Sun, Feb 19, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Jeans tailor-made to fit Muslim needs hit European market

DPA , UDINE, ITALY

Europe's practicing Muslims have finally found their fit: An Italian clothes firm is producing jeans that are tailor-made for the Islamic world.

The trousers, licensed by an Udine-based firm named Al Quds, are the brainchild of Luca Corradi, an Italian stylist.

"I couldn't help noticing that Muslims bend down to pray several times a day. This movement is not very common in our culture," Corradi told reporters last week.

Higher waist

Corradi realized that Muslims would find Western jeans uncomfortable. So he came up with trousers that are less tight and have a higher waist.

Because Muslims usually take off their watches, glasses and other personal objects during prayer, he also designed larger pockets.

Finally, the seams are made in green -- a sacred color in the Islamic world -- while the shabby look so popular in Western Europe is snubbed.

On Italy's shelves as from last week, the jeans cost 18 euros (US$21).

Because they are being sold by a major French supermarket chain, they should soon find a distribution channel in other European countries as well.

But Al Quds, which is the Arab name for Jerusalem, has also set its sights on the Middle East.

"Our stylist is looking for some help among his Arab colleagues. We hope they will help us start producing a wider range of trousers in the not so distant future," Cavalli said.

Strictly commercial

Asked about the current controversy which surrounds the publication by Western newspapers of cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed, Cavalli said that the Al Quds initiative was "primarily commercial, rather than political."

However, she said that it was time to put an end to the traditional association between jeans and the US.

"Not many people know that jeans were first invented in the Italian city of Genoa, some 200 years ago," Cavalli said.

The jeans should find plenty of buyers among Italy's 700,000 Muslims.

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