“American Beauty” is a new series in which Yahoo Lifestyle takes a virtual cross-country journey to discover what beauty means — reimagining the American flag through the diverse group of faces that make up the United States of America. For our first installment, we’re focusing on Muslim-American women, highlighting what makes this group unique while showcasing the common threads that bring us together.
Historically, Muslim women have leaned toward pious fashion, many wearing a hijab that conceals their hair and various body parts because of their religious beliefs. However, there are multiple ways to uniquely wear a hijab, so while many in the Western world may find them a limitation on creativity, the reality is fashion has no limits when one has a unique perspective or imagination.
The true expression of one’s identity in fashion lies in the idea of uniqueness; it doesn’t have one look, or style, or trend. One can dress modestly and and still be stylish — the two are not mutually exclusive, and it seems the fashion industry is finally beginning to catch on.
This is certainly not the first time faith and fashion have intersected. Just this year, the Met Gala’s theme, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” explored the impact of religious art on fashion, tapping into the work of designers such as Dolce & Gabbana, Thom Browne and others who have used spiritual and religious references in their sartorial collections. As times have changed culturally and politically, fashion has as well. Culture is slowly catching up with the times and needs of Muslim women, largely due to influential hijabi bloggers who have used their platforms to normalize Muslim women embracing their style.
From Dolce & Gabbana’s hijab and abaya line to H&M’s modest collection full of frills, pleats, and sass, designers for brands have begun to understand that fashion options are a necessity whether there are religious aspects or not. And more Muslim women are stepping up to show it is possible to both follow your faith and find fulfillment in fashion.
Fashion bloggers such as Saufeeya Goodson, Habiba Da Silva, Dina Torkia, and Amena Khan have drawn hundreds of thousands of followers who tune in to their daily #OOTDs (outfit of the days), demonstrating that fashion is its own language and identity, and that anyone can experience it in their own way. Truly, that’s what fashion should be about — making honest self-expression work for you — however that looks and feels.
Yahoo Lifestyle interviewed six Chicago Muslim women to discuss their personal connections to faith and fashion, as well as the misconceptions they face about their their identity while living and working in America.
Photography: Jamie Berg for Yahoo Lifestyle
Read more on Muslim-American women in our American Beauty package: