Scarf Tying, Artizara Style

Here is the scoop on how our models tied their scarves:

The scarves that are worn “turban style” (Leyla Jacket) are tied as follows:

1. Place the scarf on your head with ends draped equally on both sides 2. Cross the ends of the scarf behind your head at the nape of you neck and pull fairly tight
3. Bring up the ends of the scarf above your head and tie in a knot on top of your head and slightly to the side.
4. Fluff the ends of the knot into a bow

The scarves that are worn “hijab style” (Rima Shirt) are draped as follows:

Start with a longer scarf (at least 20x 70 inches)

1. Place the scarf on your head with ends draped equally on both sides 2. Cross the ends of the scarf behind your head at the nape of you neck and knot fairly tight, leaving your earlobes visible (this allows you to wear earrings, if you wish)
3. Bring the corners of the scarf forward over each shoulder and cross to the opposite side of the head (left scarf corner to right side of head and right scarf corner to left side) and then lift to the rear top of your head. Secure both corners at the rear top of your head with a pin. One corner of each short edge of the scarf will be free to cover the knotted scarf at the nape of your neck.

Hope this helps!

Stay Tuned for the Spring Summer Collection!

We’re excited!

Our Spring Summer Collection begins its debut this March, and we hope you’lll love it as much as we do!

This season’s collection is all about easy fabrics, soft and feminine silhouettes and lots of fresh color. Coordinated scarves have been designed with every piece, and we’ve put together many ensembles, for those of you who’d rather not spend time putting together that “put together” look! We design each piece with the goal that it should never hang in your closet; you should get lots and lots of wear out of it, dress it up or down, wear it for work and play, at home or at a night on the town.

Don’t forget to check out the new jewelry line! These are not just baubles, but inspirational pieces. From far off places like Turkey, Egypt and Pakistan, this is jewelry making in traditions many hundreds of years old. Many pieces have engraving and calligraphy and make meaningful and cherished gifts for that special occasion or that special someone.

Any questions, comments, special requests…call us! We are here 9:00 to 6:00 Pacific Time and will help you in any way that we can. We promise to delight you with our friendly service :)

Site Enhancements at Artizara!

Hello all!

Lots has been happening at Artizara!

So caught up have we been in all the new happenings, we clear forgot to keep you folks posted on them :)

We hope you like the new look, feel and navigation of our store. We recently upgraded to a new more robust and more secure e-commerce platform…which is a fancy way of saying that the shopping experience should be smoother and safer for you all. We also added Hacker Safe Certification, which scans the site daily and identifies any security threats. Research indicates sites remotely scanned for known vulnerabilities on a daily basis, such as those earning HACKER SAFE certification, can prevent over 99% of hacker crime. So you can rest easy when shopping at Artizara!

We would love to get your feedback on the new layout of the store, so drop us a line or pick up the phone! We’re listening..

Artizara at ISNA, Chicago 8/31/07-9/03/07

Artizara will be exhibiting at the Islamic Society of North America Convention in Chicago from 8/31-9/3/07.
This year we will be in booths 1618 & 1719, with brand new fashions and a fabulous new line of Islamic jewelry in Sterling Silver set with semi precious stones.

Artizara e-mail subscribers take 10% off you entire order at ISNA (no minimum, one per customer). Mention Coupon Code ISNALIST when you visit our booth.

Don’t Miss It!

Calling Creative Spirits: Design the Artizara Fall/Holiday Collection

Salaams to you Creative Spirits out there….

We are in the middle of designing our Fall/Holiday Collection and need creative inspiration from YOU!

Have a favorite shirt that you look at and say “If ONLY this was full sleeve so I didn’t have to wear layers under…”

or a pretty skirt that “Would be perfect if it was a few inches longer”

Well, we are all ears!!

Tell us what styles, colors, fabrics, cuts, trims you want to see in the fall/holiday Artizara collection.

