What Muslims Wear

By halima khanom on 29 Sep 2014

What Muslims wear

Sparked by my own reservations around an existing display of Muslim dress in the museum’s galleries, I was interested in exploring representations of Muslim Londoners through our fashion collections. A Muslim Londoner myself, I felt that this outfit – collected nearly 15 years ago now – did not reflect the creative, stylish and modest Muslim men and women that I know. The ‘What Muslims Wear’ project sought to diversify the Museum of London’s understanding of Muslim dress styles in London, by working with young Londoners to collect outfits that reflect Muslim dress in the capital today.

These stylish Muslims were performers, artists, fashion designers and journalists. Some had been Muslim all their lives, while others had converted just in the past few years, but all of them were exploring what it meant to look Muslim in London today, reflecting on the spiritual, practical and experimental motivations that inform their dress choices. Working with artists Fourth Wall Creations we set about collecting six worn outfits from young Muslim Londoners, three of which I wanted to share here.

What Muslims wear, Hiba

Hiba, a young Muslim Londoner of Eritrean heritage wore this outfit on her first day as a student at the London College of Fashion in 2013. She was keen to express her Muslim identity, whilst still being on trend. She described her look as the ‘urban’ hijabi look, practical, edgy and keeping up with her hectic London lifestyle.

Saif, What Muslims wear
Saif wore this outfit during Eid celebrations in 2008, when he visited family and friends in East London. Saif’s outfit encapsulates his Bangladeshi heritage, as well as his East London roots.

Yasmin, What Muslims wear
Yasmin wore this outfit when she interviewed well known Muslim author and role model, Yasmin Mogahed for the Islam Channel, aired on Boxing Day, 2012. This was one of Yasmin’s first TV appearances.

The process of collecting the six outfits was observed and captured by illustrators OOMK (One of My Kind) and summarised in the ‘What Muslims Wear’ booklet capturing the Museum of London’s Muslim dress collection of 2014. You’ll be able to see some of the outfits collected in the museum’s Galleries of Modern London very soon!

3 thoughts on “What Muslims Wear

  1. Kapalı Giyim says:

    Muslims no longer forget their own clothing style clothing style of people of different religions have embodied.

  2. Magda Craciun says:

    Dear Halima (if I may!), many thanks for this inspirational blog post! I am an anthropologist based at University College London. I carried out field research in Istanbul on the Islamic fashion industry in Turkey. I am currently writing a book on this topic for Bloomsbury Academic, striving to convey the ethico-aesthetic sensibility that is forged in and through fashionable yet modest Islamic dress. I am also trying to present my work to a wider non-academic audience. Any advice would be more than welcome. Thank you! Magda

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