Festive fashion: Around the world in traditional Eid outfits
There are two things that brings together Muslims all over the world during Eid al-Adha: faith and fashion
There are two things that bring together Muslims all over the world during Eid al-Adha: faith and fashion. The Islamic holiday, which fell on Monday and will run until Wednesday, is all bout prayer, sacrifice and donning your best threads in honor of the occasion.
While there is no set garment for any one country, Muslims generally dress in traditional clothes which are inherent to their culture, with modesty as a key theme. From the abaya and jalabeya in Saudi Arabia to the baju kurung in Malaysia, we reveal some contemporary Eid garments worn in a handful of Muslim-majority countries around the world
Eid al-Adha, known as Hari Raya Haji in Malaysia, is more popular in the east states of the country, explains Natalie Zainal, co-founder of Malaysian label Tsyahmi with designer Tengku Syahmi. The brand creates modern interpretations of threads typically worn on Eid: the traditional baju kurung for women, a loose-fitting two-piece garment comprising a collarless blouse and skirt with a folded pleat and for men, the baju melayu, a top and simple straight-cut pants.
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Pakistan’s traditional dress, the shalwar kameez, is worn by both men and women but styles, fabrics and patterns differ according to gender and the male version is dubbed a kurta. The two-piece outfit consists of pants or culottes and a tunic. But increasingly, young Pakistani women are incorporating western touches too, says Najia Qazi, a senior designer at Pakistani retailer Sapphire. “For Eid, many women now wear a three-piece concept known as shalwar-kameez-dupatta. It consists of a short or long tunic (kameez) with culottes, boot cut or straight pants (shalwar), along with a stole or scarf (dupatta). The style is slightly western, but the artwork and fabric used is still eastern inspired,” says Najia.
Saudi Arabia and GCC countries
“In the GCC, ladies typically wear a headscarf with a fancy abaya (a flowy robe used to cover an outfit underneath), and men wear the kandora, a traditional male robe,” says Hend al-Mutawa, Emirati designer of contemporary abaya label Nabrman.
“Abayas have long sleeves, the length extends to the feet and the cut is not tight overall. Although traditionally black in color, the abaya can now be seen in different fabrics including silks, crepes, and linens as well as more creative designs. International trends play a major role alongside the designer’s own inspiration and season.
But women are also breaking with tradition for celebrations such as Eid, says Hessa al-Falahi, founder and owner of the cover-up and Pre-Ramadan pop-up shop Popup Shop Factory. “Eid is a time for celebrating with family, so many women don’t wear their abayas. Modesty is still very important over Eid and for me that means avoiding figure-hugging clothes and making a structured fashion statement with a head scarf, accessories and layering.
Men traditionally wear kurta pyjama or a long tunic with pants for Eid, while women dress in saree salwar kameez, a full-length modest dress which covers down to the foot and the arms and may be brightly colored and beaded. “Instead of traditional clothes, you see a lot more women wearing sarees with jackets or long jackets with a jumpsuit and even capes with long kameezes or tunics during Eid,” says Arzin Alom, a Bangladesh designer and founder of fashion label Sciccoso.
“The capes may come with heavy or simple beading to keep with tradition. A few years ago in Dhaka, western fashion wasn’t very common, but now almost everyone seems to be trying different outfits, whether it’s maxi dresses, jumpsuits, long gowns or skirts. Women are being introduced to modest fashion and they can now keep up with mainstream trends while still maintaining their modesty,” says Arzin.
Though traditional dress varies across Indonesia, Javanese women are known to wear a kebaya, or blouse-dress, during Eid celebrations. Often crafted in sheer fabrics such as lace and adorned with embroidery and brocade, the long-sleeved tunic is open-fronted and paired with a long skirt or batik sarong. Meanwhile, men often dress up in a baju koko, a collarless long or short-sleeve shirt with traditional designs paired with a sarong in traditional textiles such and a head wrap cloth, known as a tanjak.