Athletic wear geared toward Muslim women

By Ashley Cook
November 3, 2006

Nike and are offering Muslim women culturally sensitive sportswear that can be worn in a way that remains true to their faith. These comfortable, sleek head coverings, known as “capsters,” were created by young Dutch designer Cindy van den Bremen, and come in a variety of styles that match different sports and activity looks including aerobics, outdoor, skate and tennis.

“If women, because of their religion, feel a need for more modest clothing, it’s wonderful that the market responds,” Shelly Beaser, history, said.

“There is a company that markets jeans for Islamic men; roomier cut so that they can keel while praying.”

Beaser added that Mormon women often have trouble finding clothing consistent with their religious views so she supports Nike’s decision to market Muslim sportswear for women.

“The idea is that your modesty in dress and behavior is a passport to public space,” Tayyibah Taylor, editor-in-chief of Azizah Magazine, said.

“It makes the statement that a Muslim woman’s body is not a part of the public conversation.”

Donating enough fabric for several hundred uniforms, Nike teamed up with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to develop sports attire for Somalian women in large refugee camps in Kenya.

Also, from locally produced fabrics, Nike taught a number of girls how to make the outfits themselves.

“Finding appropriate exercise wear is something that Muslim women have struggled with for years,” said Laila Al-Marayati, spokesperson for the Los Angeles,

Calif.-based Muslim Women’s League. Though the concept doesn’t bring much interest to most companies, van den Bremen and Nike hope that sports and other clothing brands will tap into new markets because of the emancipation of young Muslim women growing.

Capsters are priced from euro 20-25, and can be found for purchase at the company’s website

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Ashley Cook

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