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Is Modest Fashion Counter-intuitive? (Podcast)

The very concept of hijab is now being tested – and Hafsa brings up the very important point that modesty for Muslim men (or men in general) is almost never brought up in conversations around modest fashion.

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The very concept of hijab is now being tested – and Hafsa brings up the very important point that modesty for Muslim men (or men in general) is almost never brought up in conversations around modest fashion.

On this week’s TMV Podcast, Chief Editor Salim Kassam and fashion photographer Husam Al-Deen spoke to author and journalist Hafsa Lodi on her new book Modesty: A Fashion Paradox, as well as topics around modest fashion, the hijab, and the double standards women face in a patriarchal world.

To listen to the full podcast, click below:

For Hafsa, the reasoning behind the research and publishing of her book was the trend in recent years of modest fashion – it was now becoming mainstream to see women wearing the hijab or modest clothing in some of the biggest runways in Paris, New York, and Milan. But why? And what connection does modest fashion really have to Islam or to Muslims in general?

Hafsa explains that although there are many positives to this movement, there is also an economic one. “The perceived Muslim spending power has been the catalyst”, explains Hafsa, and that one of the main reasons why modest fashion is trending so much right now is because that is where the money is. The huge spending market of modest fashion is set to be worth up to $402bn by 2024 – and it seems to be only growing.

But the concept of modesty, as well as the notions of hijab, have been under the microscope recently with many criticizing Muslim women who are a part of the social media and modest fashion scenes around the world. Hafsa disagrees with the notion of quickly judging these women, however, noting that it is almost always the women of any society who bear the brunt of judgments and societal pressure:

We always get so carried away as judgers…modesty is a spectrum, and each woman just falls somewhere on that spectrum.”

Social media does have its downfalls, however, and Hafsa warns of the rabbit holes one can fall into once in the world of Instagram posts, likes, and number of followers:

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Now social media has blown everything out of proportion…of course when people become narcissictic and fame-driven, those aren’t Islamic principles or principles that fit with modesty…there is a definite clash with modesty and Islam in this regards.”

The very concept of hijab is now being tested – and Hafsa brings up the very important point that modesty for Muslim men (or men in general) is almost never brought up in conversations around modest fashion. In a world where women are quick to be judged – no matter what they are wearing – it remains more important than ever to remember the bigger picture:

Muslims are under a microscope…but just having Muslim women look stylish while adhering to modesty is really a positive movement overall.”

To listen to the full podcast, where Hafsa expands on the ideas around hijab in the Middle East versus the West, the stories behind the women who have been social media influences in modest fashion, and where the world lies today in the transition between hijab then versus now, click below for the fascinating discussion:

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