Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hijab tres chic!

How retailers are marketing to fashion-conscious Muslim women.

"Full coverage," not your typical fashion show prerequisite, was the theme at a "fashion seminar" recently hosted by Nordstrom at the tony Tysons Corner Center mall in McLean, Va. The show, called "Interpreting Hot Trends for Veiled and Conservative Women," was perhaps the first high-fashion hijab event sponsored by corporate America. The target: well-heeled Muslim women living in the suburbs of Northern Virginia, where mansions and mosques are filled with rich Muslim immigrants, an increasing number of whom shop at Tysons Corner.
The Nordstrom show is part of a growing trend: Western retailers and designers are beginning to market directly to Muslim women. In 2000, for instance, European designers Yves Saint-Laurent and Jean-Paul Gaultier showed at the International Festival of African Fashion in Niger while ultraconservative Muslims paraded through the streets in protest of the "satanic" presentation. A 2004 Hermes ad featured two women with the dark hair, dark eyes, and olive skin of many Middle Easterners and wearing the company's iconic scarves wrapped around their heads in the Muslim style of hijab. (When asked, the Hermes advertising department would say only that its marketing pitch is "global.") And a little over a week ago, French designer Judith Duriez, co-owner of the Dubai-based company Arabesque, debuted her fall 2005 collection of "sheilas" (veils) and "abayas" (gowns) for the cloaked Muslim woman. These fashions, traditional long black gowns (the color is one rule Duriez refuses to break), are enhanced by non-traditional accents such as mother-of-pearl trimmings and chiffon ribbons.
Retailers have likely caught on to the fact that conservative Muslim women are as interested in fashion as any other women and that, as a population numbering at least 500 million an estimated half of which cover up regularlythey constitute a large, and potentially lucrative, untapped market. Indeed, to anyone who's paying attention, it's evident that Muslim women are going to great lengths (and in some cases spending a substantial amount of money) in an attempt to reconcile their religious mandate to dress modestly with their desire to look fashionable. Many women interpret the idea of "hijab"the term comes from the Arabic word "hajaba," which is translated as "to cover," and is used generally to refer to modesty, and more specifically, to mean headscarves and formless gownsquite liberally. They wear Diane Von Furstenberg mini-dresses over Levi jeans or rapper-style do-rags as headscarves. Other women don scarves by designers such as Christian Dior, Hermes, Gucci, and Dolce & Gabbana. And even the traditional dress is no longer black and shapeless but comes in various cuts, colors, patterns, and textures: slim-cut, baggy, silk, chiffon, fringed, fur-cuffed, hand-painted, and even embroidered with rhinestones and feathers.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Since when did Asians become hot/haute?

Now, I mean that in the most asexual way possible. However, I’ve noticed a change in the wind. This must have been around senior or junior year of high school (2001ish). You would see the fashionable girls with their friends walking down the hall. With fresh hair color, matching Gucci shoes, and louis* messenger bags. It was a wave on the merge. Year after year I’d notice these women, girls, or even men; at the gas stations, in the airport, at Wal-Mart, and every time I saw them I was astonished by how simple yet fashionable these trendsetters are put together.

Now, don’t get me wrong…I am no ugly Betty in her sponge bob pajamas swishing around in her outdated house shoes. I’m well into fashion, and keep up with myself. Whether it’s a new Chloe bag I have to have, or that lipstick that taunting me to get at Sephora, I make sure to look my best.

However, there is something different about these women. It’s like; you will not find one teen or adult out of sync (respectively referring to fashion) even if it’s a quick trip. They must all be in some underground cult.... For example, just the other night, I’m at Target shopping for some regular products in the beauty aisle. You know the Olay wash cloths, some nail remover; that sort of thing. I notice this Young family, (Father, Mother and young boy). The mother had to be around 30. However, this diva had on some designer jeans, teal shirt “rock and republic”, a patent matching bag, matching eye shadow (I bet some real unapologetic brand like NARS), and some funky heels, also designer, and her hair was in a fresh angular new short cut. I’m thinking, “All this for TARGET?” I try to make some sense of it, by telling myself, “she must have been out to dinner or something earlier,” but the truth is she most likely got all jazzed up just for shopping at our friendly neighborhood store…

Now I’m definitely, not a “label whore,” so it’s not just the Damier bag that has amazed me, it’s much more than that with these women. It’s a sense of style! I don’t know how this came about or what day it was that I woke up and the dominating fashionistas turned Asian, but it’s definitely something that needs to be known. Growing up, I really never noticed any of them. I hate to say it, and to say it in that way. It’s the honest truth though. Walahi, we only new them as indha yare ( Somali..) Well, they have my attention now is all I have to say. Asians Rule!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Monday, September 25, 2006

Ramadan Kariim

Quote of the day...

