For this issue, I had the pleasure of doing what I love to do – browse around fashion blogs (or modern fashion blogs, to be more precise – and only for research purposes, honestly!) I clicked my way through snapshots and fashion ads from this year’s Modest Fashion Week in London. Did I like it? You bet. Did I want all those beautiful clothes in my closet? Hell yeah! Did I come across nasty comments along the lines of ‘this is not hijab, she’s a disgrace with all that make-up and blingbling’ or ‘this is anti-feminist?’ Unfortunately, I did. Do I wear a hijab myself, or am I Muslim? Nope and no, but the implication is the same: fashion seems to be all fun and games … until a young woman turns up in a hijab.
Personally, I am eternally, and deeply, grateful for women who obviously have the power (and probably the bank accounts, too) to push the fashion industry into valuing and producing elegant, covering, classy and comfortable clothes. It’s not that I am not aware of some of the reasons behind this. Of course, religions that impose certain ideals about appearance or demeanour on women must to be viewed critically. However, the jibes that rising model, Shahira Yusuf, as well as so many other fashionable and religious young women are confronted with, are over the top. Comments such as ‘Hijabs on the runway are dangerous!’ or ‘they ridicule the suffering of those women and girls forced into wearing it!’ (although this statement is an example of probably the only time where more radical feminists and right wing, angry old men agree!) or even something as ludicrous as ‘Hijabzilla is coming for us!’ Judgmental, much?! Not that I am one to dismiss the opinions of others, but do these statements carry any weight outside of doomsaying, ignorance, and a clear unwillingness to settle for anything that dares to be different, let alone choose to remain the same? No. Might it be time to just accept the choice of every girl and woman to dress how she wants? What about religious women who simply feel comfortable in these clothes? Or our Muslim sisters in fashion, who don’t feel like wearing a hijab? Yes, please.
Most importantly, we should show respect. Respect for those who take off a layer or two, and for those who chose to put them on. Respect for those who demand their equal rights in fashion, respect for those who take it as their sacred duty to wear a hijab. We should respect the hijab for what it is: it is a strong symbol, a statement – so let’s treat it that way.
Girl News International