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The Problem with ‘Hijab Fashion’

I’d like to take a minute and speak about this prevalent trend of ‘Hijab fashion’ and ‘Hijabi Fashionistas’. Before anyone gets defensive and feels they’re being attacked, this is not about anyone’s *personal* journey, rather more about *public journeys* and how we are influencing our youth. So no one is judging anyone, nor being holier than thou, this is a bit of food for thought.

Recently I’ve been seeing fashion shows/cat walks, Muslims women on the runways etc highlighting “modest fashion” where the idea is to cater for Muslim women.

I completely understand Muslim women fall into many many categories when it comes to implementing the Hijab in its entirety, and by that I do not mean just the headscarf. I understand the difficulties in implementing the hijab (been there, done that). I understand all the thought processes before finally making the decision to implement the hijab outwardly and inwardly. I also understand wanting to look nice and presentable.

What I do not accept nor understand is the category of women who outright reject the command. Our attire and what we have been commanded to wear is clear cut, stated in the Qur’an and ahadith. It’s fine for you to do business, also fine for you to cater for Muslim women as there is a huge market, but I feel somewhere in all this business and making a name, the true essence and identity of a Muslimah is getting lost behind make up, pouts and excessiveness.

There are so many problems with the Hijab Fashionista era that we are living in. Here are three:

1. Our attire is being commercialised and we are condoning it.

Initially it was just within, now it is also external. We do not need Nike to promote our hijab, we do not need Debenhams to start endorsing our clothes. We do not need approval or validation from any mainstream companies. They are not doing us a favour, they are not “accepting us” they are thinking with their business hat on and how to make a profit. So firstly, it is important we do not fall into that trap of thinking finally the world is starting to accept us.

2. Are catwalks modest?

When Muslim women are walking up and down the runway, there are male photographers present, male audience present, men reading and seeing about the fashion show in the news, does this defeat the purpose of hijab? Whilst we flaunt the “modest clothing” on our body, we are being watched and ogled at. Beautified faces, beautified clothes, is this really modest, if we think about modesty in its entirety and not just a piece of cloth? Does this thought process make me extreme? O_o

3. Is it really Hijab?

We are seeing Muslim women bloggers who categorise themselves as Hijabis and whilst they may be struggling to wear the hijab in its correct form, showing your hair and neck is not hijab and should never ever be promoted as hijab. Whilst these bloggers influence our youth to wear turbans, show their awrah yet call it hijab, surely we should be challenging this and not encouraging when these bloggers “make it” and become “famous”.

Honestly is it a great thing to see sisters excelling and making a name for themselves, but at the expense of a lost identity?

Are Muslim women having an identity crisis, trying to fit in between the “modern world” and Islam? What are WE doing to lead our youth and what CAN we do to lead them? To ensure our youth do not feel like they need validation? To ensure our youth are looking up to the correct figures as their role models?

May Allah allow us to excel in His beautiful Deen, and forgive us when we fall short.

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