Fashion and Personal Style

Fashion and cosmetics are a vehicle for the expression of personal style, and for many young observant Muslim women that style is governed by different customs than those present in mainstream fashion. Several Muslim American women have become important fashion designers, such as Nzinga Knight, who appeared on Project Runway, and Nailah Lymus who has founded both a fashion line and a modeling agency for Muslims.

Thousands of other Muslim fashionistas have taken to Instagram and Tumblr to share their take on modest fashion. You can find good examples of their style on these sites by using specific hashtags, usually playing on the word “hijab.” Some examples are: #hijabfashion, #hijabi, #hijab. Searches for #modestfashion will often show Muslim, Jewish, and Christian fashionistas who share a love for modest fashion.

Exploring social media for expressions of personal style is best supported with some secondary scholarship that contextualizes the veil both historically and socially.

Secondary Scholarship on Fashion and Personal Style

Amer, Sahar, What is Veiling? Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2014.

  • This brand new work provides an introduction to Islamic veiling intended for a broad readership. It provides helpful context for discussing Islamic modest dress in terms of Islamic history, law, and regional variation.

Mir, Shabana, “You Can’t Really Look Normal and Dress Modestly: Muslim Women and their Clothes on Campus.” In Muslim American Women on Campus, by Shabana Mir, 87‐125. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2014.

  • Mir’s book is an award‐winning ethnographic study of young women in the Washington, DC area. Many other chapters might prove useful for courses that introduce Islam in America to college and high school students.