Catering to Dublin’s religious diversity
By Barbara McCarthy
Dublin, Ireland- The weeks leading up to the festival of Eid al-Adha are busy for Khamar Khamar and her husband Mohammed Naseer. The owners of “Libaas Asian Boutique” in the heart of Dublin have to stock up to ensure their clients have a varied choice of clothing and accessories for the annual celebration.
“We import our clothing from Pakistan and India to cater mostly for the Asian market. Clients come from all around Ireland and Northern Ireland to buy their traditional Eid items here. Most of these will originally come from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and India obviously. Muslims from North Africa and the Middle East have different dress styles so they will get their outfits elsewhere,” Khamar says.
There is no one style people have to adhere to for Eid. Some women buy things on the high street and add some sequins, flowers or a glittery clutch, a long skirt or a dressy abaya cloak, or a sharara, she explains.
“Traditional fashion has very much merged with global fashion, so you can also wear a long skirt and something not from a bespoke shop or accessorised hijabs, which we also sell here,” she says.
As the most auspicious occasion of the year for Muslims, the clothes and jewelry selected for Eid reflect the celebratory mood of the occasion. “The custom is that people buy a brand new outfit every year. It’s quite the fashion event and everyone, no matter what part of the world they are from, will make a big deal out of dressing up.”
The couple, who have five children, have been running their boutique since moving to Ireland from Hyderabad in southern India in 2005. They sell around 350 items around Eid time, though some Irish people also buy the outfits for Halloween or Bollywood parties. Prices for items start at $45 and go up to $350.
“Business has grown a lot since we first moved here,” Mohammed says. “Lots more people have moved to Ireland from Muslim and Hindu countries. We also have clothes here for Hindus and Sheiks and cater for their religious festivals. Currently there is a lady in the shop who is buying clothing for the Diwali Hindu festival, the biggest Hindu festival in the world,” he adds.
For the couple and their children, Eid is about family, friends, prayer and sacrifice. Even the children will be wearing traditional items. Mohammed will be wearing a kurta pyjama, a traditional men’s garment with some beading.
The kurta is traditionally worn in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
“The straight cut kurta is a loose shirt, like the one I am wearing and it goes just above the knee. I’m not sure, which one I will wear – I will decide on the day,” he adds.