Saturday 17 May 2008

Fashion and Misogyny

I have often wondered why so many women convert to Islam and it seems respect, justice, fairness and truth come into the equation. I also think though it is because women love beauty and Islam is beautiful.

A quick look around the Muslim Blogosphere and the Muslims around you would confirm that many of my Muslim sisters love pretty things and there is no shortage of Muslim fashionista’s.
I love fashion, but I don’t love what I see around me described as fashionable. The catwalks all seem to be full of creations touted as high couture and art, but which kick of my BS sensors big time. Why are so many of the biggest fashion houses led by gay men? What could they possibly know about what women want? Perhaps not enough is my answer when I see the amount of clothing on the catwalks and in shops and magazines which is uncomfortable, unflattering, rip-off expensive and sometimes even downright ugly. It leads me to question, do they hate women? These clothes not only don’t cover and protect, often they don’t flatter and make women look foolish. Magazines are full off photos of women that look submissive, child-like, naked and vulnerable. Think of the “heroin chic” look for example. There is a complete absence of the best facets of femininity – strength, energy, dignity, the curves of a mother, the radiance of an older woman.

When I look at the exceptions to the male-dominated fashion industry such as Donna Karan, Diane Von Furstenberg and Missoni I find some compensation. I see less impossible shoes and pointless ball gowns and more functional, wearable work clothes. I strongly believe that fashion should be a celebration of femininity, individualism, comfort, colour, creativity and ease of movement. What also gives it an extra edge for me is where it explores different cultures and traditions, helping to link what our grandmothers wore and loved to what our children will treasure.

Fashion should also be accessible, being a mother, older than 30 (or 90), being bigger than a size8 should not mean that you are relegated to the BHS granny-cardies section. The only way that this can happen is for women to be more involved in the process, to design and create more of what they like and to vote with their purses for fairly-priced clothes that make you feel GOOD.

This is something I love about my fashionista sisters. They take the best bits of what is out there, make them modest, add their own twists and create something unique and beautiful that’s inspires others. My favourites include:

Kima at We Love Hijab
Alixianna at Beautiful Muslimah
Hayah at Hijab Style

Naeema at The Covered Lady
Samah at Islamic Fashion

Habayeb Hijabi Fashionova
at Hegab Rehab

“O Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover yourselves (screen your private parts, etc.) and as an adornment, and the raiment of righteousness, that is better.” ~ Al-Quran 7:26

Narrated 'Abd-Allah ibn Mas'ood: the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “No one will enter Paradise who has an atom’s-weight of pride in his heart.” A man said, “What if a man likes his clothes to look good and his shoes to look good?” He said, “Allah is beautiful and loves beauty. Pride means denying the truth and looking down on people.” (Muslim 131)

And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except that which is displayed of itself; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves, whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! Turn ye all together towards Allah that ye may attain Bliss. ~ Al-Quran 24:31

Narrated by Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin: Asma, daughter of AbuBakr, entered upon the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) wearing thin clothes. The Messenger of Allah (saws) turned his attention from her and said: ‘O Asma, when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, it does not suit her that she displays her parts of body except this and this’, and he (SAWS) pointed to her face and hands. (Abu-Dawood 4092)


  1. salam, thanks for the links sis :D

  2. Walaikam-assalam Sister Ammenah,
    my pleasure. Some of the ladies who create these sites have real attitude and style and the don't compromise their deen in the process mash'Allah.

    The links are good for eye-candy anyway.

  3. Anonymous07 June, 2008

    Salams! Lovely post. Thanks for adding my blog to the link list.:) I appreciate it!


  4. Anonymous27 July, 2008

    salams, thanks for the post.
    Here is a link for very modest swimsuits which only reveal the face, hands and feet:

    wa salaams

  5. The front corner should be pulled up to your left shoulder and hold in place with the help of a pin. For those who prefer patterned fabric, they should pin one front side to the shoulder when the scarf is draped over the head.