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Turbans: Egyptian women adopt once male-dominated head wear

Ahram Online looks into the trend for turbans among young Egyptian women

Ingy Deif, Thursday 11 Sep 2014
Fresh take on the classic turban

Do you think of turbans as traditional head wear worn by men, mainly sheikhs and religious scholars? Think again!

Now times have changed, and turbans are very trendy head wear for upper class women in Egypt.

Heba Shedeed, a 19-year-old student at the American University in Cairo, says that her choice of turban comes from a certain muse. “Hundreds of Arab girls, not only in Egypt, are followers of the instagram accounts of famous young turban-wearing fashion bloggers, like Farah Emara or Ascia, whom we consider real fashionistas, presenting themselves with an ever changing bold style, dominated by the 'turban look'. These were my inspiration."

Photo: Ascia fashion blog
Photo: Ascia fashion blog

Photo: Ascia fashion blog

For Salma El-Garhy, an arts student, her choice of the turban look comes purely for comfort reasons. "Although I always associated turbans with older women rather than girls of my age, the hot weather dominating almost all year long makes the turbans as a headscarf, a perfect, more relaxed choice," she says.

"The stylish headscarf has taken many turns in the past years, with girls moving from one look to another. Tying a turban is simple. Basically it is the normal rectangular or square shaped headscarf that is pulled from behind the neck, across the two sides of the head, before winding the ends right above the temple," says Samia Sharbatly, a stylist and owner of a chain of scarf shops in Cairo.

Nevertheless, she says that most girls now buy the ready-made pieces, whose sales have doubled through the past summer season."They have been flying off the shelves." Sharbatly adds that for the optimum stylish look, a turban should be teamed up with statement big-framed sunglasses and "a shot of bold lipstick," which gives the look a vintage Hollywood elegance.

Photo: Farah Emara fashion blog
Photo: Farah Emara fashion blog


"Indeed women are prone to change trends and try new looks, but it is notable that throughout the past decade many "hijab trends" were invented by Egyptian women from the upper echelons of society to differentiate their style from other social categories," Dr Rages El-Khafif, consultant in psychology, tells Ahram Online. "What happens is that a trend starts, it becomes a fashion staple amongst young veiled upper class girls, and just as the tend spreads out and catche momentum grows among a broader spectrum of girls, a newer one surfaces. We have seen that with the Spanish head band, the back-neck scarf, and the same thing will occur with the turban trend, its interesting."

According to a statistic announced by the Egyptian Cabinet Information Centre in 2010, the headscarf is worn by more than 80 percent of women in Egypt. It is worn for religious, social and economic reasons.



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