Zainab Mulla

Master's in Art and Design Showcase

Creative Pattern Cutting MA

The aim of this project was to produce a collection of special occasion dresses with detachable and attachable elements, that will integrate into the fashion industry without being labelled ‘Modest’, making them suitable for all. I am a first generation Muslim born and educated in Britain trying to find clothing which conformed to the constraints of Islamic dress (high necklines, long sleeves, longer hemlines and no sheer fabrics) and Western culture was always difficult especially as a student trying to fit in with the rest of your classmates. The High Street did not provide any form of clothing that married these two cultures which reflected my identity. The imported goods that came from abroad were not suited to the climate of this country in terms of the fabrics used to produce them (light weight – suitable for a warm climate) nor in the choice of colours they were available (bright colours – you looked as if you were going on holiday to somewhere exotic). I had no choice but to learn to sew and create what was not available. Mixing the two cultures came naturally and this influenced the career choice I made. Now I have the same dilemmas with my daughters who are second generation Muslims also born and educated in Britain who want to shop ‘labels’ just like their Western friends it is difficult is to buy affordable clothing especially Special Occasion Wear for events like ‘school proms’ that comply with their religious beliefs and the Western culture they have been brought up in.