Moving to Saint John in New Brunswick, in Canada’s east coast less than a year ago, Hebatalla Mohamed noticed that options were very limited to Muslim women looking for suitable clothes.
“As Arabian women, we face a lot of problems and the biggest one is our style,” Mohamed, from Saudi Arabia, told CBC.
“We find it difficult to get our style here … that’s why we were thinking of opening this store.”
Therefore, she found it was the right time to take action and change the facts on the ground.
In cooperation with her business partner Lamis Hijazi, Mohamed opened their store Women’s Zone on Tuesday, July 16.
When the two partners met, Hijazi had already been in talks with her brother in Turkey about having him supply clothes for a business in Canada after noticing the problem with supply.
“I sought to import the clothes because my community, my friend they want this style,” she said.
The store does not only offer clothes. It also has a playroom for children and Mohamed said Women’s Zone seeks to fill a void in places where women can “communicate, socialize with each other.”
“We need a private place for women not only for our clothing,” Mohamed said. “Most women, especially in the morning, do nothing but stay home.”
The response from customers has been positive.
“We’re very happy to have this store,” said Hia Alaijel, who was in shopping today along with some other women.
“I have coffee now and I have rest,” she said. “And I have something to buy.”
According to Islamic Fashion & Design Council (IFDC), Muslims are expected to spend $322 billion on fashion in 2018. This figure is projected to grow as the Muslim population will expand to 2.2 billion by 2030.
Islam emphasizes the concept of decency and modesty. In many authentic Prophetic hadiths, it has been quoted that “modesty is part of faith”.
And the Islamic dress code is part of that overall teaching. The majority of Islamic scholars agree that modesty is mandatory for both Muslim men and women.
Islamic Shari`ah requires females to cover their bodies except for the face and the palms, while men are ordered to cover everything from the navel to the knees.