If you type “Muslim women” in Google, all you can find are images of women draped in black clothes. It’s like black is the new black over and over again. The Muslim women who love to wear colors and patterns just don’t make the stereotypical grade. Because, most of the people believe that women of my faith are not fashion conscious. Most people believe that black is the only color Muslim women can wear, which is not true at all. Wearing black is not even a religious requirement in Islam, it’s just that many women prefer wearing black to avoid the attention that is prevalent in some countries. If you ask me, I’m myself a fashion lover. I’m a woman who tries to dress modestly and keep the fact in mind that I am carrying myself according to the latest fashion trends. For Muslim women like me, the basics of modest dress is that we choose not to show our body and hence we wear full sleeve tops and pants or skirts that are not clingy and does not reveal shape of our body, specially when we are outside or in front of men we are not related to. In the case of an all-ladies gathering, we can wear whatever we want and even go wild!
International brands introducing modest fashion:
Last Ramadan, Dolce & Gabbana launched a range of luxury hijabs and abayas [long loose robe-like dresses], made from the same fabrics as the rest of its collection, which gathered praised from many other fashion designers. Labels such as DKNY, Oscar de la Renta, Tommy Hilfiger, Mango and Monique Lhuillier have produced one-off collections featuring flowing gowns and wide-leg trousers to coincide with the celebrations of Eid and Ramadan. And it’s not just high-end labels. Uniqlo teamed up with Mipster (Muslim hipster) and Brit-Japanese fashion designer Hana Tajima also launched their Life-Wear collection including “breezy dresses” and “iconic hijabs”.
Now we all can dress fashionably while keeping our modesty intact and create a wardrobe that is a dream of every fashionista. “With the growing presence and influence of the young Muslim demographic, who are proud to uphold faith values in clothing, I don’t think it’s any coincidence that we’ve seen the proliferation of pashminas, scarves, maxi dresses and even Islamic geometric patterns in designer and high street collections,” says Shelina Janmohamed, vice president of Islamic branding agency Ogilvy Noor. “We’ve already seen the industry welcoming in Muslim fashion talent, whether that’s Muslim American designers at New York Fashion Week, British Muslim designers at London Fashion Week or Indonesian designers in Milan. Muslim fashion is undoubtedly one of the biggest trends to come, not as a replacement but as an addition to current ranges and fashion events”.
Who doesn’t know Amena from her videos in YouTube? She’s also the owner of the shop named Pearl daisy which sells modest wears. Other YouTubers like Habiba Da Silva, Ruba Zai and Dina Torkia have over a million subscribers and are quite popular when it comes to hijab tutorials, the appropriate makeup with the hijab and modest dresses. They all have taken the challenge to combine modesty with style and all have played a significant role in the modesty revolution. “I think of dressing smartly as a way to represent myself and my religion,” said Dina Torkia. “I don’t understand why you can’t be interested in fashion and be a Muslim.” Amena is a true inspiration for many Muslim women in the world. This fact is proved by her millions of followers in Facebook and Instagram. She changed the definition of a Muslim women when she became one of the brand ambassadors of the True match foundation by L’Oréal. In a world, which is filled with Islamophobia and xenophobia, these women encouraged all other women to not to stop being brave and inspired them to wear the hijab proudly even amongst a crowd of people who hate “covered women”.
Muslim models – modestly beautiful:
Mariah Idrissi, who last September featured in an H&M advertising campaign (the first time the brand had used a Muslim model in a hijab), shook up the fashion scene. The 23-year-old Londoner who aspires to create a “bridge between modesty and fashion” stars in a 30-second video, alongside a boxer with a prosthetic leg, a man in drag, and a guy wearing socks with sandals – all united under the maxim: “There are no rules in fashion.” Mariah reported that many Muslim women sent her best wishes for her future work and also thanked her for presenting the Muslim women to the world in such a way that it shows how normal, ordinary a Muslim women is, just like another women of any other faith. Mariah believes in changing the perception of the world about Muslim women and increase the respect towards Islam and individual culture and beliefs just like the way other cultures are respected.
So, it’s an exciting time in the fashion industry as the spotlight is on modest wears and on Muslim models. Even the international market is moving its eyes towards the modest fashion industry as Muslim women are like: “take my money and give me some designer clothes!” Brands, both high end and high street are reaching out to Muslim women and surely, we all are loving this “modesty movement”.
This article is written by Tashfeea Islam.