Hijabs, Headbands, and Stoles… Oh My! | Religious Freedom Meets Runway Chic

Uniqlo’s new collaborative collection with Hana Tajima (available in stores today) features minimalistic colors with gem tones, sculptural flattering silhouettes in breathable fabrics that are modest, and offers full coverage. You can also purchase matching accessories like hijabs, headbands, and stoles. The collection ranges in price from $4.90 for headwear to $49.90 for outerwear.

Why is this important?

Most mainstream retailers do not sell chic, modern, and inclusive clothing at reasonable prices. I mean, most don’t even sell head coverings at all! When you search “buy hijab” on google the top retailers are oddly specific (buyhibaj.com for example), plus there’s not a recognizable department store on the first few pages.

It seems that in Western Culture our universal style guide is being unique; having the choice and freedom to wear what we think is attractive and will set a tone for how we want to be perceived. Want to be “cool”? Wear some new sneakers. Want to be “hipster”? Throw on some carefully curated vintage clothes. You get it.

Wearing clothes – or more accurately, choosing which clothes to wear – is, for many people, an important part of expression as confirmed by Article 19 of the UDHR.

The clothes that people choose to wear can identify a great number of things about a person: religious affiliations, ethnicity, national or political identity, culture, or race. Arguably, the clothes that an impoverished person wears can indicate their poverty. This sign of poverty or poorer economic status can be a cause of discrimination and of vilification. Additionally, clothing which is culturally distinctive or denotes religious affiliation could provoke discrimination and lead to a denial of social, economic, or political opportunities.

Stephen James

But why when we are given the freedom and choice to wear what we want do we criticize other cultures for their choices? 

An interview was done for Metro News UK with Nazma Khan, the founder of World Hijab Day. She explained her thoughts, feelings, and reasons for wearing her hijab and why we, as a Western culture, should not jump to conclusions or make judgments simply based on a woman’s choice to wear what she wants. 

The hijab makes me feel empowered, by putting forth my faith and being identified as a Muslim woman. Every day, hijab gently reminds me to be modest, kind, and honest in my dealings with the world.The hijab also serves as a self-awareness that there’s a bigger purpose in life which I need to work toward every day in order to make this world a better place. It’s a fulfilling reminder.

 

Still think the hijab oppressive? Nazma feels quite the opposite.

 

I see the hijab as a symbol of freedom because with it, I no longer have to comply with the expected standards of the society showcased by magazines, TV, or celebrity lifestyles. Hijab gives me the freedom to set my own standards to live up to without worrying about what the world has to say, which is to me is extremely liberating!

We are free to wear what we want and respect should come along with it. You may “not be able to help” making judgments at first glance, but next time you go to judge a woman based on her clothing choices- remember that you’re not the one wearing it nor, does your opinion matter.

Uniqlo’s new collection can add some amazing foundational pieces to your wardrobe at a fraction of the cost as you would find at something similar to Madison Ave. (Ahem, Celine.)

 

 

 

Sasha

Co- Founder of Psych n Sex, previous writer and campus educator for the Kinsey Institute & published psychology researcher. Manhattan girl obsessed with post ww2 abstract expressionism, beet juice, vintage clothing & Scandinavia.

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