“I’ve come to understand how some garments have caused offence. It was the opposite of my intention and for that, I’m truly sorry.”
At least two designs at the Melbourne event on the weekend featured the script in Arabic saying: “God walks with me”.
Australian National Imams Council spokesman Bilal Rauf said the garments were disrespectful, noting the word Allah was used by people of multiple faiths.
“The use of certain words and symbols which carry a religious significance ought to be used with respect,” Rauf said.
“Sadly, there is an increasing incidence of sacred symbols and words being flippantly used. Allah, which means God in Arabic, is used by Arab-speaking Christians and Muslims around the world.
“It is unfitting for such a word to be used with discourtesy and disrespect as seemed to occur at the Melbourne Fashion Festival.”
Local model Mona Khalifa criticised the designs after attending Saturday night’s show and noticed the wording on the designs.
Khalifa published a two-minute video to her substantial social media audience after attending the closing runway, which also featured designs by Jason Grech and accessible-fashion brand JAM.
“I could not contain my anger. I could not put this off any further,” Khalifa said.
“Look how she [the model] is dressed. She is literally naked – she’s not even wearing a bra. It’s see-through, transparent, and they have ‘Allah’ [printed] all over the body].
“Honestly, there is a fine line between art and disrespect and this falls way, way, way over disrespect.”
Khalifa added that she saw no need for any designer to use such wording or symbols.
“There is no reason for anyone to put the word ‘Allah’ or anything Islamic on something like this,” Khalifa said.
“There is literally no reason. You could put any other Arabic phrase and I have seen some of the other work that I clicked on and it has other [Arabic] words – that is fine.
“But this is beyond disrespectful and my blood is boiling. I don’t know why designers even bother. Why would you do something like this? Shock value? I’m confused.”
Another model Tarik Junaid Asmat, who attended Saturday night’s show, also said the design was not appropriate.
“It is no secret that I grew up lovingly Muslim, so I have zero shame in sharing this – designers do better,” Asmat wrote on the story.
“To my Muslim brothers and sisters who witnessed this, I have you in my prayers. I’m not going to say anything else about this.”
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