As a Muslim woman, Hadjer Bendifallah’s search for comfortable clothes that don’t compromise her religious values has always been a challenge.
Living in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Hadjer’s problem was felt by many other Muslim women who didn’t have enough places to buy modest fashion that fits their lifestyles and Islamic beliefs.
“It is not easy to find the clothes that meet criteria for an Islamic outfit,” said Bendifallah, who moved from Algeria to Winnipeg in 2020, CBC reported.
“Often, for me, I tried to adapt with what is offered in the market, because the offers are limited. So, it’s not easy to find an outfit.”
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Tending to order online or get clothes during her visits to Algeria wasn’t a suitable option for many Muslim women. Therefore, Meriyema Seid stepped in and opened Abijata Marketplace this past winter to help deal with the issue.
Specializing in hijabs and abaya, the store imports items from Dubai, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for our community,” Seid said. “It’s easy to find here.”
Hafsa Altaf, a local designer and artist specializing in modern modest fashion, also runs Fashion by Hafsa brand.
She hopes to provide people with fun and creative options to represent themselves without compromising their values.
Altaf was surprised to get a lot of business from non-Muslim women.
“One example is summer Islamic clothing. I found that a lot of non-Muslims wear it as well,” she said.
“And this just rings true to the multicultural and accepting society in Canada, which is incredible.”
For Muslim women, wearing hijab is an act of worship. It is also a way to practice modesty, a principle expected in the behavior and dress of all Muslims.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.