I wish people in Somalia as well as other countries around the world who have delt with civil war could take a moment to read this:

"The gunfire around us makes it hard to hear. But the human voice is
different from other sounds. It can be heard over noises that bury
everything else. Even when is not shouting. Even if it's just a
whisper. Even the lowest whisper can be heard - over armies - when
it's telling the truth."
- Anonymous

Email I got the other day...Very Interesting

To my muslim sisters Current mood: frustrated
>By Joanna Francis>>Between the Israeli assault on Lebanon and the Zionist "war on terror," the>Muslim world is now center stage in every American home. I see the carnage,>death and destruction that have befallen Lebanon, but I also see something>else: I see you. I can't help but notice that almost every woman I see is>carrying a baby or has children around her. I see that though they are>dressed modestly, their beauty still shines through. But it's not just >outer>beauty that I notice. I also notice that I feel something strange inside >me:>I feel envy. I feel terrible for the horrible experiences and war crimes>that the Lebanese people have suffered, being targeted by our common enemy.>But I can't help but admire your strength, your beauty, your modesty, and>most of all, your happiness. Yes, it's strange, but it occurred to me that>even under constant bombardment, you still seemed happier than we are,>because you were still living the natural lives of women. The way women >have>always lived since the beginning of time. It used to be that way in the >West>until the 1960s, when we were bombarded by the same enemy. Only we were not>bombarded with actual munitions, but with subtle trickery and moral>corruption.>>They bombarded us Americans from Hollywood, instead of from fighter jets or>with our own American-made tanks. They would like to bomb you in this way>too, after they've finished bombing the infrastructure of your countries. I>do not want this to happen to you. You will feel degraded, just like we do.>You can avoid this kind of bombing if you will kindly listen to those of us>who have already suffered serious casualties from their evil influence.>Because everything you see coming out of Hollywood is a pack of lies, a>distortion of reality, smoke and mirrors. They present casual sex as>harmless recreation because they aim to destroy the moral fabric of the>societies into which they beam their poisonous programming. I beg you not >to>drink their poison. There is no antidote for it once you have consumed it.>You may recover partially, but you will never be the same. Better to avoid>the poison altogether than to try to heal from the damage it causes.>They will try to tempt you with their titillating movies and music videos,>falsely portraying us American women as happy and satisfied, proud of>dressing like prostitutes, and content without families. Most of us are not>happy, trust me. Millions of us are on anti-depressant medication, hate our>jobs, and cry at night over the men who told us they loved us, then >greedily>used us and walked away. They would like to destroy your families and>convince you to have fewer children. They do this by presenting marriage as>a form of slavery, motherhood as a curse, and being modest and pure as>old-fashioned. They want you to cheapen yourself and lose your faith. They>are like the Serpent tempting Eve with the apple. Don't bite.>I see you as precious gems, pure gold, or the "pearl of great value" spoken>of in the Bible (Matthew 13: 45). All women are pearls of great value, but>some of us have been deceived into doubting the value of our purity. Jesus>said: "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls>before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and>rend you" (Matthew 7: 6). Our pearls are priceless, but they convince us>that they're cheap. But trust me; there is no substitute for being able to>look in the mirror and seeing purity, innocence and self-respect staring>back at you. The fashions coming out of the Western sewer are designed to>make you believe that your most valuable asset is your sexuality. But your>beautiful dresses and veils are actually sexier than any Western fashion,>because they cloak you in mystery and show self-respect and confidence. A>woman's sexuality should be guarded from unworthy eyes, since it should be>your gift to the man who loves and respects you enough to marry you. And>since your men are still manly warriors, they deserve no less than your>best. Our men don't even want purity anymore. They don't recognize the >pearl>of great value, opting for the flashy rhinestone instead. Only to leave her>too.>>Your most valuable assets are your inner beauty, your innocence, and>everything that makes you who you are. But I notice that some Muslim women>push the limit and try to be as Western as possible, even while wearing a>veil (with some of their hair showing). Why imitate women who already>regret, or will soon regret, their lost virtue? There is no compensation >for>that loss. You are flawless diamonds. Don't let them trick you into >becoming>rhinestones. Because everything you see in the fashion magazines and on>Western television is a lie. It is Satan's trap. It is fool's gold.>I'll let you in on a little secret, just in case you're curious: >pre-marital>sex is not even that great. We gave our bodies to the men we were in love>with, believing that that was the way to make them love us and want to >marry>us. Just as we had seen on television growing up. But without the security>of marriage and the sure knowledge that he will always stay with us, it's>not even enjoyable! That's the irony. It was just a waste. It leaves you in>tears. Speaking as one woman to another, I believe that you understand that>already. Because only a woman can truly understand what's in another >woman's>heart. We really are all alike. Our race, religion or nationalities do not>matter. A woman's heart is the same everywhere. We love. That's what we do>best. We nurture our families and give comfort and strength to the men we>love. But we American women have been fooled into believing that we are>happiest having careers, our own homes in which to live alone, and freedom>to give our love away to whomever we choose. That is not freedom. And that>is not love. Only in the safe haven of marriage can a woman's body and >heart>be safe to love. Don't settle for anything less. It's not worth it. You>won't even like it and you'll like yourself even less afterwards. Then >he'll>leave you.>>Sin never pays. It always cheats you. Even though I have reclaimed my >honor,>there's still no substitute for having never been dishonored in the first>place. We Western women have been brainwashed into thinking that you Muslim>women are oppressed. But truly, we are the ones who are oppressed; slaves >to>fashions that degrade us, obsessed with our weight, begging for love from>men who do not want to grow up. Deep down inside, we know that we have been>cheated. We secretly admire and envy you, although some of us will not >admit>it. Please do not look down on us or think that we like things the way they>are. It's not our fault. Most of us did not have fathers to protect us when>we were young because our families have been destroyed. You know who is>behind this plot. Don't be fooled, my sisters. Don't let them get you too.>Stay innocent and pure. We Christian women need to see what life is really>supposed to be like for women. We need you to set the example for us,>because we are lost. Hold onto your purity. Remember: you can't put the>toothpaste back in the tube. So guard your "toothpaste" carefully!>I hope you receive this advice in the spirit in which it is intended: the>spirit of friendship, respect, and admiration. From your Christian sister –>with love.>>© 2006+ Joanna Francis

