Underwraps: Defining Modesty on the Runway

Hajer Naili, Underwraps model via The Huffington Post

Through the years MMW has had the opportunity to analyze Muslim women’s role in fashion in a variety of contexts. Some of our articles have discussed fashion in the context of in Mali, Russia and Chechnya, and a piece by Sharrae featured what is thought to be the only Muslim Model agency: Underwraps. Underwraps is famous not only for its inclusion of hijab-wearing women, but also for its founder Nailah Lymus, featured in one of my pieces in 2011. Last week, Underwraps Model Agency made it … [Read more...]

Fashion as Resistance: The Case of Mali

Mariah Bocoum

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post discussing the attempt among Muslim leaders in Russia to prove that Russian Muslim women are modern and fashionable, unlike Muslims elsewhere. Soon after, fashion made headlines again, this time in the case of Mali, with Yahoo! News reporting on Darkar Fashion Week 2012. The event, which takes place in Senegal, has been attracting designers from all over Africa for the past ten years. The event has been reported to attempt to bring Africa forward in the … [Read more...]

Casting Call for Muslim Women

Have you ever dreamed of being a hijabi in couture, strutting the runway in the fashion metropolises of Milan, New York or Paris without having to unravel that scarf you hold dear?  Well, maybe you haven’t, but if you have, you’re in luck: thanks to Muslim fashion designer, Nailah Lymus, your dream may be in reach. In November, Eren wrote a great piece on Muslim and Arab women breaking onto the fashion scene, and discussed Lymus’ commitment to changing the industry. UNDERWRAPS is … [Read more...]

Against All Odds: Muslim Fashion Designers on the Politics of Clothing

Although Muslim women are often portrayed in the media as wearing nothing but black abbayas, black hijabs and, often times, burkas and niqabs, Muslim women are claiming a place within the fashion industry. On one hand, some Muslim women have become visible as models; on the other, some are working to change things for those looking for stylish clothes that meet their standards for modesty. Nonetheless, this does not come without challenges. In the aftermath of 9/11 and the after-effects … [Read more...]

On Mannequins and Messaging in the New York Times

This article was written for Muslimah Media Watch by Anny Gaul. Yesterday, The New York Times ran an article about what Iraqi women are wearing these days. It paints a picture of a once-secular society’s pluralism run amok: “Vendors around the Kadhimiya mosque in northern Baghdad sell all manner of women’s clothing, from drape-like black abayas to racy evening wear. But on a recent afternoon, Hameed Ibrahim ushered his family toward a different kind of fashion display.” The piece goes … [Read more...]

Fashion Statements

This is an edited version of an article published at Café Pyala. You can read the article in its entirety at their website. Oh, shoot. Here we go again with coverage of Fashion Week in Pakistan. Can we do anything in Pakistan without it being linked in some way to either appeasing the Taliban or kicking sand in their faces? I refer of course to the latest "I-spit-on-the-runway-the-Taliban-sashay-down" type of pieces in the American Christian Science Monitor (titled predictably "Lahore … [Read more...]

An Interview with Emma Tarlo, Author of Visibly Muslim

Last week, I reviewed Emma Tarlo's book Visibly Muslim: Fashion, Politics, Faith. This week, I got the chance to speak with her further about the book and her experiences writing it. Sara: Was there any inter-generational tension involving “newer” hijab fashions? Emma Tarlo: With most of the people I interviewed, their mothers did not wear hijab so the parents did not object. In a few cases mothers even adopted hijab following their daughters’ examples. More often, I came across cases … [Read more...]


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