As a hijab wearing Muslim woman, it pleases me to see hijabis getting recognition. Companies have noticed Muslim women's presence and have started catering to their modest fashion needs. For example, Nike recently came out with a line suitable for Muslim women and those that wish to dress in conservative sports gear. It even includes a head piece with the classic Nike logo.
Uniqlo, a Japanese clothing brand, has also just released a collection of headscarves. Even designer companies, such as Dolce and Gabbana, have come out with floral printed hijabs and abayas for Muslim women to wear. Brands like DKNY and H&M have previously come out with Ramadan modest clothing collections.
Understandably, many Muslims are welcoming these companies' moves. Why not? It is a sign that we are being acknowledged as consumerists. Companies have discovered a niche in the market from social media where hijab fashion bloggers have created a platform for themselves and are using apps, in particular Instagram, to showcase modest fashion. Some of the most popular 'hijabi fashionistas' have up to two million followers. These Muslim women have gone beyond fashion and into beauty; there are now thousands of hijab wearing women across the world creating makeup tutorials on how to achieve the perfect winged eyeliner.
However, with the good comes the bad. Are hijabis turning the hijab into everything it stands against?
Aside from the hijab representing modesty, it represents liberation; a stand against objectification and sexualisation. When a woman covers herself, she compels people to judge her on the basis of her character and her actions; not the way she looks. A hijab is not merely a scarf but a way to free oneself from societies that tell women that their worth is determined by their appearance.
But have we Muslim women succumbed to idealistic beauty standards, and have we simply made the headscarf a fashion trend; an accessory rather than our identity as followers of the Islamic faith? It seems as though we have now submitted to society's beauty demands that we had been resisting since the beginning of Islam. We are now following all the latest trends and styles; the only difference is that we have a scarf wrapped around our heads. The hijab is in the process of being commercialised and multinational companies are capitalising from it.
Companies should not stop catering to Muslim women's clothing needs. After years of not being recognised as consumers, we are now spoilt for choice. However, as Muslim women, we should remember exactly what the hijab symbolises and do it justice, and not allow our appearances to define who we are or let fashion engulf us.
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