I’ll Show You Islamic Hood (ie)

This was written by Taz and originally published at Sepia Mutiny. Muslimah Media Watch thanks Cycads for the tip!

Our recently retired around the way desi girl made a come back this past week in New York. Not in music, but in fashion. Yes, the queen of sparkly spandex and fake purple flowers on derby hats debuted her new line at same time as New York’s Fashion Week.

As promised, M.I.A. has launched her limited-edition clothing line, and the “Okley Run” store is open for business on her Web site. While the prints are pretty much as outlandish as you expect, the prices for each individual piece are a bit insane—and not in the “clashing colors that actually look better and better the more you focus on their dissonance” way, or even the Crazy Eddie way*. [idolator]

A quick glance of the online store had me come to a screeching halt — directly on the image of a sweatshirt labeled, “Islamic Hoodie.” It could be that the fasting from Ramadan has me extra sensitive, but it seems that everywhere I look I see images of hijabs as the latest fashion icon. I saw it on a shirt at a festival last week, and now this. On the Okley Run site the image of the sweatshirt could not be enlarged but I did see the eyes of a woman in niqab with what seemed like an explosion over her head. Could that really be what she was trying to say? What could M.I.A. have meant by this logo?

This would take some investigative blogging. The image on her site was simply not clear enough to decipher. Luckily, I just happen to live in one of the two cities where Opening Ceremony, the only store carrying her line retail, is – Los Angeles.

I checked it out this past Sunday. The store was ridiculously pretentious, and M.I.A.’s clothing line stood out clearly amongst the sea of black. A few things about her clothing line…

a) It feels cheap. You know how it looks like it should be printed on American Apparel softness? In reality it feels gritty and like the lowest quality generic Hanes T-shirt.

b) It is expensive. $190 for a hoodie? $210 for the Mexico jacket which really just looks like a rug cut-up? Are you kidding me? $70 for a tank top?

c) The silk screened ink looks like it’d wash off after a couple of runs in the laundry.

d) Only Hollywood hipsters would be suckers enough to throw down that kind of money for that poor quality clothing. I think M.I.A. knows this and is brilliant to gimmick herself like this. (I must admit, I almost got suckered into buying her watermelon sweatshirt.)

We snuck into the dressing room, took some pictures, got told we couldn’t take the pictures and ran out before the camera could be confiscated. All that so that I could get this image for you.

Upon closer inspection I realized that it was not a bomb exploding over the niqab-ed eyes, but a thought bubble exploding or as some friends have pointed out, the Yo MTV Raps logo upside down. For some reason, that made me feel a little better. I have my own theories of what the image is trying to say – but I want to throw it out to the Mutiny — what do you think M.I.A. is trying to say with this image?

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  • Um Omar

    So, you are saying this was designed by a Muslim? I am disappointed. Why should people go around with Muslim women on their clothes? Trashy attempt at fashion and we could go as far to say discriminatory.

    Maybe the bubble is saying that people don’t really know what Muslim women are saying/thinking? That is a guess.

  • http://jamericanmuslimah.wordpress.com Jamerican Muslimah

    Can I just say that the hoodie is hideous…

  • Rchoudh

    I believe this clothing was designed by MIA, a female Sri Lankan Tamil rapper. She’s gotten into a bit of controversy in the past over her stance on terrorism (her father was a member of the group the Tamil Tigers). She’s never come out and mentioned explicitly what she thinks of terrorism, making her fans debate over whether she’s for or against it. I do remember her coming out and saying how wrong it was for America to invade Iraq on the pretext of combating terrorism.

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  • Doris Sondra

    MIA… can be both for AND against terrorism…
    The idea of Tamil Tigers as a terrorist group is actually a one sided notion… the governments’ idea. And that is only because the Tigers are actually defending people that are victims of genocide and unfair bloodshed. That is to say that if you were to step in and defend a innocent child from being raped.. u would be captured and charged (well killed) as a member of the Tigers.
    Therefore in this case Terrorism isnt about terrorizing at all !!!
    Similarly, I think the image of a muslim woman is also left open to interpretation….
    The “Speech bubble” (not Thought bubble) is actually directed at the wearer.. therefore opening up the person to vocalize their opinion.

    A waste of money if the wearer is just donning it as fad… but if not.. its great to create awareness to the proper idea behind a Hijab

  • weirdO

    Well, I’ve listened to her music before, and I would expect this from M.I.A.’s clothes line. I’m not a super-fan of her work or anything, but anyone can tell from her lyrics (google sunshowers lyrics if you want a sample of them) that she has a tendency to use a theme that makes most people uncomfortable (i.e., terrorism, politics, or whatever) and shove it up your face through song- and people can take a hundred different meanings away from her songs. Her clothing line, or at least this particular hoodie, is no different.