London: A fashion magazine, which has been created for fashion-conscious Muslim women wearing headscarves, is proving that when it comes to Turkey, they don’t need bikinis, breasts and legs to sell issues.
Outraged when he saw photos of transsexuals in a magazine, devout Muslim Ibrahim Burak Birer, 31, decided to create a magazine in Istanbul that would contest the “diktat of nudity”.
With his friend Mehmet Volkan Atay, 32, he created Ala, a magazine described as the avant-garde of “veiled’” fashion.
Ala, which is Turkish for “the most beautiful of the beautiful”, only shows models in headscarves and will only advertise clothing conforming to Islamic customs.
“Cosmopolitan, Elle, Vogue, Marie Claire, it’s all about sex and naked skin,” the Daily Mail quoted Birer as saying.
“The motto is that sex sells. But we, and millions of women around the world, believe that fashion can also be different,” he said.
Despite having only six issues under their belt, the magazine has been so successful that they have needed to increase circulation multiple times.
The magazine now has a circulation of 30,000 with some 5,000 subscriptions being sent abroad.
“We had no experience with magazines before that. We’re marketing people,” Atay told SpiegelOnline.
“We specialised in recognising market niches,” he said.
1,500 of the subscriptions are sent to Germany alone where the magazine has a big following amongst devout Turkish migrants.
As a result, entrepreneurial Birer and Atay said they could definitely foresee coming out with a German Ala in the future.
According to Birer, the magazine is not just a Muslim product, it would be marketed to all females since the “battle against nudity” is important to all women.
Selling for 9 lira, 3.20 pounds, it has been described as “the Vogue of the veiled” by German magazine Radikal.
The duos have found a product for an increasingly prevalent part of Muslim society – the educated, fashion-focused woman with disposable income who still believes in wearing the veil.
However, the men have faced objections from their own camp with one theologian complaining that women should be submissively behind rather than putting themselves forward.
“That’s not our understanding of Islam,” Atay said.
“We don’t believe that women should hide themselves. Even the veiled have a right to stylish fashion,” he added.