Fashion normalising Muslims

As dirty as the world of fashion may seem with constant news about fast fashion and zero sized models, the fashion industry arguably is the one that does the least to taint the word Muslim, which thanks to the media has become a loaded word.

So here we go again. The word MUSLIM is flying around on social media and on the news. Except, this time in a context that is a little more palatable.

In fact, you could go as far as to say the fashion industry is contributing to unloading the word Muslim. Normalising what it is to be Muslim through things like the H&M having Mariah Idrisi, a hijabi*, as a model and DKNY, MANGO and Tommy Hilfiger releasing ranges for Muslims.

  • A term for someone who wears a hijab on their head

For those that don’t know, last week, well-known designer fashion brand Dolce and Gabanna released a range specificly for Muslim women. All the press around it has been pretty positive, yay for muslim women, yay for representation and of course yay for Dolce and Gabanna’s revenue.

No doubt it is great that Muslim women are being brought to the forefront. Finally, we aren’t just being seen as oppressed but just as normal people who are interested in fashion. In terms of the actually aesthetics of the range, meh, many Muslim women including Dina Tokio find it to be unoriginal,

— “Fashion conscious Muslim women in the form of bloggers, designers & stylists have been taking centre stage for a good few years showing the world that modesty & style can coincide with faith. With barely a nod of applaud or recognition, until D&G fancies putting their stamp all over a very traditional middle eastern style & claim it’s originality.”

Others have shared the same sentiment,

And just to add, unlike many others, I really don’t care that D&G are trying to capitalize on the Muslim women. The more Muslims that are in the mainstream in a good light or at least a normal light, the better it is for us as Muslims. It helps to dilute the fear-mongering caused by the media, one drip at a time. If you feel strongly about D&G, the answer is simple, don’t buy them.

Thankfully D&G didn’t release during ramadan. Unlike Mango and DKNY who released ranges specifically for Ramadan*. Because guess what, we are more than just Ramadan Muslims.

*The month where we fast for 30 days (no not consecutively and no not even water)

Oh and guess what. We are more than just rich Arabs who can be found in Selfridges and the Middle East.

The fact it’s a separate range reinforces we are different, we are foreign. But guess what, we are the same as you,

We go to school with you 
We work with you 
We shop at the same places as you 
We are the mainstream 
Not a minority

We are mainstream women.

The bloggers that are taking the modest fashion industry by storm are doctors, lawyers, accountants, university students, athletes and so much more. They are the people you meet in your everyday lives. They are the people you line up with in Primark, H&M and Newlook. Women that are British and the British public interact with every day.

What the fashion industry is not realising. Although, H&M has led the way, is that we need mainstream representation the same way ethnic minorities and plus size are represented. Look on boohoo, ASOS and House of Fraser and you will see this representation. But you won’t see a Muslim. Let me make it something clear, I am in no way offended that I don’t see Muslims on these sites, but, it is something to think about.

We are crying out for representation, we even have our own modest fashion awards. Every month there is some sort of event celebrating Muslim fashion with runway shows and independent sellers selling their items. Every month there is some sort of new brand or blogger that is popping up on social media.

We are not just a side range within the mainstream. It isn’t hard to find modest fashion items in the mainstream anymore. Amaliah.co.uk prove that. What is hard is to find representation.

So is it that we need our own ranges, that actually most of us can’t afford or frankly don’t want. Or is it that we just need more mainstream representation.

Or is it that we need both?

Let me hear your thoughts.

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