Is it tough to go Back-to-School shopping for your teens? What things are specially hard to find?

Eid is right around the corner …What do you want to wear? (and are there any styles you wouldn’t be caught dead in??!)

Let those creative juices flow and help us make your dream outfit a reality…..

Leave comments, send us pictures, whatever….

We are all ears!!

On Faith, Fashion and Finding Common Ground

We are pleased and excited that the work of Sarah Ansari, CEO, Artizara.com was selected to appear as part of the Imagining Ourselves online exhibit at the International Museum of Women (www.imow.org)

The work will be featured in the Image and Identity exhibit, under the subtheme of
Fashion Undercover, which launches 19 July, 2007.

We are counting on you to help us spread the word! Please tell all your friends
about the exhibit featuring our work; you can visit the exhibit at:
http://imaginingourselves.imow.org

It is only through your help that we can connect young women around the world in a conversation for positive change.

Islamic Clothing: The ISNA Experience

The year was 2004.

We had just launched our fledgling Islamic clothing venture, artizara.com, and decided to premiere it at ISNA (The Islamic Society of North America) convention in Chicago. Having never been to ISNA before (never even to another big convention, unless you call Eid Prayers a convention), we didn’t know quite what to expect. We stayed up all night packing and caught an early morning flight, with husband, two kids (aged 6 and 8 months) and ten huge suitcases full to bursting with specimens of our prized new Islamic clothing line.

We arrived at Chicago airport in the evening to a warm Midwestern welcome complete with flashing signs: “Chicago Welcomes Delegates of the Islamic Society of North America”.
“Wow, is this a great country or what! Welcoming 40,000 Muslim Americans with open arms to one of its finest cities, not long after the tragedy of 9-11.” Our hearts were filled with gratitude and pride. Little did we know that the ISNA convention had been taking place in Chicago for over FORTY years!

We rented a giant van, got lost, wandered around in downtown Chicago for a few hours, and finally got to the Convention Center. Boy, this place was colossal! Couldn’t figure out where exactly it started and where it ended. It.seemed to just go on forever!
Found our tiny 10×10 booth, nicely located adjacent to “Hair Back”, a company marketing a miracle cure for male baldness replete with large glossy posters plastered on all four walls, outlining the “treatment plan” .

We really took our time setting up our booth. Both of us are kind of big on decorating so our muslim clothing had to be displayed to the best advantage. The booth was embellished with silk greenery and floral carpeting. Sparkling beaded shawls were draped on the walls (thankfully obliterating “Hair Back”). The result was, well… like Asra’s living room: very cozy and very inviting!

Next came the task of displaying our Islamic clothing fashions to perfection. Long tunic tops were all the rage and we had designed a dozen in our first clothing collection. We had paired them with coordinating long skirts and long pants and finished them off with the perfect finishing touch – coordinating hijabs. And most prized of all were our Islamic evening gowns, complete with matching wraps; sort of a crossover between a Western gown and a jilbab.

Our fashions were hung up on the nicest hangers we could afford, all neatly arranged by color and size. Out came the steamer to iron away every last crease and wrinkle. The plume of steam from the contraption billowed up, up, up.. all the way to the ceiling. Pretty soon we had gathered a crowd!

Women of every description swarmed our booth, touching, feeling, rummaging through racks. With oohs and aahs all around, it was like a party!

We engaged everyone in conversation, asked questions, and made many new friends. The most inspiring to talk to were the new Muslim converts, sharing what motivated them about their new faith, while at the same time shopping for a new Muslim clothing wardrobe. We asked people what they liked (and did not like) in our clothing line and got great ideas from them on new clothing styles.

We also paid close attention to what people wore and got lots of creative inspiration from folks dressed in all manner of Islamic clothing, from every corner of the globe.

