Islamic Fashion and The West’s Freedom of Expression

Islamic Fashion
Courtesy of DKNY Ramadan collection

[pullquote]Summary: dealing with Islamic fashion has become a new challenge for Westerners. Venessa Friedman, New York Times fashion critic tell us why.[/pullquote]

Venessa Friedman, fashion director and Chief Fashion Critic at New York Times, published an important opinion piece on Fashion and its responsibilities.

The piece started with a question:

“Is it fashion’s responsibility to ease acceptance of different identities; to foster tolerance and understanding — or to promote a specific aesthetic expression of liberty?”

And then, she eventually responded to the question very creatively:

“The history of fashion is, in many ways, about facilitating acceptance; creating a bridge between the unfamiliar or the challenging, be it religious or sexual or gendered or transgressive, and the everyday.

“It is arguably one of the things the sharp point of the industry does best, whether by transforming underwear into outerwear, putting women into pants and men into women’s wear or otherwise redesigning the trappings of revolution. (Think of all those fur lined military surplus coats.)

“It forces confrontation, and by “fashionizing” what was hitherto seen as foreign, absorbs it, co­opts it and — to a certain extent — defangs it. Whether the motivation is moral or economic, in the end, the effect may be the same. And that is what matters.”

If you care about fashion, its responsibilities and its diplomacy, We think you should read the article.

Follow the story on New York TIme.