Afghanistan’s homegrown burqa industry is facing a decline in demand, with fewer young women choosing to cover their faces.
Despite advances in women’s rights, Afghanistan remains a deeply conservative country and most women continue to wear the all-enveloping garment.
But tradesmen say times are changing in the capital, Kabul, with the demand for burqas declining among young women who are increasingly going to school and taking office jobs.
75 year old Haji Hussain has been dying fabrics for burqas for the last 40 years and has noticed the change.
He used to dye between 30 to 40 burqas per day during Taliban rule, but now only dyes a few garments on a good day.
“The reason is that now more people are going out with bare faces and fewer with burqas, it is out of fashion,” he explained.
China’s entry into the market in recent years has also changed the industry dramatically.
“Compared to the past, Chinese burqas are outselling homegrown burqas... Business is down compared to the past. In the past, we’d sell lots but now it’s much less,” said young burqa seller, Mohammad Ashraf...My advice: relocate to Cairo, Mo.