Introducing Muslim Fashion to Ukraine

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"I was confident that decent Islamic clothing can participate and compete," said Kokalits. (IOL photo)
03/10/2008
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Olga Kokalits felt she was on a mission to introduce Islam to the Ukrainians when she decided to take part in a fashion show in the European state.

"I felt it was a duty," Kokalits, a Ukrainian Muslim revert, told IslamOnline.net on Friday, July 4.

With her Islamic-inspired apparels, Kokalits stole the limelight in the best fashion designer contest last week.

The 25-year-old presented a selection of ten different Islamic attires varying from wedding gowns to evening dress and sports outfits.

"I was concerned that Muslim clothes, which cover the whole body except for face and hands, will look odd and funny to an audience who are not familiar with such wearing."

But Kokalits' concerns vanished over the warm welcome from the audience and judges.

"I was surprised to see the audience showing great interest in my creations," she said.

"I was more pleased to see people rushing to purchase and order my designs."

Role Model

Kokalits' designs received praise from the judging committee with the Muslim designer qualifying for the finals.

She finally ranked third among the top 20 stylists.

"It was a source of pride to me to take part in the competition," said Kokalits, who embraced Islam four years ago.

"I was confident that decent Islamic clothing can participate and compete."

Ukrainian Muslim leaders extolled the Muslim stylist as a role model.

"Kokalits is a model of confident Muslim women who are determined to show Islam's face of modernity," Ismail Al-Kadi, President of the umbrella Federation of Social Organizations in Ukraine (Arraid), told IOL.

Kadi believes Kokalits sets an example with her experience.

"Her participation and success in this competition shows that Islam can be compatible with all aspects of life."

"We are always encouraging Muslims to integrate into the society in order to promote Islam as a religion of peace, coexistence and tolerance."

Ukraine is home to some two million Muslims making up 5% of the overall 46-million population.

On materials of IslamOnline.net

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