- Published on Monday, 11 June 2012 06:19
- Category: Culture
In the mood for a stylish blowout of DJs, cupcakes, high heels and maxi dresses? Then look no further than the 5th annual Fashion Fighting Famine (FFF) charity runway show, a power-packed, eclectic soiree of art, music, food and – of course – fashion.
Models graced the catwalk on Sunday June, 3rd at the University of California-Irvine, modeling the latest trends and styles by renowned Muslim designers to a high turnout of fashionistas and enthusiastic shoppers. Professional photographers milled through the crowd, ready to stage mini photo shoots for guests as they walked the pink carpet. The event also hosted a Shop for a Cause bazaar, a who’s who feature of Muslim and local businesses, including bakeries and event planners.
Attendants included American sabre fencer and Olympic hopeful Ibitahaj Muhammad, who appeared to have a great time visiting booths talking to designers, even striking a pose for photographers with her friends.
As if the excitement of the event isn’t enough reason to attend, FFF gives a portion of all sales to a different charity every year. “This year we decided to choose One Laptop Per Child because we believe education is a right for everyone,” FFF charity coordinator Mahtab Madjlessi-Kupai told Aslan Media, adding too that part of the proceeds from the show will also be donated to humanitarian efforts and civilian support in Syria.
Co-director Asmaa Hassanein elaborated by illustrating FFF’s mission to actively support charities that make long-term and self-sustainable investments in communities in need. “One Laptop Per Child’s goal to provide laptops to children will spread education,” she said. The charity works to make education more accessible by providing laptops to impoverished children in third-world countries, “which in turn will reap long-term benefits for the communities [it helps].”
“We believe that education shouldn’t be restricted to a certain segment of society,” Madjlessi-Kupai pointed out. Neither should fashion.
“It was difficult to start [FFF] because all of us were students and we didn’t have much experience,” Hassanein explained. “But we all came together and combined our talents. People were extremely supportive of our initiative, they knew we were catering to a booming fashion trend of modest clothing.”
Booming, and here to stay. The theme for each outfit on the runway – Glamour, amplified. Students and young professionals from various fields volunteered as models, showcasing five internationally trending designers down the 72-foot catwalk, each one adding another layer the nuanced fabric of modest Islamic fashion, from edgy to whimsical to elegant.
Abaya Addict’s collection of blinged-out abayas dazzled the audience with stud and chain accents, subverting a “modest” twist to current fashion trends with its hi-lo tops and maxi dresses in stripes, florals, and solid colors. Models wearing street wear-inspired label SixteenR, with its “scarves that empower” philosophy, rocked the runway with their bold and fashion-forward screenprints of barcodes, cityscapes, even headphones, on scarves can be worn as stylish accessories or hijabs.
Other labels showcased on the runway included Vela, a fun and feminine brand making its sophomore appearance of ruffles and zipper-accented scarves in FFF, and Mohajababes, a sister-duo that began designing handmade breezy kaftans after years of receiving countless compliments on their own outfits.
“It was a wonderful experience today at the fashion show,” said Vela designer and co-founder Marwa Atik, who also used to model for FFF. “It was great to see different outlooks on modest fashion.”
Of all the looks, the most ingenious came from Marena Y Sol in the form of mini kaftans. Paired with colored denim, leggings and even wide legged linen pants, the sheer kaftans redefine effortless luxury, perfect for summer. Forget about little black dresses; it’s now been upstaged – by the LBK. After the show, a flurry of women raided the booth to get their hands on the vibrant outfits that caught their eye on the runway. “We have a hot pink kaftan that is proving to be the best seller tonight,” said FFF volunteer Bushra Khan. “The older women don’t know that our kaftan were worn by the Kardashians on their Dubai trip, but a lot of the girls are asking for the ‘Kris Kardashian’ peach kaftan.”
Excitable, pioneering- here, fashion isn’t a passing fad amongst Muslim and other modestly-dressed women: it’s a dominating tradition - a way of life - ever-evolving in modern styles that are both magnetic and fun. In a mainstream industry where less skin seems a far cry from style, what makes FFF unique is its success in filling the void by proving that Muslim women can be modest, fierce and chic, all at the same time.
For an extended coverage of the event, please visit Aslan Media’s gallery of exclusive photos here.By Alnas Zia, Aslan Media Contributing Writer and Multimedia Assistant
*Photo Credit: Courtesy of the author