I remember enrolling for a boot camp session a few years back, and since it was outdoors and ‘mixed’, I was slightly paranoid of things slipping, particularly my hair loosening up with all the jumping and running around, but I wanted to give it a go. I had my hair tied first with a bonnet, then a bandana, and finally, my head scarf was pinned all around my head. Needless to say, that was my 1st and last boot camp session – if I wanted to be in the army, I would’ve enrolled in one, secondly, my hair started to come apart, I felt my hijaab loosen, so yes, panic ! I stopped to get myself situated, but with the sweat, the barking instructor in the background, it was all a bit too frustrating, and decided that day, yup I’m more of a Pilates chick!
I recently stumbled upon the brand ResportOn, that have specifically created and designed a hijaab to withstand heat and sweat. The hood has been designed to keep all the hair out of the face, and its high-tech material features micro-pores that actually dry up 14 times faster than cotton ! Wow! The fabric has a stretchable consistency so it helps to facilitate head movements faster and easier.
ResportOn, a Canadian company, has been extremely creative and innovative in their design by incorporating an internal pouch near the neck to help keep the hair away, and there is also a little opening at the back of the hijaab that helps you to adjust your hair! The designer Elham Seyed Javad, has really tried to develop a sports solution to all the hijaabi athletes out there by offering a sleek design that offers comfort and helps to sustain performance.
On the same note, Cindy van den Bremen, a product designer from the Netherlands, created Capsters, a brand that also offers active solutions for the athletic hijaabi. She was drawn into providing a design solution for Muslim women when she read an article about a young local Muslim girl that went to court to resolve the issue of being kicked out of gym class for wearing her headscarf.
Bremen says ” “Nothing helped and even though you can’t prohibit hijaab in Dutch law, the gym teacher could prohibit it for safety reasons. The girl was told to wear a swim cap and turtleneck instead.”
So according to Cindy’s interpretation of the whole situation, it wasn’t that that this young Muslim girl was covered, it was “how” she covered.
“As a designer I want to trigger the interest of others through my projects and give information, people otherwise might not be interested in. This way I can contribute to a better world and that’s what I think my duty, as a Contextual Designer should be”.
Although married to a Muslim, Bremen, didn’t know how the female Muslim community would react to a non Muslim and a non hijaabi designing a product based on their needs. To her surprise, Bremen, was welcomed with open arms. By continually involving her audience to try her designs and give constant feedback, Bremen, was able to get an extensive understanding of what was needed, and how to find a solution. Within a short time, she started to receive emails and feedback from hijaabi women in the States, all the way to Australia, and realized that this wasn’t just a Dutch issue, it was an issue that affected athletic Hijaabi’s worldwide.
Capsters, provides a 14 day return guarantee and also ships worldwide. The selection also includes a water-sports and casual collection. Its amazing that designers like Bremen try to incorporate social issues in their design perspective. Now, all we need is our own Muslimahs to start getting more involved in the design process to ease their fashion needs and issues.