‘Hijabistas’ Help Muslim Fashion Grow


A model walks on the runway at a charity show organized by Fashion Fighting Famine, an Irvine, Calif.-based organization which describes itself as the primary source of Muslim fashion in the U.S. (Photo by Alnas Zia, Flickr Creative Commons License)

Muslim fashion – featuring long sleeves, low hemlines and flowing fabrics topped with a headscarf or hijab – is receiving the attention of some U.S.-based designers, says Hajer Naili in an article in Womens eNews. Designers, bloggers and stylists working in Muslim fashion are known by a range of names including hijabistas, hijabis, and 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.

U.S.-based blogs such as The Hijablog and Modhijabi regularly post the various outfits designed by Muslim hijabistas. Naili says there may be an unintended consequence of this new focus on Muslim fashion leaders. It may be jolting the 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.

Many fashion designers and bloggers do not hide their sensitivity to the color they choose for their trendy clothing and hijab. New York-based American-Pakistani fashion blogger Sana Rashid is one of them. Rashid, who has been wearing a hijab since ninth grade, avoids a black hijab because of its negative connotation 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.”

But Rashid’s preference of colorful and bright hijabs doesn’t guarantee that she won’t encounter 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.

New York-based fashion designer Nailah Lymus, who in February 2012 founded Underwraps Agency – which she calls the first Muslim modeling agency – has seen Muslim fashion gain ground.

“There has been an impact of Muslim women in the fashion industry over the years,” she told Women’s eNews recently, in an interview on the set of a photo shoot.

She mixes colors and patterns; layers lace and silk; mingles items of short and long length; and uses bold accessories. In photo shoots her models wear high-heeled platform shoes, bright and neon colors. Pants can be fashioned into head wraps.

Naili, quoting estimates by Dubai-based French Fashion University ESMOD, says the global Muslim fashion industry could be worth $96 billion a year.

The modesty factor of Muslim fashion has a wide reach. Seventy percent of 700 respondents surveyed online said they couldn’t find anything completely covered yet fashionable when they go to the malls, according to a survey by Abaya Addict, a U.S. company based in Dubai. Ten percent of those who couldn’t find what they wanted at the mall were Christians looking for modest attire suitable to wear to church.


  1. can’t wait for the muslim fashion show in Hershey, PA this year! We inshallah will be in attendance: emeraldstotheeye.blogspot.com

  2. With the current trends of sui-dhimmification one can easily imagine there will be no other kinds of fashion shows but these in about 30-50 years from now.

  3. Muslim fashion is growing day by day because of the Muslim fashion bloggers and the providers of fashionable Islamic wear. It would now keep growing more and more hopefully.

  4. I’m glad to see such faithful thinking nowadays from young people specially those living in the secular countries. However, there is no rule in Islam or somewhere else that prohibits you from wearing such Islamic cloths and no one would be offended by it.

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