Dear Friend, Stranger and Cyberspacer,
Guanabana. Say that again. Guanabana. Yes. Guanabana restaurant in London is where I spent a few hours of my afternoon on the 4th of March. Why? Because Dian Pelangi was kind enough to host a get-together at the Kentish Town restaurant.
Surfing through my instagram feed on Monday night, I saw this post from the Indonesian fashion designer calling all London hijabis to this event. Naturally, silat-ul-rihim is a perfect excuse to attend, so I sorted out a simple outfit, missed some lectures and jumped on the 12:55 coach to London.
The casual setting of the restaurants and the filling appetizers of shrimp, fried squid, mozzarella balls (I think that’s what you call them) and a whole lot of other foods I can’t remember right now, made it a relaxing atmosphere. Kinda like we had just stopped by (some traveled all the way from Bristol and Southampton) at a friend’s house for a casual catch-up.
Despite having walked in during Dian Pelangi’s introductory talk (so embarrassing) and disrupted her speech (so so embarrassing) the humble and extremely down-to-earth designer welcomed me with a smiley ‘Asalamo-aleikum’ and proceeded with her talk.
Dian spoke of the growing hijab fashion trends in Indonesia and how far the scene has evolved; and of women, like all those in attendance, of how they inspire her. Then, as though we were old friends, she asked us all to introduce ourselves to each other and to talk about what inspires us, our styles.
See what I mean by down-to-earth and humble?
For most, modest instagramers and bloggers were their inspirations. Others mentioned Angelina Jolie and Elie Saab as inspirations, their styles giving them ideas about what to wear and how to ‘halalify’ outfits. Basma K, who was also in attendance spoke about her style, of how other fashion bloggers inspire her and mentioned that she loves adding colors to her outfits, and keeping them modest at all times.
We all shared something. Dian even had a hijab-style competition, where six ladies had to share a hijab style by making it on a model. The rest of us ladies had to vote from turbans with bows to volumized hijab styles. Unfortunately I can’t tell you who won since I had to leave early to catch my coach back home. Here are a few pictures to make up for it.
Yet I think the most inspiring part of the evening came from the stories and motivations shared by some of the women. They spoke of how hijab and the modest fashion scene can be used as da’wah to change the negative perceptions some may have about Muslims. How we are not invisible. How our hijabs are not hindrances and how our personalities, who we are, can shine through.
That we are here.