Zahra Lari wears Nike’s new hijab for female
athletes. Photograph: Vivienne Balla/AP
Hijabi Woman In Murrow Shares Her Story
Activist Linda Sarsour Arrested At International Women’s Day Protest
Quran Reveals That Inequality Rules Over Women In The Afterlife As Well.
girl’s Collection with Getty Images Challenges Stereotypes of Muslim Women
by New Age Islam News Bureau
It Covered: Fashion Wakes up To Muslim Women’s Style
the Islamic economy growing at double the global rate, mainstream designers are
jumping on the ‘modest wear’ bandwagon
11 March 2017
year or so ago the term modest wear would have drawn puzzled looks. But what a
difference a year – or, in fact, a few weeks – makes.
month, Vogue Arabia launched its first ever print issue, with Saudi Arabian
princess Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz as its editor in chief. Days later, Nike
pioneered a hi-tech hijab for Muslim female athletes. London has seen its first
modest fashion week. Big brands such as DKNY, Mango, Dolce & Gabbana, Oscar
de la Renta and Uniqlo have all offered modest fashion lines to women, and
Debenhams has just become the first department store to sell hijabs on the high
the latest talking point in fashion circles has been the appearance of The
Modist, a luxury e-commerce venture which launched, quite intentionally, on
international women’s day. Fashion that caters to women who want to combine
their faith or modesty with contemporary style has emphatically arrived.
founder and CEO of The Modist is 38-year-old Ghizlan Guenez, of Algerian
background, who presents her new company more as a philosophy than a fashion
destination. And of course Guenez, who has a private-equity background, knows
this is where the big money lies. Global Muslim expenditure on fashion is set
to rise to $484bn (£398bn) by 2019, according to Reuters and DinarStandard, a
research and advisory firm.
Modist could not have launched at a better time,” says Guenez. “The stars were
aligning for us. We saw Halima Aden, the first Muslim model in a hijab on the
catwalk at New York fashion week, modelling for Yeezy, Kanye West’s fashion
line; we’re seeing big brands reaching out to Muslim audiences even more, and
we had the women’s march, which was incredibly empowering for women all over
Halima Aden wore a hijab during New York
fashion week. Photograph: Luca Bruno/AP
sees social media as pivotal to the modest fashion industry. “Social media has
played a significant role in bringing women together – so a Malaysian
fashionista can be inspired by a student in London. They’re informed by an
online community of women who want to combine faith values with fashion.”
Modist curates outfits that range from around £200 to £2,000, from coloured
maxi dresses to wide-leg trousers, and dynamic-cut tops. Yet when it comes to
gauging what modesty really means, Guenez is measured. “Modesty is a wide
spectrum that involves personal choice,” she says. “But we do respect certain
parameters, through lowering hemlines, avoiding sheerness and low necklines. We
want to provide something that is inspiring, fashionable and relevant.”
modest fashion, particularly when it comes to Muslims, has not been without
controversy. Vogue Arabia’s front cover caused a Twitter backlash for depicting
21-year-model Gigi Hadid in a jewel-encrusted veil. She was criticised for
giving religious offence, for cultural appropriation and for using her
Palestinian roots as a fashion gimmick.
of course there was the global outcry when burkinis, the full-piece Islamic
swimsuits, were banned last summer from a string of French coastal towns and
bizarrely linked to terrorism.
Lewis, professor of cultural studies at the London College of Fashion, observes
that when modest fashion mixes with major brands and Muslims, it can prompt
controversy. “The fashion industry is broadly secular and there is an anxiety
associated with Muslims and Islam in particular,” she says. “Muslims are often
seen to be outside western-perceived cultural production.”
that negative attitude is shifting, says Lewis. When she started researching
her book Muslim Fashion: Contemporary Style Cultures, she found the Muslim
female designers, bloggers and entrepreneurs she spoke to could not get the
attention of the big brands. “Now modest wear is seen as an asset because of
Muslim spending power,” she says.
to Reuters and DinarStandard, the Islamic economy is growing at nearly double
the global rate. Muslim consumer spending on food and lifestyle reached $1.8tn
in 2014 and is projected to reach $2.6tn in 2020.
so modest wear continues to draw major brands: Dolce & Gabbana created a
luxury hijab and abaya range in 2016; DKNY and Mango launched exclusive modest
wear lines for Ramadan and Eid targeting the UAE; H&M featured its first
Muslim model in a hijab, Mariah Idrissi, and Uniqlo joined forces with
British-Japanese designer Hana Tajima to create their LifeWear collection.
