Aug 19, 2013

‘Project Hijabi’: The Muslim Fashion Label - PART 1

By Anum Ali

Read Part 2 here


The modern day definition of fashion is tainted with ideas of physical exposure, sexuality, beauty, politics, drug abuse, homosexuality, and inappropriate imagery. Considering this definition, fashion is a straight-away NO in Islam for the beautiful reason that the religion condemns all of the above-mentioned. In contrast, considering its real definition, fashion is about staying up to date, making the right statement, portrayal of the right image, personal grooming, looking beautiful, and putting creative talents to the right use. This is more suitable and more acceptable, provided that trends are created and followed within the parameters of a Sunnah lifestyle, as prescribed by Prophet Muhammad salallahu alayhi wasallam.

The Sunnah Dress Code
For fashion-forward Muslim ladies, it is an essential reminder that compromising the Hijab code or awrah requirements, i.e. revealing more than the face, hands, and feet to non-mehram males, is simply prohibited. Coverage, modesty, and layering are the basic rules to follow as prescribed by Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wasallam. Some rules are exempted for ladies-only gatherings. For instance, the Hijab code can be compromised at ladies-only parties, provided nobody is taking photographs for Facebook!

In addition to restrictions on exposure, symbolism and imitation of the attire of people of other religions, photographs of living beings, outrageous styles, and display of excessive wealth and luxury have also been condemned. Apart from the restrictions, certain recommendations are also found in the Hadith. For example, there is a mention of an additional cover such as a long scarf to be worn over dressing to cover the chest for females. Black color is considered the best for women and red is condemned for men because it is worn by non-believers’ religious folk. Considerable print and patterns are addressed as good for females.

The Conservative Confusion and the Possibilities
The traditional Islamic standards of conservativeness and feminine modesty are often mistaken by both Muslims and non-Muslims. The misconception remains that an extremely loose Jilbab, equal to a circus tent, and black, is the only garment permissible for a Muslim woman. The jilbab is a traditional garment which serves the purpose of coverage and modesty exceptionally well, but other covering and modest dress forms are certainly not prohibited.

In conversation with Hijab Trendz, Nina Garcia Fashion Director at Marie Claire magazine and judge of Project Runway said about fashion possibilities for Muslim women:
“Never confuse conservative and covered with shapeless and genderless. Opera gloves are a perfect example of ultra-feminine but extremely modest dressing.”

Muslim women, and men, have the liberty to dress contemporary while adhering to religious codes of dressing. Adornments, embellishments, and cosmetics can most definitely be worn at ladies-only parties, colors and patterns can be incorporated into daily wear, and several flowing and loose dressing alternatives are available besides the traditional jilbab. Conservative; therefore, does not imply wearing a paper bag or a trash bag in everyday life. Keeping them loose does not imply buying clothes three sizes bigger than you. One size bigger in blouses and shirts, baggy trousers under below knee-length tunics, and skirts would do the trick. The idea is to hide the figure but flatter your human silhouette so you appear socially acceptable and not shabbily dressed.

The Muslim Fashion Label
No item of clothing is prohibited for Muslim women, not even the Victoria’s Secret range, provided that the limitations of awrah (body parts to be covered), visibility to non-mehrams (men you can potentially marry), and religious distinction from nonbelievers are maintained. This statement must have already tickled the critics’ nerves by now, but it is the truth. Muslims can most definitely set their fashion lines with a diverse range of apparel inclusive of undergarments, casual wear, party wear, and bridal wear. The idea is to sell those ideas right, with fashion advice on how to assemble outfits for modesty.

We are aware of the basic loose garments rule which does not reveal a woman’s figure, displaying the outline of two legs when she’s walking or exposing her awrah i.e. the entire body except the face, hands, and feet. Besides the jilbab, gypsy skirts, loose blouses, and even the Indian Pakistani “Shalwar Kameez”, i.e. loose trousers and loose long tunics with a long scarf, are great dressing alternatives. Western dressing styles such as long sun dresses and gowns can also be revamped, e.g. outfits with overcoat on top or loose blouse options to equate the jilbab.

Some obvious bits you might want to avoid are skinny jeans (unless you wear them under your skirt to keep warm), churidaars (Indian Pakistani version of skinny trousers), short shirts that hang above the hips, heavily decorated clothing, and tight clothing. These are not a complete no-no because at a ladies party you can always wear them. This, however, must be worn with care because often photos are taken and they end up on social media sites.

In Part 2 we shall see the other aspects of fashion industry which are having an impact on Muslims.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please post in the comments section below :)


Subhanallah! I've been looking for answers to questions regarding specifics of Women's clothing in Islam and this article targetted it all! Also check out part 3 in

What is the opinion on wearing gold/silver/artificial jewellery out in public?

Post a Comment