Skip to comments.Muslim fashion takes hold in Bay Area
Posted on 03/21/2012 9:21:15 AM PDT by SmithL
Ruhollah Habibi dresses sharply in a suit and tie each morning for his job at JP Morgan. But the banker also carries a thobe to work on Fridays, slipping on the Arabian-style tunic for afternoon prayers.
"I just take off my suitcoat and throw that on over my button-up," said the 28-year-old San Ramon resident. "It's our etiquette to wear Islamic clothing when you're going to learn the sacred knowledge."
From kufi caps to veils and ankle-length abayas, multicultural Muslim clothing is in demand among the Bay Area's young and devout. American-born Muslims who once shunned their immigrant parents' Old World attire now mix and match between global Muslim styles from the Middle East, Asia and Africa, choosing clothing that is modest but rarely ascetic.
"It's a matter of balancing our Muslim identity, our cultural identity, and at the same time being American," said Sadaf Siddiq, 24, who wears a pricey, beaded abaya for formal religious occasions but usually gets her clothes from H&M.
The Internet replaced traveling abroad as the best way to acquire well-made Muslim clothing -- what Habibi calls the Guccis of Muslim wear -- but now some merchants are capitalizing on the trend by allowing Bay Area Muslims to browse clothes and feel the fabrics locally.
"Thobes, abayas, hijabs, topis, khuffs and more!" says a sign outside Maqbool Islamic Clothing, a new store next to the post office in the historic Alvarado district in Union City.
Entrepreneur Jabir Tarin, 20, dressed recently in blue Vans sneakers, a bright plaid shirt and a taqiyah cap, opened the shop March 1 with his older brother and a friend. They couldn't find the clothes they wanted to wear, so the Cal State East Bay students began importing them.
"It's totally normal for us to wear this in public," said the bearded college student, walking through a store that sells everything from Arab yashmagh scarves to the tropical lungis and sarongs favored from Bangladesh to Indonesia.
Tarin said what Muslim youths wear is inspired by Islamic scriptures, longstanding cultural traditions and a desire to emulate others whose clothes they admire. It doesn't hurt that the Bay Area is an accepting place, he added.
"One of the blessings of living in the Bay Area is there's so much diversity," Tarin said. "You could all but go naked and nobody will say anything."
Like many of his peers, Habibi never wanted to wear Islamic clothing as a child growing up in an Afghan-American family in Fremont. He avoided the perahan tunban, the long shirt-and-trousers combo his father wore at home and to cultural events.
"My mom wanted me to wear the clothes, and we would rebel and say, 'No way, we're not going to wear that stuff.' It wasn't cool. We were kids. We wanted to fit in," said the San Ramon banker.
Now he wears Arab garb his father would never think of wearing. Habibi said he had a change of heart three years ago as he began to take his faith more seriously and found a new pride in his Muslim culture and community.
"Every single day, I've got to look sharp, especially with clients," he said. "I kind of look at Islamic clothing the same way."
He's on the lookout now for a new thobe of the Yemeni style he spotted on a passer-by some weeks ago. He called the Union City store to see if they have it.
"I'm not really a big fan of wearing a collar. I told him, 'Hey man, are you going to get any of those Yemeni thobes there? I can't find one.'"
Not yet, Habibi said, but someone's bound to start selling them soon.
Maqbool Islamic Clothing owner Jabir Tarin organizes items his shop on
Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 in Union City, Calif. The store carries a
variety of traditional Muslim clothing and hopes to attract a young,
hip clientele to the East Bay store once it opens on March 17, 2012
I have no objection to making them easier to spot
“”One of the blessings of living in the Bay Area is there’s so much diversity,” Tarin said. “You could all but go naked and nobody will say anything.” “
I thought they recently passed a law that you could go naked.
They need to be watched.
“when you’re going to learn the sacred knowledge”
Just wanted that part repeated.
There is no such thing as “Islamic clothing”. This is Arabic clothing, more accurately, secular Arabic clothing which has been around since before Islam ever was introduced in Arabia.
It was only a matter of time. Next, fashion burkhas?
I would say it's monocultural...
"Islamic" clothing is topless. < rimshot >
I've always wanted a fez, myself. Hey, maybe it keeps off the San Francisco whackos!
Designer bomb vests with voice-activated triggers. Coming soon to Intifada Emporium stores near you!
Time to buy a Crusader T-shirt.
Where’s the 11.0 earthquake in the Fag/Muslim Bay area when you really, really need one?
Hey, maybe it keeps off the San Francisco whackos!That works both ways. I used to be stationed in New London, Conn., back before the Shah fell, and we were training a lot of Iranian submariners.
I knew several non-Jewish girls who wore a Star of David, just to keep the Iranians away.
"Hey Dhirkira, did you hear? There's a cool new burqa store in the East Bay! It's SO hip--they have the new spring color--gray-black!"
"Cool, Hezbolatrina, how do we get there? Can your husband take us? Maybe we can ask my brother or some other man in the family."
"OK, great! Maybe in a month or two one of them will take us if don't make them mad at us for anything."
"Gurrrl, you know it!"
I think that is my favorite animated GIF of all time.
(the bow tie should be next ;-)