There were the Syrian and Jordanian ladies in western style skirt suits with coordinating hijab in stripes and florals. There were Moroccan and Algerian sisters in long traditional caftans called galabiyas and takshitas. Indonesian and Malaysian sisters came wearing tailored long tunic jackets called kebayas and and ankle skirts called sarongs. Chinese women came wearing elegant pant suits with beautiful Mandarin collar jackets. Nigerian sisters came in bold, colorful print robes and coordinating turbans. Pakistani sisters showed up in all varieties of salwar kameez, a knee length tunic and loose gathered pants. Indian sisters arrived in the traditional Indian sari modified with a modest blouse and the dramatic pallu (or decorated end of the sari) draped over their heads. And of course… the American sisters came in pretty loose tops and blue jeans.

What an uplifting experience to be surrounded by so many confident, exuberant women!

All different, all beautiful, all in their unique styles of Islamic clothing.

All upholding their common values of modesty

and all rejoicing in their great, shared faith

Islam.

Arizara Exhibition Schedule 2007

Artizara will be exhibiting at the following events in 2007:

1. APPNA (Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America) 30th Annual Summer Convention
Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, 9939 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, Florida 3219
Thursday, June 28th- Sunday, July 1st, 2007

2. 3rd Annual Muslim Women’s Conference & International Bazaar
Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel, 5711 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90045
Friday, July 13- Sunday, July 15, 2007

4. 44th Annual ISNA Convention
Theme: Upholding Faith, Serving Humanity
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
5555 N. River Road
Rosemont, IL 60018
Friday, August 31- Monday, September 3, 2007

For further information contact Artizara.com toll free at 1.866.ARTIZARA (858.449.4810)

Artizara Supports NISWA, Los Angeles based Social Welfare Organization

NISWA (www.niswa.org) was established in 1990 as a nonprofit organization to address the welfare needs of the Muslim community. NISWA’s mission is to preserve and strengthen Muslim families, protect the rights of Muslim children, prevent domestic violence, and increase the awareness of family laws and environmental pressures that impinge on the family. The organization runs a shelter for abused women and their children, provides foster care services for children, and also counseling, advocacy and educational services to the community in the greater Los Angeles Area.

Each year NISWA hosts a “Women’s Appreciation Day” , a very popular, ladies-only event featuring complimentary beauty treatments, fashion shows, a bazaar and a host of other fun activities put together entirely by volunteers. This event is open to the public and donations are tax deductible. Artizara has been privileged to support NISWA since 2003, and donates both employee time and a portion of its sales to NISWA during the “Women’s Appreciation Day”.

This year the dates of the “Women’s Appreciation Day” are:

Northridge, CA Sunday, April 22, 2007
El Cajon, CA Sunday, April 29, 2007

At the El Cajon fundraiser Artizara will preview its Spring/Summer 2007 line with a colorful fashion show featuring over 3 dozen new styles. For more information or to attend these or future events call 1.866.ARTIZARA (858.449.4810) or email service@artizara.com.

Artizara in the New York Times April 5, 2007

Artizara was featured in a New York Times article April 5, 2007

Fashion & Style
We, Myself and I
By RUTH LA FERLA
Published: April 5, 2007
The demands of faith, family and Western culture test the fashion identities of Muslim women in the United States.We, Myself and I

FOR Aysha Hussain, getting dressed each day is a fraught negotiation. Ms. Hussain, a 24-year-old magazine writer in New York, is devoted to her pipe-stem Levi’s and determined to incorporate their brash modernity into her wardrobe while adhering to the tenets of her Muslim faith. “It’s still a struggle,” Ms. Hussain, a Pakistani-American, confided. “But I don’t think it’s impossible.”

Stephanie Keith for The New York Times
CULTURAL CROSSROAD Aysha Hussain, left, who tries to maintain a modern flavor in her daily attire, goes shopping for clothing in Astoria, Queens.

