How Muslim Women Are Taking Fashion to the Next Level

Contemporary Muslim Fashions
'Contemporary Muslim Fashions' explores the rich diversity of the world's fastest-growing fashion demographic. De Young Museum

The Quran speaks of the virtue of haya, or modesty, and most Westerners are familiar with the traditional hijab and burqa. But Muslim women have always interpreted the call for modest clothing in diverse ways, with styles that allows for personal creativity and social commentary. 

The exhibit "Contemporary Muslim Fashions," which opened at San Francisco's De Young Museum and is now heading to Frankfurt's Museum Angewandte Kunst, challenges stereotypes about how Muslim women express style, with bold designs from Muslim designers like Faiza Bouguessa, as well as garments by Western companies like Christian Dior and Nike that address the needs of Islamic women, a fast-growing fashion sector worth an estimated $44 billion annually.

Now out on Prestel Publishing, the accompanying exhibition book Contemporary Muslim Fashions bursts with rich photography and insightful essays and personal narratives exploring how Muslim women's fashions—from streetwear to couture—are shaped by local culture, global trends, religious beliefs and personal choice.

“Fashion is at its best when it both adapts to the needs of society and reflects its social and political undercurrents,” says curator Jill D’Alessandro, who organized the exhibition. “It is in this transformative moment where we now find modest fashion.”

Contemporary Muslim Fashions is out now on Prestel Publishing. The "Contemporary Muslim Fashions" exhibit opens at Frankfurt's Museum Angewandte Kunst on April 4, 2019.

 

Contemporary Muslim Fashions
Kenyan-American model Halima Aden models for Dian Pelangi, House of Coqueta. Photographed by Sebastian Kim. De Young Museum
Contemporary Muslim Fashions
MARY KATRANTZOU skirt and shirt, MALONE SOULIERS shoes, December 2017 Silk, polyester. Photo by Brian Daly Worn by Raquel Pascual at Milk. De Young Museum
Contemporary Muslim Fashions
Model: Halima Aden, Photographer: Sebastian Kim De Young Museum
Contemporary Muslim Fashions
Faiza Bouguessa (b. France, 1983) for Faiza Bouguessa (United Arab Emirates, est. 2014), Geometric Abaya Dress with Belt, 2014, polyester crepe, silk lining. De Young Museum
Contemporary Muslim Fashions
Dian Pelangi (Indonesian, b. 1991) for New York Fashion Week, 2017, Ensemble: Cap, Headscarf, Top, Jacket, Skirt and Pants, 2017, Thai silk, batik Thai silk with songket (supplementary- weft patterning), striped silk (Tenun Salur), wood beaded appliqué. De Young Museum
Contemporary Muslim Fashions
RAŞIT BAĞZIBAĞLI (b. 1985, United Kingdom) for MODANISA (est. 2011, Turkey) “Desert Dream” ensemble (evening gown, shawl, and turban), Spring/Summer 2018 Polyester chiffon. De Young Museum
Contemporary Muslim Fashions
Rebecca Kellett (b. United Kingdom, 1993) for Rebecca Kellett (est. London, 2015), Ensemble: Dress, Belt, Headscarf, Neckpiece, Sunglasses, and Boots, Autumn/Winter 2017, digital printed satin, synthetic net, plastic sequins, PVC, plastic, and acrylic yarn; silk plain weave; synthetic polymer (polystyrene); acetate, Swarovski crystals, and 24-karat gold; and leather. Neckpiece designed by Della Reed, sunglasses designed by Anna-Karin Karlsson, and boots by Dr. Martens. Kellett: R. (2017) UTOPIA, Saatchi Gallery. De Young Museum
Contemporary Muslim Fashions
Haslinda Rahim (b. Malaysia, 1971) for Blancheur (Malaysian, est. 2014), Ensemble: Jourdain Double Collar Jacket, Inner Shirt, Boned-Pants, and Signature Hijab and Iman Headscarf, Spring/Summer 2017, light wool, silk. Courtesy of Blancheur. De Young Museum
Contemporary Muslim Fashions
Celine Semaan Vernon. U.S. Constitution and First Amendment flight jacket (2007). Silk-screened polyester. De Young Museum
Contemporary Muslim Fashions
Photography by Langston Hues (American, b.1988), Untitled, Putra Jaya, Malaysia, 2013-2015. Courtesy of the artist. De Young Museum
Contemporary Muslim Fashions
SHADOW ABAYA by SHADOW (est. 2015, Kuwait), Ensemble (“Black Peacock” cape abaya with attached belt), Early Fall 2017 Triacetate with patina, rhinestones, crystals, and pearlized Swarovski crystal embellishments. De Young Museum