Jakarta. The much sought-after collection by Hana Tajima, a British Muslim fashion blogger who collaborated with contemporary Japanese casual wear designer Uniqlo, launched in Jakarta last week to an eager fan-base of young and modern Indonesian Muslim women.
Indonesia is one of the few countries in the world to carry the line, joining the ranks of Malaysia and Singapore which started selling Tajima’s designs in early July.
The popular blogger has turned into a role model for young and modern Muslim women around the world by pushing boundaries and preconceived notions of traditional Muslim clothing with her effortless style.
The Tajima for Uniqlo collection features a variety of long dresses, crepe skirts, rayon blouses, as well as headbands and inner wear made from Uniqlo’s “AIRism” anti-heat material, an innovative technology designed to combat sweat.
Tajima’s fans will not be surprised to see that some items were designed to be worn in multiple ways, such as a blouse with buttons on the back and a kebaya with detachable bottom wear. The concept is in line with Tajima’s unique fashion sense.
One of the highlights of the collection is the array of lightweight and colorful hijab scarves, which were inspired by the many ways in which Tajima styles her own hijab: droopy, relaxed and unfinished.
Tajima, who converted to Islam at the age of 17, is also known for styling her daily wardrobe by mixing and matching high street pieces with looks and items inspired by the pages of Vogue magazine. Scroll through her blog and one would find the rising fashion star in a headscarf made of light pashmina adorned over a bonnet and graciously draped in an asymmetrical fashion.
Her unique ability to style a hijab has inspired millions of Muslim women around the world to experiment with headscarves, encouraging them to discover and express their own inner fashion sense.
Not long ago, mass produced veils were the only option available to Muslim women with which to adorn themselves, but Tajima has proven that it was possible for them to express themselves through clothes whilst still staying true to their religious ideals.
The Japanese retailer has been reluctant to pigeon hole and categorize the Tajima collection as “Muslim wear,” insisting that it was merely a response to the need for modest wear in the market. The retailer also found that the UK native’s sense of fashion is in line with Uniqlo’s philosophy.
“We don’t intend to [specifically] target Muslim people or Muslim fashion, [but the collection is] in line with our LifeWear concept, it’s ‘Made for All,’” Uniqlo co-chief operations officer Taku Ozawa said at the Tajima collection launch in Jakarta last week.
He added that the line is also unavailable in Uniqlo’s home base of Japan and Britain, where Tajima currently resides.
Like many eager fans of the blogger, 18-year-old Kesia has been waiting anxiously for the Hana Tajima collection to arrive in Jakarta and had marked the launch date on her calendar to ensure she be the first in line when the doors open.
An hour after arriving at Uniqlo outlet in Grand Indonesia, Central Jakarta, her basket was filled with new items, but that still didn’t stop her from eagerly scouring the store for other finds.
Kesia even pulled out her phone to video call her cousin in Japan and ask if she wanted anything.
“These scarves are so pretty, look at the colors,” Kesia said, running her fingers down the two-toned scarves while her eyes lingered on the long crepe skirt and kebaya nestled in her shopping basket.
“I want everything!” her cousin said in response.
Kesia has been wearing a hijab since primary school and admits that back then, choices for stylish clothes for her were limited. She used to pair short-sleeved t-shirts with loose cardigans to keep her look youthful. However, she concedes that the choices are now less limited for modest fashion.
“I’m a big fan of Hana and have been following her blog for a long time,” she said. “I think she has a unique style and she wears her hijab differently.”
For other fashion bloggers, such as Dwi Handayani Syah Putri and Puteri Hasanah Kurnia, Tajima is a role model for Muslim women.
“I really like the hijab scarves because it’s an instant Hana Tajima look. It’s actually quite hard to recreate her looks with different materials,” Dwi said. “Judging from unexpected shapes in the collection, I feel that everything is so Hana Tajima.”
Puteri, who runs a Muslim clothing line called Sae, said that Uniqlo’s collaboration with Tajima is the chance for Western retailers to show that modest wear can also be fashionable. She also appreciates that the headband collection comes in Uniqlo’s “AIRism” material.
“I like all the outerwear in the collection because it’s so me, I like to mix and match,” she said. “As a hijabi, it’s nice to see a non-modest retailer give their own take on modest wear,” the blogger said.
The Hana Tajima collection is currently available at Uniqlo stores in Grand Indonesia, Central Jakarta; Gandaria City and Lotte Shopping Avenue in South Jakarta; and Mall Kelapa Gading 2, Central Jakarta. Prices range from Rp 59,000 to Rp 699,000 ($4.37-$51.86).
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