Debenhams is collaborating with a Muslim-run company, Aab, to sell kimono
wraps, silky jumpsuits and elegant hijabs.
weeks before the release of Nike’s Pro Hijab, aimed at Muslim athletes, the
company launched a video for Middle Eastern audiences. It featured a diversity
of Muslim women ice-skating, boxing, horse-riding, and fencing. The voiceover,
in Arabic, says: “What will they say about you? Maybe they’ll say you exceeded
long overdue, according to Rimla Akhtar, the first Muslim woman on the Football
Association council, and chair of the UK’s Muslim Women’s Sports Foundation.
“Modest sports gear and sports hijabs are nothing new, but to have something
from such a giant as Nike is significant.”
who has been competing since her teens, finds the sharp spotlight on Muslim
women over the past few years to be both positive and negative. “It’s
encouraging to see Muslim women recognised, but much of this advertising pushes
the narrative of breaking stereotypes,” she says. “I look forward to a time
when we can normalise Muslim women in sports, not constantly make them a
political or social statement.”
has been a blogger for seven years, and is among the pioneers of modest
fashion. She started her eponymous clothing brand for anyone looking for
something “modest, but still fun and quirky”. The 21-year-old belongs to the
Mipster generation (Muslim hipster), which comprises urban, tech-savvy
millennials who are confident in their faith and fashion choices.
bloggers and influencers weren’t really being seen by advertisers or companies,
so we had to create a platform which united other Muslim women who were facing
fashion dilemmas,” she says. “The problem still exists today; however, there is
a lot more choice and those women who were once isolated by the high street
have launched their own collections, like Arabian Nites, Aab and Verona
Collection and my own Nabiilabee.”
does this mean women who want stylish modest wear are finally being catered
for? The answer, for Nabiilabee, is mixed. She feels that while recent moves
are encouraging, there is still a long way to go in penetrating the high street
and treating Muslim female shoppers as a sought-after commodity.
important that brands and marketing campaigns try to have an authentic
conversation with this audience rather than simply sticking a ‘modest’ sticker
on everything and hoping it will sell,” she says.
Hijabi Woman in Murrow Shares Her Story
tend to be misconceptions regarding why Muslim women choose to wear hijabs.
Fadumo Ali, a senior in the Murrow College of Communication, is the only hijabi
woman in her degree.
hijab is not just a garment without meaning, Ali explained. The garment allows
hijabi women to be noticed as representatives of the Islamic religion.
not just about me. I’m representing my whole religion,” Ali said. “That’s
something about Islam, is that hijab women and women wearing burkas, or any
other garments, they’re ambassadors of the faith.”
Ali first seemed shy or nervous about wearing a Hijab because she felt people
would look to her for questions about the religion of Islam, she later learned
that it was worth it.
I got into high school,” Ali said, “I’d be the one person in class making sure
that I educated people about these different topics and what’s actually going
experiences in high school led Ali to give more attention to news and politics,
eventually leading her to pursue political journalism.
a Hijabi, she learned to accept herself and her background.
would say don’t be afraid or don’t be ashamed of your heritage or your
background,” Ali said. “When it got to a certain point in high school where I
was like ‘forget this, I’m just going to do me and not try to forget anymore.’
As soon as I did that, I finally discovered myself.”
pushed herself to excel because she knew she was the only woman in the college
wearing a Hijab.
felt this weird sense being in the Murrow College being the only hijabi, that I
always felt like I had to work harder and make sure that I perfected my skill
to a different degree,” Ali said. “I felt like that pressure, like any
minority, you have to work harder to be qualified.”
said that representing a different minority not only allows other people to
gain education about the religion, but it also empowers younger hijabi women or
feel like I’m able to represent a different community that doesn’t get
represented,” Ali said. “I want to be that person that I wish I had growing up
when I turned on the news and saw a Muslim woman or someone I looked similar
people look to the media, internet and other non-Muslims to understand the
religion of Islam. This allows common misconceptions about Muslims and the
religion to continue to exist. Ali explained that Muslims are just like anyone
else, as we all strive for similar goals in life.
have the same aspirations as Americans or anyone else. We want to be educated,
we want to have a job,” Ali said. “It’s so crazy because people categorize us
as the ‘other’ without realizing that we’re working day-to-day for the same
things everyone else is, and that’s something that people don’t understand.”
