The Muslim Vogue Event – Smart, Ethical, Fabulous! What more can a fashionista want?

The Islamic Finance and Ethics Society is a student led consortium committed to exploring alternative and ethical methods of finance and economics. The society is partnered across four universities – The London School of Economics, King’s College London, SOAS, and Cass Business School.

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Maleeha Masood, a member of the society and the main event organiser, put together the Muslim Vogue event  in an attempt to stir up the conversation about muslim fashion and sustainability. “Modest fashion industry is on the rise and I feel like issues regarding sustainability and ethics need to be discussed early on. To help the industry  flourish, it must be done in a way that is truly representative of Islamic principles and not just a rebranded version of the current market offerings of fast fashion.” She says smiling away as she effortlessly navigates through the venue, stopping here and there to double check things and addresses issues. A lady boss in the making if you ask me.

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The designers showcasing their brand were ethical and provided high quality products. They ranged from hand crafted shoes to  embroidered bags.

Needle Town (@needletwn), and yes you guessed it, hand embroidered items ranging from makeup bags to tote bags. The crafts-man-ship (or woman) was delicate and beautiful with islamic and cultural influences.

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Other designers were Juta Shoes (@jutashoes), leathery works of art for your feet. You can tell that so much love goes into making their shoes from the detailed crafting that goes into each stitch. Nakshi Creates (@nakshi.stich) a non profit grass-root initiative that empowers women of Bangladesh through intricacy of art in the form of hand embroidered scarves. They explain that the Nakshi is actually the name given to the traditional folk art embroidery.The urban cool fashion house Fringadine (@friingadine) were also featured along with there signature hat.

Just can't wait to get your hands on a pair of Juta Shoes? You don't have to – you can find us right now at the @thisbecause ethical store in Soho. Open now through 14 December, this pop-up ethical store is packed to the brim with good gifts – things that look good and do good. From beer made out of leftover bread to totes made from old bouncy castle, this bright orange shop will brighten up your day. If you live further East or prefer to do your shopping at night, you can find us at the @craftyfoxmarket on 8 December at the Museum of London, Docklands. We'll be there with a selection of shoes and slippers in leather, sheepskin, and more, perfect for Christmas presents – for others or yourself! . #wearethemakers #handmadechristmas #craftyfoxmarket #craftyfoxtraders #popup #londonpopup #buysocial #ethicalshopping #socent #buysocial #shopsmall

A photo posted by Juta Shoes (@jutashoes) on

The panel was chaired by Amena Amer, a PhD candidate at London School of Economics, where she studies in the department of psychology, an intelligent woman with truly thought provoking ideas. She introduced the panel members which consisted of; Alia Khan, chairwoman of Islamic Fashion and Design Council, Prof Reina Lewis, professor of cultural studies at London College of Fashion and author of “Muslim Fashion: Contemporary style Cultures”, Nafisa Bakkar, co-founder of Amaliah, and last but not least, Zinia, first islamic ethical designer in the UK.

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Alia Khan started by defining the world changing movement that is “Islamic fashion”, or like some prefer to call it, modest fashion. “Islamic fashion is the ultimate disruptive model, it came along and said we don’t compromise in our self respect and values, and yet, we are just as cool, elegant and trendy as anyone. We did fashion with our rules, and if you want in, you have to play by our rules. And they did”  This had already set the tone for the rest of the evening, from here on, the rest of the panel continued to define and explore the cultural explosion that is modest fashion from an economic point of view and its effects on mainstream fashion. To complement the discussion of identity and uniqueness, Nafisa stressed the importance of owning our fashion and representing ourselves culturally “We are still trying to figure out how our British identities co- exist with our muslim identities” that was before the first wave of modest fashion arrived, she explains “We are going to solve our own problems and represent ourselves” From there the market continued to expand and became the mammoth it is today.

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Zinia brought the subject of ethical fashion to the table, she spoke passionately about the effect of modest fashion on the environment and the inhumane conditions factory workers work in. “Modesty isn’t just how you wear your clothes, it is also where the clothes come from and how they are made. Just like fair-trade food, we need to look at fair-trade garments and the environmental effects these garments have” She concluded her talk by urging us to think about what we buy “Do we want modest fashion to be based on fast fashion, or do we want it based on ethics and our islamic values” when asked about her advice to budding designers, she replied “Be more God conscious”

Professor Reina was the final speakers, she proceeded to talk about how Muslim and modest fashion evolved “Fashion is constantly changing, and there are so many different ways women responded in the way they dress to the verses in the Qura’an , social impact, their community, their family, and world expectation. There are many different styles and ways women are covering” She continued “It is also striking that the way Muslim fashion developed, it developed as both commerce and commentary due he political and social discussions it brought with it”

img_8147the panel closed with a Q&A segment, the audience engaged which led to controversial questions arising. One audience member commented referencing Dina Tokio’s “breaking stereotype” youtube advert “It feels like Muslim women can no longer walk out the door without feeling the need to be breaking stereotypes or making a statement or claiming her space, which she has already done” to which Alia Khan responded that without the movement, aided by the internet, no one was willing to acknowledge us and acknowledge the need to feel normal  “There is still work to do, but the work done so far is important”

This article was written by Sahar Arrayeh

Written by Mvslim

Mvslim

In the mixed society we live today, we went looking for the ideal platform for Muslims. And of course, we didn’t find it. So we made one ourselves.