“It doesn’t matter which international brand it is, I can stitch the exact same design in no time,” boasts Master Sahib, a tailor. “You don’t have to go for fancy names which may cost you an arm and a leg. I can copy the same design at an affordable rate.”

The proof of his claim was the number of ladies present at the shop, each with a wish list of designs and patterns for their veils and abayas. Says a woman dressed in a head to toe hijab, “The minimum number of veils that we need is two to three. I prefer the simple black ones, but sometimes one does have to go for fancy stuff, especially for weddings. The simple ones are not very expensive, and cost you around Rs1,500 to 2,000, but a wedding abaya can cost up to Rs10,000—maybe more depending on how fancy you want it.”

One look at a shop that sells abayaas and various other forms of hijab, and the difference between simple and decorated hijab becomes obvious. “Of course, they are different,” says the tailor. “The simple ones are of two types: front-open with either a zipper or buttons going all the way down the entire length of the coat. The other one is called double-breast which has minimum embroidery and is supported by either a ribbon or belt. The fashionable ones are mostly used for weddings and are embellished with embroidery, thread-work, laces and even stones,” he explains.—T.S.

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