Is Modest Fashion Something that We Should Be Celebrating?

Summary: Aisha Dadi Patel asks if it is OK to use the entire religion to build a platform and use it as a marketing tool?

Source: The Daily Vox

Writer: Aisha Dadi Patel

In the past couple of weeks, my social media feeds were dominated by chatter about and images of Halima Aden, a Muslim model who wore her headscarf on the runway in multiple fashion week shows – most notably Kanye West’s Yeezy show – and London Modest Fashion Week.

I’ve always had a bit of a bone to pick with the idea of modest fashion, “hijab fashion”, and the way that Muslim women’s dressing not only become a source of fascination for many, but an entire industry itself.

Both Aden’s catwalk appearances and the London Modest Fashion Week (which coincided with London Fashion Week, and took place at the Saatchi Gallery – if anyone cares) were widely lauded online as being revolutionary in their own right, not only for the representation of Muslim women but also for showing that Muslim women were perfectly able to carve a space in the fashion industry.

The move showcases the strides made to include Muslim women into the so-called mainstream. It also provides inspiration for women who want to cover up, but still look fashionable at the same time.

Looked at this way, it seems like a pretty great idea.

But like so many shiny consumables manufactured to deceive, one has got to ask: is it really?

In 2010, Lisa Navarro wrote in Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge that “Western mass media tend to construct an image of Muslim women using a discourse dominated by the notions of passiveness and victimisation.”

Read more on The Daily Vox