“Hijab” in Indonesia is now not only covering your body to put faith on Islamic rules. Recent years, I have seen many Muslim women making various creations with their headscarves. They don’t want headscarves and modesty in dressing limit them to be stylish. This vision has made many young, Muslim women want to put on veils as well as decent outfits in more interesting ways.
Indonesia is known as the largest Muslim-populated country in the world. This fact doesn’t mean that it is an Islamic country with Sharia or religious law, though. Thus, generally there are no strict rules from both official and society to demand a woman to wear headscarf in her daily life.
However, many Indonesian Muslimah or female Muslims now have a high concern on dressing with headscarves and closed outfit. I have observed that comparing with the time before 2000, the number of women with headscarves recently is much growing in Indonesia, including young people. Even some of them try to change the perception about limitation for a woman when she is devoted to wear headscarf. By having more creations in wearing closed outfits, they can do so and these ladies call themselves as hijabers.
Moreover, communities and events related to this phenomenon exist in big cities like Jakarta. Like November last year, a group of young female Muslim people founded an official “Hijabers Community”. A member of this community, Jenahara, said that they wanted to make this community a medium to share tips and experience related to hijabs. “Sometimes people out there think veiled-ladies have monoton styles. Though actually it is not. There are so many girls in headscarves who are still looking good. But everything should be based on Islamic rules,” Jenahara said on Hijabers Community’s official video.
This hijabers phenomenon also has created a new potential market in fashion. More boutiques and online shopping exist to serve Muslim ladies’ demands towards stylish modest fashion.
The Muslimah Beauty Contest
Another breaking-the-perception-effort is the Indonesian female Muslim beauty pageant.
Most of beauty pageants in Indonesia avoid the use of any religion symbolics on their participants. Besides, they really much require a ‘visible’ physical beauty.
”Muslimah Beauty” is the first online beauty contest for Muslimah in Indonesia, even in the world (source: Kompas.com). The winner of this competition will be the female Muslim fashion ambassador representing Indonesia. Eka Shanty, the director of Indonesia Islamic Fashion Consortium which organized 2011 Muslimah Beauty, expressed her expectation towards this event. “I hope in the future this contest can go international, just like Miss Universe. However, the difference is that the participants appear with modest Muslim wear, only showing their face and hands. This initiative hopefully can encourage the existence of similar contests in other countries especially countries of Organization of the Islamic Cooperation”, said Eki on Kompas.com.
Not Just a ‘Fashion’
Meanwhile, my friend Alia Nadira, who is not wearing headscarfs, has her own interpretation about the hijabers.
“I think this hijabers phenomenon gives positive effects especially for female Muslims who wear headscarves. Most of us often worry about wearing headscarves with reasoning that we are then not able to look pretty, cool, and so on. It’s because so far, the headscarf styles are not variative, thought as old-fahioned, and monoton. But now, the rise of hijabers give a new perception especially for young ladies who are energetic and always in mood to look stylish. However, I hope the philosophy of the hijab itself won’t lose and be merely just for ‘fashion’,” said Alia who is now starting a magazine project about Muslimah fashion.
To watch Hijabers Communit’s official video about who they are, you can follow this link.
“The Hijabers”, pictures photos taken and edited by: Cyntia Monica Fabella