By Hajer Naili
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Designers, photographers and bloggers are generating interest in all the fashion possibilities of loose, flowing fabrics and covered hair. Fans include Christian women who can't find much church-going attire at the local mall. The second of two stories for Ramadan about Muslim women in the United States.
NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)--Long sleeves, low hemlines, flowing fabrics; all usually topped with a headscarf, or hijab, that covers the hair.
These timeless clothing elements are being put into trending fashion focus by designers, bloggers and stylists who go by a range of names: hijabistas, hijabis, turbanistas.
From tutorials on YouTube on how to wear a headscarf to specialized model agencies, bloggers and stylists are finding ways to celebrate the rules of modesty imposed by Islam.
Some post photographs of their outfits of the day or latest purchases on Facebook, which, along with blogs, Instagram and Pinterest are the most influential channels for women making decisions on apparel, according to a recent report from NetBase, the Mountain View, Calif., supplier of social media data.
Some of the Muslim hijabistas' work appears in U.S.-based blogs such as The Hijablog and Modhijabi, where creators post daily pictures of their various outfits.
Amaan Ali, a Norwegian-born Iraqi blogger, is behind The Hijablog. She began it in 2008 and it has attracted nearly 70,000 people on Facebook and over 10,000 followers on Instagram.
Ali is based in Ann Arbor, Mich., where she is a doctoral candidate in political science and an instructor at the University of Michigan. She describes herself as an activist and identifies herself on her blog as mainly concerned with issues pertaining to Arab politics, society, culture, Islam and women's rights.
Her followers go well beyond other Muslim women. She said she has also a "lot of non-Muslim" viewers and international media that pay attention to her work as a "fashion stylist," as she describes herself.
Muslim fashion leaders may be jolting popular stereotypes of passivity and submission that are tied to clothing that appears uniform, traditional and identity-concealing. Ninety-two percent of Muslim female respondents believed that Muslim fashion trends can lead to a positive change in the way they are perceived, according to a survey released in July by the Women's Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality, a program of the New York-based American Society for Muslim Advancement.
Avoiding Black Hijabs
Sana Rashid, another fashion blogger, began her blog, Modhijabi, less than a year ago. The American-Pakistani has worn the hijab since nineth grade. She says she avoids black hijabs because of their negative connotations in Western society.
"Regular societies like wearing black but when a Muslim woman wears it it's because she is oppressed," Rashid said. "If that's how they interpret Muslim women then I believe you should stay away from black hijabs."
Rashid welcomed Women's eNews into her spacious home in Fresh Meadow, a neighborhood in Queens, N.Y. She was wearing two of her favorite pieces: printed, front-pleated pants, a loose orange silk shirt paired with a navy blue silk veil and summer wedges.
Although Rashid tends to wear bright colorful and printed hijabs she still faces some stereotypes. "Everyone thinks that I am forced to wear the hijab when I am not," Rashid said, adding that her mother didn't wear the hijab.