Salaams sisters, I’m Shamma; a fashion blogger from Male’ (pronounced: /məːle/) the capital of Maldives and I would like to share with you about shopping for hijab friendly clothing in Male’.
I am an abaya wearer and I usually order my abayas online or get them sewn by local tailors. There are a wide range of fabrics available here in Male’ and most hijabis prefer to buy fabric and have their outfits stitched. There are many stores dealing with different kinds of fabrics, from denim to jersey to satin and cotton and a wide variety of hijab materials as well.
I visited the above store with a friend who wanted to get some fabric her to make some shirts for work. She said that there are many clothing stores that sell shirts but she rarely gets her size and most shirts have short/ elbow length sleeves which are not appropriate office wear for a hijabi. The materials are usually priced in half yards (which a measurement known as ‘Muh’ in the Maldivian language Dhivehi). Prices usually vary from $1 to $ 5 per half yard depending on the type and quality of the fabric. There are also richer fabrics with embroidery, lace/bead work with prices ranging from $20 to $50 per half yard. *
However there are a few shops that sell abayas as well. The abayas that are sold are all mostly black with colourful Indian embroidery and bead/mirror work done on them. Prices range from $25 to $50 for an abaya, depending on its material and embroidery.
One thing I love about shopping in Male’ is its abundance in shops that sell hijabs. There are many shops that deal in different types of hijabs (square, rectangular, wrap, bonnet, pashmina, slip on etc.) and therefore you get a large variety of hijabs to choose from a number of stores. The stores also usually deal in hijab pins/ brooches and caps/bands that you wear underneath your headscarves. Square hijabs are in more abundance and cheaper in the stores than the rectangular hijabs, prices range from $2 to $20 per hijab depending on the quality/embroidery etc. There are a wide range of printed hijabs available in shops as well. Rectangular hijabs are a bit more expensive with prices ranging from $5 to $12 per hijab.
Male’ also boasts of many stores and boutique shops dealing in readymade clothing of various designs and are in fact quite pricey. There is just one or two branded stores and most clothing stores/boutiques usually import clothes from nearby countries like Thailand, Srilanka and India. However the latest trends in clothing are easily available from most boutique shops that usually sell one piece items in clothing, accessories and shoes.
Maldivian hijabis usually wear jeans/pants and t-shirts, tunics or dresses with cardigans or body suits/tees underneath so stores usually have these types of clothes for sale, however if you look hard enough you might find a pretty skirt/maxi dress. There are a few shops that only specialize in accessories but accessories are usually sold in shops that sell clothing/fabric. Shoes and handbags are sold in separate shops that specialize in these products however you might stumble upon unique shoe and handbag finds in boutique shops as well.
Shoes and accessories are quite pricey in boutique shops and somewhat reasonable in the bigger ‘sale’ stores. Prices range from $14 to $50 or higher depending on the quality / brand of the item.
Clothes are also cheaper in the larger ‘sale’ stores than in boutiques. Prices range from $ 25 and higher depending on the quality and brand of clothing. Though there is a possibility of finding cheaper deals in shops now and then.
I’d like to see clothing stores in Male’ especially for hijabis with pieces from Muslim clothing companies and Islamic clothing designers. I hope I’d see a store like that from Male’ someday!
I hope you liked my article. Feel free to comment and ask me anything more about shopping in Male’, I’ll try to answer your questions to the best of my ability.
I’d like to thank Shaha from lil fashion diary and my friends for going with me on window shopping expeditions to help me write this article. Thank you girls!
*note: 1 Maldivian Ruffiya is equivalent to $0.08