In light of recent tragedies regarding the Muslim community, this serves as an opportunity to illuminate an often misconstrued aspect of Islam– beauty. Ignorance is among the most destructive issues to plague the current global climate as the consequences can be terrifying. Fashion is powerful for one reason: it has the capacity to heal.
Following the New Zealand attacks on Christchurch mosques, news anchors and women across the world have started wearing hijabs to show support for the Muslim community. Photographs of Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, and Constable Michelle Evans wearing hijabs have gone viral. Whether you agree with the idea of non-Muslims donning the headscarf as a sign of solidarity, it is imperative that we recognize the full sanctity of the hijab.
In a striking video from Muslim Girl in 2016, we are shown “100 Years of Hijab Fashion in 1 Minute.” As founder and editor-in-chief of Muslim Girl, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, told The Huffington Post, “It’s more than just a cloth on our heads. It is a symbol of power, history, and agency.” Al-Kharahtbeth continued to shed light on hijabi discourse, stating “Ultimately, we want to reclaim the headscarf, from politicization just as much as commodification.” Essentially, the hijab is an extraordinary sect of fashion, and its value goes far beyond utility.
It is time we leave ignorance behind and fully embrace not only the beauty, but also the significance behind the hijab. We shall look towards powerful women in modest fashion such as Halima Aden. The child refugee turned international model, and the first hijabi model to sign with IMG Models, is working with Modanisa to launch a collection of 27 headscarves. She aims to be a role model for the next generation, and her collection is set to be launched during Istanbul Modest Fashion Week (April 20-21). An irrefutable beauty, every photoshoot Aden does is nothing short of stunning. She is remarkably outspoken about her choice to wear the hijab.
We have stumbled upon an overdue era of fashion, one in which we are respectful and aware of the hijab and modest clothing in general. Istanbul Modest Fashion Week is an event you will not want to miss. From the modern retro stylings of Meryem Acar to the colorful, modest swimwear of Mayovera, this event showcases designers who give modest women clothing that meets their needs with contemporary style. Whether it is the abaya or Islamic streetwear, we must acknowledge the nuances in these designs that are meant to embody “self-transcendence.” Fashion is closely linked to identity, and it is time we make that inclusive to all people.
We can learn greatly from contemporary Islamic fashion. Through fashion there is unity, through unity there is strength, and that is beautiful. This is not to say that nuances in modest fashion will simplify the very real trauma imposed by these tragedies or eradicate Islamophobia. Perhaps, it can be a light amidst the darkness, the breath of solidarity and appreciation the world needs. And right now, that does not sound so bad.