Today world fashion based around major cities such as New York and Paris and universally renowned names like Chanel and Dior dominates the globe. Specific styles of garments have become fashion icons, including jeans, t-shirts, and business suits. Recently, Islamic businesses and consumers have been building their own fashion, distinct from Western designs and styles. Clothing that was previously associated with only a certain group of people has now spread throughout the Islamic world. Examples of this include the abaya, kaftan, and dishdasha, which today are not only worn by women of the Arab world, but also by non-Arab Muslims in western societies. The salwaar kamiz, traditionally worn by South Asians, is also worn today by Muslims in diverse variations of styles.
Above images from Hejab Fashion magazine.
The traditional purpose of the Islamic hijab is to create an attitude of modesty and attract as little attention to oneself as possible. Shaimaa Khalil describes fashion as a form of self-expression, experimenting with looks, and attracting attention to one’s personal style. Despite the seeming contradiction with the spirit of hijab, a growing number of Muslim women are blending the two. They find inspiration in what they see in high fashion magazines and adapt it to make sure it covers and abides by Islamic rulings.
While ethnic clothing is still worn by many women around the world, young Muslims today are often looking for clothes that will not set them apart from Western society. They have become increasingly aware of their identities after 9/11 and many want to blend in, yet with their hijab on this goal becomes difficult. Fashion designers such as Hana Tajima Simpson and young Muslim fashion bloggers can play a key role in the bridging of these two concepts. One blog called “Stylish Muslimah” features hijab styles from around the world, outfit ideas, new “hijabi” experiences, hijab fashion for older women, and hijab styles for special occasions.