The boundaries of Islamic modest clothing have become blurred over the past few decades, primarily in the West due to the controversial ideology of modest hijab fashion input in our daily lives.
The idea behind modest clothing becoming a fashion statement seems to be taken too far. And that’s understandable, in an era where money and power are above all principals of humanity, it’s only natural for large companies and global business owners to use the booming Muslim market to their advantage.
A figure of $230 billion (USD) was spent on clothing by Muslim consumers worldwide, making the Muslim market 11% of global expenditure. It estimated the figure will be doubled, reaching $484 billion (USD) dollars in 2019 according to the State Of The Global Islamic Economy Report by Thomson Reuters.
Whilst this may be great news to Vogue, and participating models who are appropriating the Hijab as a fashion icon, it’s clear that the Muslim market has simply been acknowledged as consumerists, catering the needs of Multimillion dollar companies who are capitalising on it and creating our apparel in sweatshops. We are constantly altering western clothing to suit our demands, but the question is, why isn’t it the other way around?
The ‘hijabista’s’ or the so-called “Hijabi fashion influencers” who are being paid every second post on your feed could be underestimating the implications and consequences of their clothing influence not only to younger Muslim females but to the message and true meaning of the Hijab and Islam.
With the easy accessibility of social platforms, everyone has suddenly become a beauty or fashion blogger, inspiring the world to unleash their inner Marilyn Monroe. Sometimes I wonder if Muslim hijabi bloggers are being acknowledged beyond their ability to perfect their wing liner or styling their jersey hijab in 7 different ways.
While some may argue it’s a form of self-expression, I call it a trend. The hijab has simply become an online trend and its experts solely depend on the number of following they attract. The concern is that modern ‘hijab fashion’ is going against everything hijab stands for.
This idea of the Hijab being affiliated with the literal word ‘headscarf’ is misleading. The Hijab appears eight times in the holy Quran and refers to multiple meanings in different contexts. One must understand the fundamental laws of this before taking Quranic verses out of context and using it for one’s personal actions. Thus, the hijab is not simply just about covering the hair on your head or the skin on your arms.
The hijab is about guarding your body figure in a modest way; it’s about one’s manners and self-presentation, it’s about being recognised for your actions and not your appearance. It’s a representation of liberation and the stand against objectification and sexualisation.
A lot of people have the misconception that modest clothing is boring, that you must wear an Abaya to fulfil the core requirements of Hijab. This is not true; Muslim women are free to dress in any way they desire as long as the fundamental element of modesty is not broken.
This is where it’s not so black and white anymore. What is modesty? And how can it be measured? While everyone has varying answers, God’s answer is one.
As women, we all have the desire to dress to impress, but that’s the beauty of Islam; it acknowledges beauty beyond the psychical appearance and rewards those who attempt to stray away from society standards in attempt to follow the correct law and ruling of hijab in Islam.
It’s important to acknowledge that every individual is at a different stage with their faith, thus, it’s not right to make judgments about another person’s dress code. Modest fashion bloggers have an immense responsibility to maintain a positive image of the hijab to the rest of the world.
In the digital world, we need to be very cautious of who we refer to as role models and influencers. We must question in what ways they are influencing our lives and character.
We need to stop being followers of popular culture and romanticising about materialistic trends. Regardless if we wear hijab or not, as Muslims, we all have the responsibility to represent ourselves and Islam to the best of our ability.