It all started with a T-shirt bearing the slogan “I Love My Prophet.” That’s when a designer in Germany discovered a booming market for modern, urban clothes and accessories with a Muslim message. People from many different cultures are likely to agree: slippers are rather uncool. But in Styleislam’s fashion design office, everyone walks around in them.
Here, in the small German town of Witten in the middle of the industrial Ruhr region, chic clothes and accessories are designed for fashion-conscious but devout young Muslims. Styleislam was the brainchild of Melih Kesmen, a stocky man with a ponytail and goatee. “Here are a few examples of our designs, like one about the hijab – the headscarf,” he said, pulling a black handbag out of a cupboard in the company’s small stockroom. “Hijab, My Right, My Choice, My Life,” is written on the bag in big white letters. “If a woman wants to wear a headscarf, then she should be allowed to,” said Kesmen.
The motto on the bag could provoke hours of discussion, and so could plenty of other motifs on the entrepreneur’s shelves, such as baby bibs printed with the word “Minimuslim” or a call to prayer: “Salah, Always Get Connected.”