Art And Culture

Minnesota Muslim Girls Design Functional Sportswear

Minnesota Muslim Girls Design Functional SportswearMinnesota Muslim Girls Design Functional Sportswear

Muslim girls living in Minnesota have designed their own culturally sensitive sportswear that lets them move freely without worrying about tripping on a long, flowing dress or having a head scarf come undone at a crucial point.

“The girls for years have been telling us, ‘We would like clothing. We would like clothing,’” said Chelsey Thul, a lecturer in kinesiology at the University of Minnesota in the US, who helped lead the two-year project, reports AP.

Sertac Sehlikoglu, a social anthropologist working on leisure, sports and the Muslim communities at the University of Cambridge, noted that Iran has been developing culturally appropriate female sportswear for years. She agreed with the Minnesota project’s organizers that the girls’ designs could catch on in other cities with large Muslim populations.

The uniforms’ roots stretch back to 2008 when then-college student Fatimah Hussein founded a girls-only sports league and began claiming gym time at a community center in the heart of Minneapolis’ Somali neighborhood.

The girls quickly learned that traditional dress and basketball don’t mix, said Thul, who was a volunteer research consultant to the program.

The answer, Thul said, was a functional yet modest uniform.

She worked with Hussein, girls from her sports league, the University of Minnesota’s College of Design, the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the university, coaches and community members on the project. Starting in 2013, the girls attended female sporting events to see how uniforms worked. University designers helped them get their ideas on paper.