We need to have a discussion: Are hijab prices on the rise?
A disadvantage to living in some small towns as a Muslim woman is the inaccessibility of hijab stores. During my visit to Boston during the Thanksgiving holiday break, I was adamant about visiting local Islamic stores to shop for hijabs since I desperately needed an upgrade. The small boutique shop I went to was run by an East African family and stored everything from hijabs and Islamic texts to modest maxi dresses. Disappointed in the lack of variety of hijabs, I finally eyed a black cotton rectangular hijab with white flowers embroidery on both ends. It was elegant and simple but I was hesitant about the purchase when I found out the price: $15.00 USD. As a hijabi, this price was absurd to me. My experience with purchasing hijabs didn’t often include double-takes on the price tags. Prices usually ranged between $7-$10 dollars at halal shops, bazars, etc. Is it just me or are hijab prices skyrocketing as social-media based hijabis and hijab companies become oversaturated?
I am not keen on online shopping simply because I have never needed to and thus, am unfamiliar with the territory. Because of the unavailability of hijabs to me currently, I turned to the internet for my hijab needs. Googling “online hijab stores”, HauteHijab, the most popular online hijab store, popped up. With their selection of scarves and wraps that vary in color and pattern, my favorite was the modal maxi wrap made from 100% rayon. I loved the solid varying color tones and the length seemed to be just right. But it cost $20. Even with the free shipping deal, this price seems double what I am used to spending. Modanisa, another popular online hijab and modest clothing store, is exceptional in the variety of available hijabs and modest wear but very expensive. They have everything from pure silk shawls that cost $60 to jersey cotton hijabs starting at $12. I spotted the Mervin Sal Shawl, a beautiful beige pashmina shawl, for $3.36- their lowest selling item. At checkout, due to shipping, my total came out to $22. Gulp. Are there online shops that contain the most beautiful and long lasting hijabs but at reasonable prices?
Hijab is a personal journey that comes with a lot of social pressure and expectations and finding the right hijab for your personality, for an occasion, or for everyday wear can sometimes be difficult. Body type, face structure, as well as skin tone, are all variables to consider when donning the hijab. Also, you desire to be original yet fashionable and decent all at the same time. Online shopping is not only convenient but the variety is much greater than your local halal shops. I seemed to hit the jackpot during my second visit to Boston during the winter holidays at a hole-in-the-wall store where the owner, an elderly Somali woman, showed me these fine lightly ribbed viscose scarves that cost only $8. It was at the unlikeliest place that I found what seemed to be the perfect hijab at the most reasonable price.
It appears the most affordable hijabs are found at these hole-in-the-wall shops or from your friend’s aunt’s living room. At a time when online shopping is ubiquitous, these are not practical methods. What affordable online shops are available to those who cannot easily access hijabs?
Written by Kaltuma Sharif