was founded as a designer-retailer of modest evening and formal wear aimed at both Muslim and non-Muslim woman who wants to dress stylishly, but with that extra coverage.
Ahiida®: Aheda Zanetti is founder and designer of Ahiida™, one Australia’s best known swimwear and sportswear brands. Designed to assist Muslim women comfortably and modestly take part in competitive and recreational sports her swimwear is also in demand from women who want sun safe garments and styles that provide more coverage.
Zanetti’s designs and story have resonated culturally, socially and politically both here and overseas and appear in some surprising contexts. The name of her modest swimwear design, the Burqini®, was selected as Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year in 2011 and her story was adapted for the short play ‘The Modest Aussie Cozzie’ by award-winning writer Alana Valentine. Zanetti’s first name is listed on the online parenting resource BabyCenter India under the article for baby names inspired by fashion designers. Aheda (Zanetti) appears alongside Stella (McCartney) and Gabrielle (Chanel).
Aida Zein: Aida Zein is an independent designer-retailer specialising in modest street and casual wear for Muslim women. Her signature fabric is denim which she loves for its ease of wear and care and the flexibility of layering her designs for denim skirts, tunics and dresses with tops, bolero jackets, vests and scarves to dress them up or down.
Media information, images or interviews:-
Mandy Campbell, Powerhouse Museum, Tel: 02 9217 0551/0422 9299 27 or firstname.lastname@example.org