Hijab, Islamic fashion, and modest clothing

Hybrids of modernity and religious commodity

Authored by: Faegheh Shirazi

The Routledge Handbook of Islam and Gender

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815367772
eBook ISBN: 9781351256568
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781351256568-27

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Abstract

The war on terror and Western political meddling in Muslim-majority nations have galvanized the consumer market to use Islam as a commodified brand catering to Muslims, while retailors tap into the multibillion-dollar global Muslim market. I argue that Muslims choose to lead a life of faithfulness combined with the convenience of modernity, believing that modernity and adherence to one’s religious beliefs are compatible. I conclude that Islamic consumption of religious commodities includes the element of piety as well. Clothing is versatile both in purpose and in its societal meanings, and Islamic hijab/veiling serves as a good example of how its meaning can change from a cultural and religious understanding in the past to what it means today with many additional layers of meaning. Islamic fashion is a rapidly growing lucrative business that is reshaping the religious, cultural, and economic lives of Muslims not only in Muslim-majority nations but also globally. In this chapter I explore the hybridity and modernity of the most iconic symbol of Muslim women, the hijab, from the organized fashion shows to the use of the hijab as a marker of rebellion against the compulsory hijab in Iran, support of My Stealthy Freedom and White Wednesdays movements, and the use of the internet, online chats, and personal pages to discuss the purchase and sale of modest fashion in a global market.

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