Globalization and Fashion

Wed Mar. 22, 2006 6:17 PM EST

Who says fashion has to be frivolous? Northeastern Kenya is home to 127,000 refugees from Somalia, and some of the women have taken an interest in girls' volleyball. But the traditional women's hijab can be a major nuisance when trying to play in 100 degree heat. Enter the "sporty hijab" by Nike, which modifies the conventional design with lighter fabric. "Our arms will be free now," said Hamdi Hassan Hashi, 27. Nike has committed to providing 700 "conservative, comfortable and suitable for serving" uniforms, and are teaching local girls to sew the garments out of locally produced materials as well.

Meanwhile, there's an untapped denim market in the Muslim community. Al Quds jeans target comfort-seeking Muslims, with extra baggy fits for added flexibility, lots of pockets for storing things during prayer and green seams (the sacred color of Islam). Produced in a Pakistani plant with 15, 000 employees, the denim are made "for and by Muslims." For now, Al Quds are only available in Italy—not surprisingly, the fashion capital of the world.

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