A bit about me...

Originally from Djibouti and Somalia. However, raised in the states. I'm a: Writer (actually working on a really funny book...ask me about it) , photographer, activist, and deliriously obsessed by music, the arts and good vibes. Love sounds, words and images (artistic vocabulary causes palpitations), travel, meeting people from all over the world, daydreaming, being by the sea, hanging out in galleries, museums or interesting architectural space. A bit of a nerd, hobbies include reading the dictionary or say, studying maps. I find myself to be creatively eclectic. Currently, a senior in Uni. Will be graduating in Business/English. Hopefully, I want to get into my masters. I've been thinking about Neuro Linguistics ( explore how mind and neurology, language patterns (linguistic), and the organization of human perception and cognition into systemic patterns (programming) interact to create subjective reality and human behaviors.) Not sure yet. Nonetheless, I am a real unique being. Interested in all the world has to offer to me. Stop by and drop me a line or two...

Since this is offiicially the first blog. I thought I'd add some things I like...
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia
The Stranger (Vintage International)
The Beauty of Color: The Ultimate Beauty Guide for Skin of Color
Prep: A Novel
Eloise: The Ultimate Edition
The Autobiography of Malcolm X : As Told to Alex Haley
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda
The World Cafe: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter
Amelia Bedelia (I Can Read Book 2)
Men Cry in the Dark : A Novel
Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake
The Great Gatsby
Great Expectations
Life Could Be Sweeter: 101 Great Ideas from Around the World for Living a More Rewarding Life
Madame Bovary (Bantam Classics)
Pride and Prejudice
100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed (Black Cat Series)
Coffee, Tea or Me? The Uninhibited Memoirs of Two Airline Stewardesses
Brick Lane: A Novel
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Weekend in Paris
White Teeth
Get Lifted
The Very Best of Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan
Lady Day: The Best of Billie Holiday
It's All About the Stragglers
Worldwide Underground
Black on Both Sides
The Best of Sade
Keith Sweat
You Gotta Go There to Come Back
The Very Best of Amr Diab
Never Say Never
Hotter Than July
One in a Million
All That I Am
Miss Thang
Hopes and Fears
Put Your Records on
Confessions on a Dance Floor
Born to Do It
On the 6
The Diary of Alicia Keys
Catch a Fire
Emergency on Planet Earth
Abbey Road
Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds, Vol. 2
Toni Braxton
Dutty Rock
Les Marchands De Reves
Ya Salam
Soul Rebel
MTV Unplugged No. 2.0
FutureSex / LoveSounds
Sweet November
Brown Sugar
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
Le Divorce
Monsoon Wedding
Crash (Widescreen Edition)
Brokedown Palace
The Notebook (New Line Platinum Series)
The Girl in the Cafe
Match Point
The Devil Wears Prada
Love Actually (Widescreen Edition)
Love Jones
Something's Gotta Give
American History X
The Wedding Planner
An American in Paris
Closer (Superbit Edition)
View from the Top
Alfie (Widescreen Edition)

Well, that's just an idea of some of the things I'm into...I hope this medium serves as a place to regurgitate all of my ideas and thoughts.