by debrina aliyah
the head scarf has long been seen as a cultural and religious requirement. but as fashion takes centre stage, women around the world began exploring new ways of using the simple scarf to create their own distinctive versions of head coverings. glam speaks to four women from different cultural backgrounds on their stylish interpretation of the headscarf.
he fashion icon of the 60s got her style mojo right from the start. Jackie Kennedy, well-loved for her elegant dressing and friendly demeanour, had always accessorised with the modest headscarf pulled back casually with a knot at the back. A few decades later, the new wave of celebrities including Nicole Ritchie, Halle Berry and Kelly Osbourne embraced the movement of adorning the head with colourful scarves setting a new trend which reached out to a global audience. For women who have been covering their heads all their lives as part of a cultural or religious requirement, the new interest in headwear sparked off a stylish revolution changing traditional headwear styles in communities around the world. Indonesian events co-ordinator Febrariska Armen cites her current style point of reference as popular Muslim bloggers and stylists who regularly post videos of new ways to wear the headscarves on the Internet. “There is a surge of Muslim style bloggers who promote dressing in a modest way and a big focus is on the variety of head covering designs to suit your wardrobe. One of my hot favourite at the moment is Hana Tajima who is based in London. She is extremely popular
in South East Asia as women in this region are very open to new ways of head coverings,” Armen explains. Head coverings are known as jilbabs in Indonesia and young women are beginning to look for bold patterns and colours in scarves that are used to cover their heads. Many like Febrariska, pick out styles from online style bloggers and adjust them to suit their own preferences. Standing in front of the mirror for hours trying to learn and discover new styles is a norm. “There are a few accessories needed to create the different styles, mainly an inner covering of the head which are called ‘anak tudung’ or ‘inner-ninjas’ as well as brooches and pins. The inner coverings provide the basic coverage of the hair and neck as required by Islam so that we can experiment with fluid styles with the outer scarf.” Online business entrepreneur Jamiatun Baharum who designs and sells head veils, says a similar trend is taking place in Malaysia. While the Ariani style, which is a simple triangle wrap around the head, has been the staple look for decades in the country, there has been a new way of looks in the last two years because of the new interest in headwear. “What the bloggers and Muslim designers have done is to inspire young teenagers and
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How To Get The Look - Simple Style Guide
layla SaaD - THE PuLL BACK CAP LooK
wrap a long rectangular scarf across your forehead and across or behind your ears and tie it is a square knot at the nape of your neck. make sure one end is longer than the other. loop the longer end around the front of your neck and over the back of your head and secure with a pin or brooch.
attract them to explore new ways in covering their head. Some interesting modern takes include the usage of hoodie tops to cover while wearing an ‘inner-ninja’,” Jamiatun explained. Known as the ‘tudung’ in Malaysia, the headscarf that Jamiatun chose for the interview is a batik-print scarf, a silk fabric which originates from the east coast of the country. “The batik is a silk fabric with motifs that are brush painted usually with a nature theme. It is a very popular and traditional fabric that is gaining revival in contemporary fashion especially as a headscarf.” Creating the perfect headscarf look which can be worn all-day also requires a little help in structure support especially if you have short hair. Entrepreneur and women’s success coach Layla Saad explains that she usually wears a flower netting clip on her hair before putting on her headscarf to give it a voluminous look and to help the scarf stay in place.
Of a mixed African and Omani background, Layla has gone through stages of experimenting with different head covering styles from wraps to turbans before she found the right look to complement her style. “I do constantly look out for new styles but at the moment, I’m happy with this pulledback cap style which allows me to wear earrings and stay stylish. I have a very classic style and tend to stick to plain colours and light wool fabrics.” The revival of interest in headscarves has also brought the old Kenyan tradition of “kitambaa” back to life after being labelled by youngsters as conservative and outdated. The ‘kitambaa’ is an old cultural practise of headscarf by the Kenyan community to show modesty and humility and is usually part of a complete outfit with matching accessories that are chunky and dramatic. “The younger generation had stopped wearing the ‘kitambaa’ because it was considered traditional but in the recent years, a new
wave of young entrepreneurs began reviving the practice by introducing vibrant colours and motifs in the fabrics of the ‘kitambaa’ as compared to dull colours worn by the older generation,” Kenyan Caroline Kariuki explained. The ‘kitambaa’ is worn everyday by the older generations in Kenya but the youngsters have adopted the practice for special occasions like weddings, theme parties and events. “You can now find the ‘kitambaa’ in almost every colour and motif that you can imagine. It is considered to be very fashionable to wear it now in Kenya because of the revival. Because of its basic wrap shape around the head, you can choose either soft or hard fabrics to create the different shapes that you want on the head. The basic shape is a simple knot at the front of the head but with stiffer fabrics, you can create really dramatic and voluminous looks especially if you are wearing the full matching outfit.”
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caroline KariuKi THE TuRBAN WRAP (THE KITAMBAA)
fold your scarf into a triangle and drape it over your head with the long edge of the triangle across your forehead. pull the two long ends around your head and criss cross the ends into a simple knot at the side of your head. pull back the ends and tuck it under the back of the wrap.
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Jamiatun baHarum THE FLoPPy DouBLE LAyER LooK
wrap a long rectangular scarf across your head with the ends meeting at the chin. leave about three inches on one end and leave the longer end hanging. secure the meet at the bottom of the chin with a brooch. loop the longer end around your head to the other side and secure it with a brooch around your ear or temple.
FebrariSKa armen - THE CoNTRAST CoLoR LooK
wear an ‘inner-ninja’ of any colour that you like. choose a scarf of a contrasting colour as the outer layer. wrap the outer layer scarf about three inches above your forehead (to make sure the ‘inner ninja’ can be be seen) and across or behind your ears and tie it is a square knot at the nape of your neck. make sure one end is longer than the other. loop the longer end around your head to the other side and secure it with a brooch around your ear or temple.
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