By Sugandha Rawal
New Delhi– India needs to start seeing abaya just like a sari or a long jacket, with no stereotypical view about a faith or religion attached to it, says Indian-origin international designer Murcyleen Peerzada, whose forte is modest fashion wear.
“I hope that the fashion scene in India becomes more open towards modest fashion and gives us the recognition we deserve. We shouldn’t be seen as dressing for a religious cult or something,” Peerzada told IANS over an email.
“An abaya (loose-fitting, full-length robe) is just like the sari. An abaya can even be worn as a long jacket. It’s just an overcoat. Modest wear also isn’t just limited to Muslims. It can be worn by anyone who feels comfortable in covered clothes. It’s a choice, and doesn’t have to do with faith,” she added.
From the abaya and hijab finding a place on the ramp internationally to mannequins of high-end stores showcasing modest ranges – everyone seems to be embracing the diversity in the fashion world globally.
“With IMG signing up a hijabi model to Paris and New York Fashion Week, Dolce & Gabbana, there’s also the Nike hijab wear… Of course, the fashion world is waking up to Muslim women’s style,” said Peerzada, who unveiled a first of its kind ‘The Healthy Abaya’ at the Dubai Modest Fashion Week 2017.
“There’s Debenhams that launched a UK-based Abaya label all over the world. India is far behind for sure, but I’m sure that will change. I was more than surprised to be the first designer wear modest clothing brand in India, because this is a place that breeds thousands of designers, yet nobody thought of this until now.”
Known for her unique use of colours and fairytale inspired abaya designs, Peerzada is carving a niche for herself in the world of Muslim fashion outfits for women and the modest dressing industry.
How did she get into modest fashion with specialty in abaya?
“I definitely couldn’t find clothes that fit my choice after I started wearing a hijab, especially in India. There’s a huge demand for modest fashion but very few suppliers. I see a lot of potential in this and so, I thought of tapping into this.”
Before venturing into the fashion world, Peerzada had Bollywood dreams, and worked in the costume department for the Yash Raj Films banner. She left showbiz after the death of filmmaker Yash Chopra.
“Yashji and Pam Aunty are family. In fact, even today our family functions, festivals are celebrated together. I can always go back to movies and Bollywood, I’m sure. But that’s not my calling.
“In fact, it’s funny but even now I do get asked if I would be interested even in Arabic films, but I am not built for that. In the end, it’s all about finding your true calling and I found mine in fashion. I am open to styling and fashion but definitely not acting.”
At the moment, she is focussed on ‘The Healthy Abaya’ which comes with Microsolv, a fabric comprising of UV-transparent material, which lets UVB rays penetrate through the fabric.
“I’ve observed a lot of Muslim women in India and the GCC areas, where plenty of direct sunshine is available, yet we still see a high number of cases of Vitamin D deficiency. This is primarily because they are usually covered in two layers of clothing when they step out of their homes… So, the solution was simple – to create a healthier abaya.
“My plan is to make other modest wear out of this. I am working on designs for it. Not everyone wears abayas, so it’s important for me to have something for everyone.” (IANS)