The earliest recorded instance of a scarf dates back to Ancient Egypt when Queen Nefertiti wore a fabric underneath an extravagant jewelled headpiece headdress, likely to protect her hair or head. To this day, scarves are used to keep warm or cool, to protect from the sun or rain. Middle Eastern men wear a scarf on their head and across their face for protection from the sun and to cover their faces from the dusty wind in the desert.
A scarf is also worn for religious, spiritual or cultural purposes. In Islam, women wear a hijab as a sign of respect and modesty. While Sikh men wear the dastar (turban) to symbolise their faith representing honour, self-respect, holiness, spirituality, and piety.
It was only in the nineteenth century that scarves truly emerged as a fashion accessory, with Queen Victoria ascending the throne and making silk scarves a symbol of luxury and wealth. Fashion houses began importing Chinese silk to be woven into luxurious pure silk square scarves with intricate patterns and rich colours.
“When I wear a silk scarf I never feel so definitely like a woman, a beautiful womanAudrey Hepburn
Silk scarves became a high fashion accessory in the 1950’s and were a hit among the royalty and celebrities. From Queen Elizabeth, to Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly – who famously fashioned a sling from a silk scarf when she broke her arm in 1956. Silk scarves infused looks with effortless glamour and class, we remember many of these iconic looks from this era today.
For Shakera, her hijab is an expression of her faith and is symbolic of modesty and respect for women. Beyond this meaning, the scarf allows Shakera to pursue her creative passions. Born into a family of dressmakers and trained in textile design, scarves are a canvas upon which Shakera can tell her story; from the colourful kaleidoscope of Indian city life, to the rustic display of her English countryside garden.
Whatever its meaning to the individual, Shakera recognises a scarf as a choice, a piece that makes the individual look more stylish, elegant and put together, for anyone, any size or colour, any occasion and any way it is worn.