JAKARTA, Aug 22, 2008 / FW/ — Unknown to many, Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, although officially it is not an Islamic state. (Indonesia is a republic.) So it is not surprising that Day 1 of Jakarta Fashion Week was dedicated to stylish Moslem women.

From the very beginning, fashion has always been free, bearing no allegiance to any government or any religion. It developed on its own. According to history, during the Middle Ages, when France and England were continuously at war with each other, the bearers of ‘fashion dolls’ (that was how new styles were disseminated during those days) are allowed to pass enemy lines in the name of fashion.

As the western world developed its style of dressing, so did the easterners. Religion of course influenced how people dress, and so did geography and climate.

In an era wherein geographical lines are blurred, thanks to mass communication and air travel, it is easy to forget for a westerner that ethnic and religion-dictate dressing still exist. Hence, it is refreshing to see these beautiful clothes on the runway that adheres to religious teachings while still making sure that the wearer looks chic.

Fashion is a free spirit, that is true, but it is also respectful of ones ethos and beliefs.

Photos by Lisa Maree Williams/

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