erhaps little did know that the person behind the swimming Capster worn by many Hijabi women is a woman called, Cindy van den Bremen. Cindy is Dutch, the story behind her interest in Hijab started when she had a Turkish boyfriend whose mother and sisters covered their heads, this was around the 1990s. According to Emma Tarlo which researched Breman in her book “Visibly Muslim”, Tarlo highlights that ‘Cindy became interested in what the hijab meant to the people who were actually wearing it’, this was amongst a big debate at that time in the Netherlands, which I think persist to this day about whether Muslim women are oppressed and are in need of Liberation. Back to Cindy’s story and how she started to be interested in Hijab, where during her BA research at college as a design student she wanted to address issues of social integration, she came up with the idea of the Capster for her final graduation project to solve the image problem of Hijab in Holland by thinking how she can re-design it to better fit within western context. Her teacher at college didn’t welcome her idea and were kind of dismissive, this was until a story broke out in the media about a Dutch girl who was prevented from wearing her hijab in gym class due to safety concerns, she used this case to back up her project on the grounds she is trying to solve a problem. This is when she started to focus more on sports, at first she made six prototypes for her sports hijab design in which four of them were developed, each captured a certain sport such as aerobics, tennis, skating, and golf, and she experimented with fabrics such as polyimide, polyester, all of this was for the purpose of showcasing it at her graduation show where she eventually succeeded in getting her degree.In 2008 Cindy launched a new range of Capsters:
- Casual model: includes a basic model with a slip on black cotton hijab with Valecro fastening.
- ‘Jeans’ model: which was in dark blue denim-look stretched cotton made for a more ‘cool’ look.
- Easy model: made from lightweight two-tone white and beige fabric.
Looking at this designer’s background, she is not a Muslim but belongs to liberal multicultural values, this can be observed when you login to her website where the homepage banner reads “Empathic Design & Cultural Diversity” followed by “Design Is The Ability To Empathize With Others”. However, what really caught my attention while visiting her Capsters website is the wide range of products Hijab wearing Muslim women can choose from to do sports, this includes; Outdoor sports, Swimming, Fitness, Running and playing Football.