Under the hijab – mixing today’s fashion with the rules of the religion
I interviewed a friend on what her views are on Islamic clothing restrictions for young Muslim women, what do her clothes say about her and how does her clothing choice change depending on where she is? As well as wearing colourful clothes I want to write about how she manages to mix her traditional clothes with western fashion, keeping within the rules of her religion. By Alice Lough
In Islamic tradition Muslim women are expected to cover their bodies adequately, they follow a strict dress code which instructs them to only show their hands, feet and faces In addition, the clothing must be neither see-through or tight fitting. This dress code should identify them as respectful ladies and that they should be honoured not harassed. Wearing these clothes should establish an Islamic identity and draw attention away from men.
Q: What do the traditional Muslim clothes you wear mean to you?
They express how I feel when I’m wearing them and they also express where I’m from and what my culture is.
Q: What do your clothes say about your identity?
They make me who I am, they make me feel proud to wear them because they say a lot about me. I think all Muslims understand this, they know what they are representing.
Q: How does your religion effect what clothes you wear?
I am unable to wear tight clothing, but I don’t really mind. I understand the reason why I shouldn’t be allowed to wear those sorts of clothes, luckily I get to wear skinny jeans which are a sort of substitute.
Q: How do you mix your own clothes with today’s gear?
Essentially I mix and match clothes, a bit of both, for example today I’m wearing a Kamez garment with leggings. I like putting my own fabrics with shop bought clothes.
Q: How does your clothes choice differ depending on where you are?
At home I can relax and wear what I decide, but outside in public I have to be careful what I choose. Some of my friends must cover themselves at all times, others can wear what they want, outside and inside providing they keep their dignity. Being ignorant about your body is a sin in Islam.
Q: What do you think of people’s perception of what you wear, does it matter to you?
I wear the clothes for myself not for them, some people give me odd looks but I don’t care, I stare back.
Q: When you go to the mosque, how do you adapt your clothes?
I wear a hijab which hides my hair and means privacy and keeps me modest, I can’t swear or misbehave, my dresses have to be long, I can wear modern clothes too though, maxi dresses are acceptable.
Q: How does your religion clash with your school uniform?
Because I’m not allowed to show my legs or wear tight things, skirts and tights are banned. I wear trousers all the time and keep my jumper over my shirt.
Q: Are you happy with the restrictions on what you get to wear?
I am mostly happy because I’m used to what I get to wear, they are not really rules to me. Not being able to wear shorts in the summer annoys me because I get hot, but at least I can wear the skinny jeans.
Q: Do you have anything else to add?
My clothes symbolise who I am and when I wear them they tell people these are the things that make me, me.