asked to describe what Muslim people and the Islamic religion values most, the
two words Ali chose were peace and understanding. She explained that God values
peace and the understanding of one another and within her own life, she tries
to reflect that to non-Muslims.
you take apart the meaning [of Islam], it means ‘religion of peace,’ ” Ali
point of view as a hijabi Muslim woman opens the door to a unique piece of
diversity at WSU. If individuals want to support their fellow classmates, she
said they should try to understand what their Muslim peers value, experience
and hope for in life.
advice to anyone who has any questions about Islam or Muslims, just go up and
ask a Muslim,” Ali said. “Muslims actually want to talk to you. They’ll
actually like to talk to you, to educate you about their religion, same as you
would about your religion or your culture.”
Activist Linda Sarsour Arrested at International Women’s Day Protest
her handcuffs proudly, pictures posted on social media show a radiant Sarsour,
replete in her red hijab, being led from the scene and later seated in a police
wagon. She was held for six hours on a
charge of disorderly conduct before being released.
to reporters, Sarsour, former executive director for the Arab American
Association of New York, said of the incident, “I feel empowered. I feel proud
of what I did today and I’ve done this many times before… I hope it sends a
message to people that you’ve got to risk it, you’ve got to be bold in this
has, in fact, done this before. No stranger to controversy, she spoke from the
podium yesterday, challenging those who would not accept her view of feminism
as lacking inclusivity. “If your feminism doesn’t include all women, if it
doesn’t include the hijab that I wear on my head, we don’t need your feminism.”
She went on to urge protestors and activists to “keep resisting” and “keep motivated.”
was one of the organizers of the Women’s March movement, begun the day after US
President Donald Trump’s inauguration. It earned her some admirers but also
some serious detractors. Late in January an online campaign of misinformation
began to target her, accusing her of being affiliated with militant groups,
being a proponent of Sharia Law and an anti-Semite. Never one to shrink from a
challenge or a fight, the fierce activist called her attackers “fake news
purveyors” and “right wing media outlets recirculating false information.”
February, following the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis,
Missouri, Sarsour partnered with other Muslim activists to crowdfund a
restoration of the damaged headstones. The group managed to raise more than
$125,000. Speaking of the gesture, she said it was her hope that it would “send
a united message from the Jewish and Muslim communities that there is no place
for this type of hate, desecration and violence in America.”
an effort to represent Muslim women in a "fresh and contemporary
light", Getty Images has partnered with MuslimGirl.com, the largest Muslim
women's website in the US, to create a host of images that challenge
Muslim women taking selfies with friends, chatting on the phone and more, the
images were created to challenge misconceptions of the Islamic community and
better empower that community.
from Getty Images
and editor-in-chief of MuslimGirl.com, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh hopes this
collection of 41 photos will be the first of many.
Images has a deep belief in the power of visuals to incite change and shift
attitudes," said Pam Grossman, director of visual trends, Getty Images, in
literacy is so prolific with today's generation, that photos are now absorbed
and processed with unprecedented immediacy. Positive imagery can have an impact
on fighting stereotypes, celebrating diversity, and making communities feel
empowered and represented in society. We're so proud to partner with
MuslimGirl.com to increase the visibility of these kinds of images in the
images, which are available for commercial use, feature girls with and without
a hijab, are shown doing every day activities, at home, with friends, and in
the workplace, and their style and strength is front and center.
to Grossman, keyword searches for “Muslim” has increased 107% over the last
year on GettyImages.com.
of the ways I open up my talks is by asking the audience to search 'Muslim
women' images on their phone browsers, which is always met with their awe at
the unsettling results," said Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, founder and
editor-in-chief, MuslimGirl.com, in a statement. "I don't want to be able
to use that example anymore, and I could not be prouder to partner with Getty
Images on finally taking on such an important and influential task."
isn’t Getty’s first foray into challenging stereotypes. In 2016, they partnered
with Refinery29, Lane Bryant and Aerie to create the 67% Project — speaking to
the fact that 67% of women in the US are plus-size but only 2% of images depict
of the bodies you see on our site, in our newsletter, and on our Instagram and
Snapchat channels will be plus-size... We've been shooting stock photography
and redesigning illustrations to more accurately reflect the women who make up
the majority of our country. And we’re partnering with Getty Images to make
this collection available to other outlets that wish to join us in closing the
representation gap,” Refinery29 said in a statement.
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