William Mebane for The New York Times
STYLE GUIDES Fatima Fazal, left, and Tam Naveed offer different takes on layering.
Ms. Hussain has worked out an artful compromise, concealing her curves under a mustard-tone cropped jacket and a tank top that is long enough to cover her hips.
Some of her Muslim sisters follow a more conservative path. Leena al-Arian, a graduate student at the University of Chicago, joined a women’s worship group last Saturday night. Her companions, who sat cross-legged on prayer mats in a cramped apartment in the Hyde Park neighborhood, were variously garbed in beaded tunics, harem-style trousers, gauzy veils and colorful pashminas. Ms. Arian herself wore a loose-fitting turquoise tunic over fluid jeans. She covered her hair, neck and shoulders with a brightly patterned hijab, the head scarf that is emblematic of the Islamic call to modesty.
Like many of her contemporaries who come from diverse social and cultural backgrounds and nations, Ms. Arian has devised a strategy to reconcile her faith with the dictates of fashion — a challenge by turns stimulating and frustrating and, for some of her peers, a constant point of tension.
Injecting fashion into a traditional Muslim wardrobe is “walking a fine line,” said Dilshad D. Ali, the Islam editor of Beliefnet.com, a Web site for spiritual seekers. A flash point for controversy is the hijab, which is viewed by some as a politically charged symbol of radical Islam and of female subjugation that invites reactions from curiosity to outright hostility.
In purely aesthetic terms, the devout must work to evolve a style that is attractive but not provocative, demure but not dour — friendly to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
“Some young women follow the letter of the rule,” Ms. Ali observed. Others are more flexible. “Maybe their shirts are tight. Maybe the scarf is not really covering their chest, and older Muslim women’s tongues will wag.”
The search for balance makes getting dressed “a really intentional, mindful event in our lives every day,” said Asra Nomani, the outspoken author of “Standing Alone in Mecca: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam” (HarperSanFrancisco, 2005). Clothing is all the more significant, Ms. Nomani said, because what a Muslim woman chooses to wear “is a critical part of her identity.”
Many younger women seek proactively to shape that identity, adopting the hijab without pressure from family or friends, or from the Koran, which does not mandate covering the head.
“Family pressure is the exception, not the rule,” said Ausma Khan, the editor of Muslim Girl, a new magazine aimed at young women who, when it come to dress, “make their own personal choice.”
The decision can be difficult. Today few retailers cater to a growing American Muslim population that is variously estimated to be in the range of three to seven million. “Looking for clothes that are covering can be a real challenge when you go to a typical store,” Ms. Khan said.
Only a couple of years ago, Nordstrom conducted a fashion seminar at the Tysons Corner Center mall in McLean, Va., a magnet for affluent Muslim women in suburban Washington. The store sought to entice them with a profusion of head scarves, patterned blouses and subdued tailored pieces, but for the most part missed the nuances, said shoppers who attended the event. They were shown calf-length skirts and short-sleeve jackets of a type prohibited for the orthodox, who cover their legs and arms entirely.
“For me the biggest struggle is to find clothes in the department stores,” said Ms. Arian, who has worn the hijab since she was 13. She scours the Web and stores like Bebe, Zara, Express and H & M for skirts long enough to meet her standards. The majority, gathered through the hips, are “not very flattering on women with curves,” she said, chuckling ruefully, “and a lot of Middle Eastern women have curves.”
Maryah Qureshi, a graduate student in Chicago, has a similarly tricky time navigating conventional stores. “When we do find a sister-friendly item,” she said, “we tend to buy it in every color.”
Tam Naveed, a young freelance writer in New York, has devised an urbane uniform, tweed pants, a long-sleeve shirt and a snugly fastened scarf that dramatically sets off her features.
Ms. Nomani, the author, improvises her own head covering by wearing a hoodie or a baseball cap to mosque. “I call it ghetto hijab,” she said tartly. For everyday, she buys shirtdresses at the Gap. “They cover your backside, but they’re still the Gap. That kind of gives you a visa between the two worlds.”

Courtesy Muslim Girl magazine
A magazine layout offers ways to style the hijab.

