Jakarta. Syar'i Community Indonesia or SCI, a community for syar'i, or sharia-compliant, modest wear designers and brand owners, was officially launched at the Grand Mahakam Hotel in South Jakarta on Wednesday (22/02).
Founded in December 2016, SCI supports Muslimwear designers whose clothes are sharia-compliant: mostly loose-fitting and non-revealing long dresses with hijabs that drop down below the chest.
Celebrity designers such as Tiara Syafrudin, Cindy Fatikasari, Oki Setiana Dewi, Peggy Melati Sukma, Terry Putri and Rizty Tagor have all joined SCI, which now has 30 members.
"We've only been running for 5 months but there's great enthusiasm among the members," Tiara, the co-founder and head of SCI, said at the press conference.
SCI has three goals for its programs: economic collaboration, social contribution and dakwah [proselytizing].
SCI supports each member's business by streamlining their marketing. Instead of having to maintain their own online shops, designers are provided with a one-stop marketplace, www.syariku.com.
A brick-and-mortar store will soon open in South Jakarta as well.
SCI is also a forum where members can exchange design ideas instead of getting competitive with each other.
"This is not 'business as usual,' as they say. This is different. We're a sisterhood," Peggy said.
SCI also contributes to the community through a series of charity programs. A collaboration with Peggy's non-profit group Urban Syiar Project has already opened four Koran-learning centers.
SCI members are currently raising more fund for a fifth center that will be built in Pidie Jaya, Aceh, an area that was struck by an earthquake in December last year.
SCI is also aiming to promote syar'i hijabs to more Indonesian women, especially those in remote areas who may have less access to Islamic teaching. For these women, SCI members plan a reachout program to give away 1000 free hijabs.
Trends and challenges
Oki, a designer and also a preacher, said syar'i Muslim fashion started gaining attention in 2010. Once considered strange due to its shapelessness and zealous covering of the woman body, syar'i fashion has now become the new normal.
However, designing syar'i clothes has proven to be quite a challenge.
"We're trying to design outfits that don't swallow you up under too many layers. Most [Muslim] women want clothes that don't accentuate their body shape but don't look too big on them either. To get around this dilemma, we use light, airy fabric that doesn't make you feel hot or sweat easily," Oki said.
She said another current syar'i trend is to use chiffon fabric in pastel colors.
A fashion show following the press conference — showing collections from 30 brands — featured similar styles in soft, calming shades with minimalist ornaments to stress modesty. Highlights were mostly ruffles, floral prints and ornaments, and pleats.