Fatima Asmaa Paciotti is a 55-year old Italian woman who converted to Islam in 2005. She barely found appropriate resources in her province of Italy to help Muslim women dress comfortably. She found it even harder to dress in a way that reflected her faith combined with her personal style. That is why she decided to start her own muslim fashion Business.
From facebook to real business
She first started out very small by selling clothes on Facebook. As her fashion commerce became more popular, she turned her little side business into Fatima Shop, a high-fashion boutique for Muslim women.
“I only found poor quality clothes, which were also expensive. They didn’t last long, and sometimes they were uncomfortable,” she said. That moment became crucial for Fatima. She saw a need for beautiful, high-quality clothing for women who wanted to combine their faith and fashion sense.
The store is located in Cantù, in the province of Como. It is a region where the most recent elections resulted in the election of a member of a far-right political party. That eventually led to him being elected mayor in the first round. That same city was ground for conflict regarding muslim women rights as local politician Nicola Molteni launched a battle against women who choose to wear veils in public places.
Journalist Elisabetta Invernizzi was intrigued by the little shop, she writes: “The boutique could have opened in Milan, in the fashion capital, but Paciotti chose Cantù, the territory governed by the right-wing party of President Matteo Salvini.”
Fatima’s story defeats stereotypes about Muslim women and their veil, and journalist Elisabetta hopes it will eventually encourage a serious debate about politics in Italy regarding Islamic fashion and traditions.
“Right-wing parties, at this moment in history, have a lot of support,” Elisabetta said. “Muslims are one of the many scapegoats.”
The reactions from Italian readers are divided: Some people hope Fatima Shop fails because they believe the clothing was imposed to women, while others have welcomed the store. Fatima on the other hand believes she is slowly winning over the hearts and minds of her new neighbors, even those who were initially against her setting up the shop.