Two female students in Pakistan, Asma Mahar and Quratul Ain, are proving that the Islamic veil can be fun and fashionable.
They are designing hijabs and abayas using embroidery and applique work, reported the Express Tribune on Wednesday.
As students of the Bachelor in Business Administration program the two know a lucrative opportunity when it presents itself. They have turned to designing fun variants of the Islamic covering in a country where girls are increasingly observing the practice of covering their hair and bodies.
“We joined the (academic) institute three years ago and since then, the number of girls wearing hijab or an abaya has been increasing,” said Mahar to the Express Tribune.
“In view of the increasing demand, we decided to offer the girls a colourful variety to choose from.”
The small-scale project was low on funding, however the university “came to our rescue and provided us an interest-free loan, which covered 85 per cent of the project’s cost,” said Quratul Ain. “The remaining 15 per cent was arranged by us.”
A great deal of time and effort was put into the project.
“It took six months to complete the project and finally, with the help of others, we have put our designs on display,” said one of the girls.
Competing in the market
There is not much choice on the Pakistani market when it comes to Islamic female wear, the two girls picked up on this and designed an appealing range.
“Our works use embroidery, appliqué, beads and other embellishments to suit everyone’s choice.”
The fabrics have been selected very diligently, said the designers, adding that some of the hijabs have been made with Turkish materials.
With regards to the success of their stall in the university, they said 35 per cent of their stock was sold within two hours. “Our motto is to provide a variety of hijabs to girls at comparatively cheaper prices.”
Using the revenues from on-campus sales, the next step is to take their project online by launching their own website.
“People, especially women, want change and we are happy that we have come up with something new to cater to their needs.”