Put religious discussion aside, there are trendings with regard to how muslim dressing code is changing in recent Xinjiang (China), Southeast Asia, and central Asia countries.
Atlas silk (wiki: IKAT) becomes particularly admired by Uighur young people in recent 3 years. Several independent Uighur designers have become well-known by their atlas dresses and other accessories made of atlas silk. These atlas silk made products are colourful and elegant. Nevertheless, these are not all the reasons that atlas silk become many young Uighurs’ favorite. The atlas silk trend is intertwined with such argument that ‘black hijab is not we Uighur people’s tradition, and Uighur people is such an ethnic group who love music and dancing, wearing colorful atlas silk made clothes and Doppa’. While there are a number of Uighur starting to wear hijab, many young Uighur generations, struggling to find their identities, turn to resort to Uighur ethnic culture and traditions.
According to tweets from the most popular social website in China, quite a few Uighur people consider wearing the traditional atals silk-made clothes make them feel a belonging to their Uighur ethnicity, while differentiating them from other Chinese, and also those Uighur individuals with conservative Islamic dress code.
It is also worth mention that a recent article Central Asia’s Controversial Fashion Statements published on the blog Qishloq Ovozi. The article pointed out that President of Tajikistan stated his displeasure towards several women wearing long black robes, regarded as ‘foreign’ Islamic. He added that such dressing code was not ‘keeping with Tajik culture and traditions’. Bruce Pannier also compared the situation in Uzbekistan where the state agency issued a directive that female performers not to wear ”half-naked’ at public events, and in Kyrgyzstan where there is a so-called small movement against western dressing code and a call for a return to more traditional dressing clothing for women in Kyrgyzstan. It is not surprising that all these criticism in terms of dressing point to Muslim females in these places. As B. Pannier stated that since 1991, all five Central Asian countries have been trying to find their national identities. The question needed to add here is why it takes them such a long time. One possible reason is that they conclude judgment based on wrong assumptions in relation to how other people in Islamic countries dress.
Muslim is not a race. Islam perceived differently in different regions. Uighur Muslims, especially who hold conservative opinion about Islam, could be surprised by the fact that Shila Amzah, a Malaysian winner of Asian Wave in Shanghai, turns out to be a Muslim who have been to Mecca. Uighur Muslims who have been to Mecca will tend to be more religious rather than secular. To British Muslims, perhaps the more surprising fact is females can actually sing in public( British Muslim fashion blogger Dina Torkia claimed that ‘singing in hijab in public just wouldn’t happen in England’ in the BBC documentary Muslim Beauty Pageant and Me).
Muslim females in southeast Asia could be fashionable while wearing hijab. David Robinson has a name for these fashion-conscious Muslim women, hijabster, in his article Southeast Asia Sees the Rise of Hijabster at Financial Times. According to D. Robinson, these hijabsters “typically sport bright colours, wear thick make-up and high heels, and are keen to show that they are modern, emancipated Muslims”. The FT researches show that in Indonesia, most of these females turn out to be better educated than the average, tend to be middle-income earners, typically tech-savvy smartphone owners and heavy users of social media. D. Robinson mentioned at the end that hijabsters with a high reputation are sponsored by retailers to model clothing.
Now the halal skincare products seem to make sense. Chances are that the aim of the retailers is forming a separate ‘halal market’ and make it a business. One thing is not clear is whether these hijabster do bring southeast Asia countries secularism.