Stylist discusses modesty in American Muslim women’s fashion – The GW Hatchet


Media credit: Danielle Towers | Photo editor assistant

Ali said that the increase in Muslim representation in US media over the past few years has helped humanize the Muslim community.

The George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum hosted a webinar on modesty in American Muslim women’s fashion last week.

Saba Ali, a stylist based in Northern California, explained how the documentary “Fashioning Faith,” which explores American Muslim fashion in the early 2000s, and her career at the de Young Museum in San Francisco have contributed to the development of Muslim fashion over the past decade. Lori Kartchner, Curator of Education at the Textile Museum, moderated the Event, which is part of the museum’s Fashion on Film series.

Ali said she got to know the museum through its outreach program with the American Muslim community in the San Francisco Bay area. She said that by becoming one of the museum’s resident stylists and advisers, she was asked to help organize the museum’s Contemporary Muslim Fashions exhibit in 2017.

She said the exhibition featured 50 different designers and 80 sets from various spheres of culture and influence outside of the Muslim world.

“They wanted to make sure they were doing it in a way that was culturally sensitive to our community and that was actually representative of the Muslim fashion angle,” Ali said.

She said she strapped hijabs on mannequins and loaned her personal wedding attire and family jewelry to the show to bring her own stylistic sensibility. She said she wanted to represent Pakistani Muslim clothing that couldn’t be sourced from South Asian designers when developing the exhibition.

“If you’ve watched the movie you might have noticed women saying, ‘Hey, we want people to come and ask us about this rather than make assumptions or fall for the stereotypes that are out there.’ so I am really convinced that I have a dialogue around these subjects, ”said Ali.

Ali said she has seen people approach her with slower speeches due to assumptions and stereotypes, believing her to be an American immigrant. She said some Americans assume that veiled women wear their clothes forcibly and that their decision to dress modestly is not theirs.

“Within religion there are different schools of thought – you might notice that some women cover their faces and some don’t,” Ali said. “Even given the scriptures and the rules, different women interpret and apply the guidelines according to their own lifestyle. “

She said young American Muslim women have been able to model Muslim fashion on social media and mainstream platforms like Instagram, educating users and being a source of representation and inspiration for other Muslim women. She said that greater Muslim representation in the US media has recently been helpful in humanizing Muslims instead of stereotyping the community.

“It’s really amazing how much everything has changed over the past five years,” Ali said.

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