Tuesday, 25 June 2013 00:00
Dubai-based designer Sarah Sillis has created a collection of sportswear clothes aimed at Muslim women who wear the hijab.
Sillis, originally from Belgian, started wearing the headscarf a few years ago.
She found that women who wanted to dress conservatively but also be sporty, were finding it hard to find appropriate clothing to workout in, and so she came up with her hijab modest sportswear designs - SaQueena.
Working from her studio in Dubai, Sillis said she hopes her creations will inspire more women to be active.
“We want to empower you girls to go out and do some, you know, community activities, sports activities which is good for your health and at the same time it also builds your community and you feel comfortable,” she said.
The line is aimed at hijab-wearing women, but those who don’t wear the headscarf are also keen to wear Sillis’ designs.
“Even though I don’t wear a headscarf I am quite conservative and I don’t like to wear tight clothes that show off my entire body. Before when I used to go out for a walk I used to think a thousand times about how I could walk wearing sportswear that’s tight and shows off my body. So when I heard about Sarah and her label I thought - finally, I can wear something I am comfortable in and I can go out for walks whenever I want,” said customer Khadijatou el Hamed.
Sillis uses bright colours and bold patterns in the collection and says she was inspired by the coastline and her own love of swimming in creating the designs.
For some customers it’s the combination of colours and fabrics that appeals to them.
“She uses summery colours and the fabric is nice and not cheap quality so it makes you feel good and encourages you to do more sports, and to go out with friends and family to waterparks, like Wild Wadi, without having to be constrained to go on women-only days,” said customer Sabreen Mahmoud.
“It’s a great idea and not just for the Gulf, but for other Muslim countries or for Muslims living in the West like Britain and France who face similar difficulties. I have heard it from my friends living there and know that they face the same difficulties, so having (SaQueena) would make things easier,” she added.
The swimwear range comes in two pieces with a turban-style cap.
Silis uses a variety of fabrics including cotton, elastene and viscose, with items selling for between 122 to 136 U.S dollars.
For Silis what started out as a swimwear line, has now become a sportswear range which includes garments that can be worn for badminton, tennis and golf.
Now the designer hopes to expand her line even further by breaking into other markets and selling her items online to customers further afield.