Courtesy Muslim Girl magazine

Laura Pedrick for The New York Times
Brooke Samad, a designer who focuses on clothes for Muslim women, shows off a pink chiffon hip-tie skirt.
In its fashion pages, Muslim Girl addresses concerns about fashion by encouraging young readers to mix and match current designs from a variety of sources, and reinforces the message that religion and fashion need not be mutually exclusive.
“We are trying to keep our finger on the pulse of what women want,” Ms. Khan said. Fashion pages, shown alongside columns offering romantic advice and articles on saving the environment, are among the more popular for the magazine’s teenage readers, she said, adding that the magazine’s circulation of 50,000 is expected to double next year.
Aspiring style-setters also find inspiration on retail Web sites like Artizara.com, which offers a high-neck white lace shirtdress and a sleeveless wrap jumper; and thehijabshop.com, with its elasticized hijabs, which can be slipped over the head.
Some women seek out fashions from a handful of designers who cater to them. “I think people like me are starting to see that Muslim women make up a significant market and are expressing their entrepreneurial spirit,” said Brooke Samad, a 28-year-old Muslim woman who designs kimono-sleeve wrap coats and floor-length interpretations of the pencil skirt out of a guest room in her home in Highland Hills, N.J.
“We follow trends, but we do keep to our guidelines,” said Ms. Samad, whose label is called Marabo. “And we’re careful with the fabrics to make sure they aren’t too clingy.”
Today fashion itself is more in tune with the values of Islam, revealing styles having given way to a relatively modest layered look. Elena Kovyrzina, the creative director of Muslim Girl, pointed to of-the-moment runway designs, any one of which might be appropriate for the magazine’s fashion pages: a voluminous Ungaro blouse with a high neck and full, flowing sleeves; a billowing Marni coat discreetly belted at the waist; and a Prada satin turban. Among the more free-spirited looks Ms. Kovyrzina singled out was a DKNY long-sleeve shirt and man-tailored trousers, topped with a hair-concealing baseball cap.
There are Muslim women who choose to cover as part of a journey of self-discovery. In “Infidel” (Free Press, 2007), her memoir of rebellion, Ayaan Hirsi Ali recalls as a girl wearing a concealing long black robe. “It had a thrill to it,” Ms. Hirsi Ali writes, “a sensuous feeling. It made me feel powerful: underneath this screen lay a previously unsuspected but potentially lethal femininity. I was unique.”
But adopting the hijab also invites adversity. A survey by the Council on American-Islamic Relations last year found that nearly half of Americans believe that Islam encourages the oppression of women. Referring to that survey, Ms. Hussain, the New York journalist, observed, “Many of these people think, ‘Oh, if a woman is covered, she must be oppressed.’ ”
Still, after 9/11, Ms. Hussain made a point of wearing the hijab. “Politically,” she said, “it lets people know you’re not trying to hide from them.”
Among the young, Ms. Nomani said, “there is a pressure to show your colors.”
“Young people aren’t empowered enough to change foreign policy,” she said, so they adopt a hybrid of modern and Muslim garb, which is “their way to say, ‘I’m Muslim and I’m proud.’ ”
Such bravado has its perils. Jenan Mohajir, a member of the prayer group near the University of Chicago, spoke with some bitterness about being waylaid as she traveled. Ms. Mohajir, who works with the Interfaith Youth Core, which promotes cooperation among religions, recalled an official at airport security telling her: “You might as well step aside. You have too many clothes on.”
What was she wearing? “Jeans, a tunic, sandals and a scarf.”
Ms. Hussain no longer covers her head but has adopted a look meant to play down misconceptions without compromising her piety. “Living in New York,” she said, “has made me want to experiment more with colors and in general to be more bold. I don’t want to scare people. I want them to say, ‘Wow!’ ”
She has noticed a like-minded tendency among her peers. “In the way that we present ourselves to the rest of the world, we are definitely lightening up.”

To read the complete story click here