There has been an explosion of websites, magazines, fashion houses and events that showcase what can be described as "Islamic fashion." Yet there are those in the Islamic community who see the term as an oxymoron. They believe fashion and Islam are incompatible or an uneasy mix.
A new Turkish women's magazine Âlâ - roughly translated as 'superb, excellent' - features models in headscarves wearing Islamic-style dress. Some of the inspiration for Âlâ came from the British magazine Emel. One of the founders of Âlâ, Volkan Atay, has reservations about the term "Islamic fashion" preferring "fashion details" as a way of describing what the magazine is about. His reasoning is that fashion is trend-driven and what is "in" one year is out the next. This in his view is unIslamic.
It's a fine line that not everyone might get. On the surface Âlâ presents pretty much like a western fashion magazine. Some of the photo shoots are similar to the type of spread you might find in Vogue or Elle. Even though the models are wearing Islamic dress there is still sex-appeal, although less overt.
Since its launch Âlâ has been a hot item. According to Turkish media reports it has been outselling Vogue and Elle in that country.
Der Spiegel has a photo gallery of the inside world of Âlâ - here.
Criticism of Âlâ has come from some religious quarters. Journalist Ihsan Eliacik claims that the magazine caters to the "nouveau riche." He takes issue with putting women on display, something he considers un-Islamic. He says that even though the women are wearing headscarves they are still being objectified in the same manner as models 'wearing bikinis.'
An article in The Atlantic mentions Tekbir Giyim, CEO of a Turkish textile company, who argues that fashion and Islam are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
A look at some of the better known magazines catering to Muslim women that feature stylish hijabs and designer outfits suggest that "Islamic fashion" is a real and happening fashion curve. There certainly seems to be growing interest. Blogs dedicated to hijab styles are just one example with names like Hijabulous, Hijabi Couture, Hijabs High, Hijabib Style, Random Hijabi and Stylish Muslimah.
More about Âlâ and reactions to it in the video beneath: