Muslim Fashion

Contemporary Style Cultures

Muslim Fashion

Book Pages: 400 Illustrations: 87 photographs, incl. 17 in co Published: September 2015

Author: Reina Lewis

Art and Visual Culture > Fashion, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Middle East Studies

In the shops of London's Oxford Street, girls wear patterned scarves over their hair as they cluster around makeup counters. Alongside them, hip twenty-somethings style their head-wraps in high black topknots to match their black boot-cut trousers. Participating in the world of popular mainstream fashion—often thought to be the domain of the West—these young Muslim women are part of an emergent cross-faith transnational youth subculture of modest fashion. In treating hijab and other forms of modest clothing as fashion, Reina Lewis counters the overuse of images of veiled women as "evidence" in the prevalent suggestion that Muslims and Islam are incompatible with Western modernity. Muslim Fashion contextualizes modest wardrobe styling within Islamic and global consumer cultures, interviewing key players including designers, bloggers, shoppers, store clerks, and shop owners. Focusing on Britain, North America, and Turkey, Lewis provides insights into the ways young Muslim women use multiple fashion systems to negotiate religion, identity, and ethnicity.


"Muslim Fashion is a thorough and thoughtful study of what it means to be a hijabi in a time and place where religion, politics, ethnicity, class, gender, generation and nationality meet and potentially clash. ... In treating hijab as fashion, Lewis counters the use of images of veiled women as 'evidence' that Muslims and Islam are incompatible with Western modernity and offers another, richer view of women in veils." — Bel Jacobs

"Lewis's book cheerfully celebrates the confidence of these Muslim women, Peeking into the sanctuary of their subculture and carefully documenting their experience. It is an intelligent and serious study, abstemiously refraining from inferences, criticisms or generalizations, and yet unmistakably polemical too in the quiet case it makes against the idea of an archaic Islam conventionally positioned as antithetical to modernity."  — Shahidha Bari, TLS

"Intersecting issues of religion, youth culture and class, Lewis presents a fascinating picture of what Islamic fashion looks like in Muslim minority countries such as France, the United States and the United Kingdom.... Lewis’s book is grounded in her personal experience, archival work of many years and some very rich ethnography making this a key text on Muslim fashion for many years to come." — Rohit K Dasgupta, Clothing Cultures

"Written by a pioneering scholar of gender and Orientalism, Muslim Fashion is one of the most important recent publications in the growing field of Islamic fashion studies. Analyzing the consumption practices of practicing Muslims in Turkey and diasporic communities in Europe, the book would also be of interest for scholars of Europe and the Middle East. With its interdisciplinary approach, rigorous methodology, and elaborate theoretical framework, Muslim Fashion asks new questions about the constitution of Muslim subjectivities and the everyday experience of Islam."
  — Rüstem Ertug Altinay, Europe Now

"With Muslim Fashion, Reina Lewis makes a rich and welcome contribution to a growing body of interdisciplinary scholarship that explores religiously motivated modes of dressing as evolving, complex and dynamic acts intertwining individual choice, fashion trends and conceptions of piety. . . . Ambitious in both theoretical and topical scope, Muslim Fashion deftly illuminates the multiplicity of approaches to pious dress that constitute Muslim modernities." — Ann Marie Leshkowich, International Journal of Fashion Studies

"The book is a significant contribution to ethnic, gender, cultural, Middle East and migration studies. It will greatly benefit graduate and undergraduate college students in these fields. It is also an attractive topic to general readers who want to learn about Muslim fashion away from the dominant polarized politics about Islam and Muslims in the West." — Enaya H. Othman, Ethnic and Racial Studies

"Through a rich ethnography of Muslim consumers, fashion professionals and media operatives – across a range of entwined religious and secular fashionscapes – Lewis shows that the liminality of a new generation of Muslims is, rather, not a type of crisis, but instead a unique source of competence and cultural capital. . . . Through this invaluable and detailed study, Lewis furthermore contributes to the growing wealth of literature that sympathetically considers the everyday practise and expression of religion through material culture. Muslim Fashion synthesises many relevant cross-disciplinary concerns and will no doubt be widely recognised as a landmark publication." — Carl Morris, Religion, State and Society

"Lewis is a formidable theoretician and her writing style reflects the complex scholarly foundations of her argument. Lewis’s theoretical fluency is precisely what makes this study so strong." — Carolyn Goffman, Journal of Contemporary Religion

"The book is an example of transnational and transmedia ethnography at its best, as it moves between countries and medias to discuss the evolution of a Muslim aesthetics of the body as expressed in emerging Muslim fashions." — Alec Balasescu, Journal of Middle East Women's Studies

"Based on interviews and observations in stores and on the streets, among clothing manufacturers, company managers, media makers, and consumers, Muslim Fashion is impressively thorough." — Eileen Boris, Feminist Studies

"Gracefully interweaving hijab and veiling into historical, political, legal, and cultural contexts, Reina Lewis delves deeply into the everyday style, fashion, and dress of young Muslim women.  Lewis captures a dynamic moment in time—transnationally and comparatively—and offers keen insights into the variations and intersectionalities of religion, ethnicity, class, gender, generation, and nation. Muslim Fashion is an extraordinary book and an exemplary model of a feminist cultural studies approach to fashion."  — Susan B. Kaiser, author of Fashion and Cultural Studies

"Reina Lewis discusses Muslim dress as fashion in the United Kingdom and its networks elsewhere, eschewing its reception in mainstream media as a sign of ahistorical and unmodern identity. Lewis’ previous scholarship on gendered Orientalism and academic post in fashion studies situates her in the best position to handle this delicate topic, and she admirably achieves to maintain both a critical distance and emphatic proximity to her subject. This is a must read for anyone interested in the visual and politico-economic analyses of Muslim fashion in relation to multiple fashion systems, as well as an ethnographic study of young women who live in Britain among a minority Muslim population." — Esra Ackan, author of Architecture in Translation: Germany, Turkey, and the Modern House

"Muslim Fashion is an important book by an international authority about Muslim fashion, and yet it manages to convey insights that will be of interest across a wide range of disciplines. It is one of those relatively rare books that manages to be methodologically rigorous, while also being theoretically sophisticated. Readable, engaging, thoughtful, lively, and accessible, this book is a landmark publication for our understanding of contemporary Muslim experiences, and offers fascinating insights into the worlds of consumers and producers of Muslim fashion."  — Sophie Gilliat-Ray, author of Muslims in Britain


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Price: $29.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Reina Lewis is Professor of Cultural Studies at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, and the author of Rethinking Orientalism: Women, Travel and the Ottoman Harem.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix

Introduction. Veils and Sales  1

1. From Multiculture to Multifaith: Consumer Culture and the Organization of Rights and Resources  35

2. The Commercialization of Islamic Dress: Selling and Marketing Tessettür in Turkey and Beyond  69

3. Muslim Lifestyle Magazines: A New Mediascape  109

4. Taste and Distinction: The Politics of Style  163

5. Hijabi Shop Workers in Britain: Muslim Style Knowledge as Fashion Capital?  199

6. Modesty Online: Commerce and Commentary on the Net  237

7. Commodification and Community  287

Conclusion  317

Notes  323

References  331

Index  365
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5934-0 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5914-2
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