Rebranding Modest Wear as Trendy
Fashion is an extremely dynamic form of self-expression that keeps shifting and oscillating all the time. Nowadays, people seem to be jumping from one fashion trend to another, and it's sort of a direct manifestation of the bandwagon effect. The trends in fashion evolve and die pretty easily, and they can also come back to the starting point and get revived. One such trend is modest fashion, which is promoted by different religions but also scorned and discouraged by many people (not necessarily belonging to a certain religion.) But whenever a famous public figure or a celebrity wears something that is seemingly out of fashion, out of trend, eccentric or quirky, the whole fashion industry goes haywire, and everyone starts replicating their style and clothing articles.
The Bandwagon Effect in Action
Modesty or modest fashion was never openly encouraged by the western fashion industry. Still, it's been on trend for quite some time, especially after it has been reclaimed by famous gen z's music icons like Billie Eilish and famous public figures like Amal Clooney and Kate Middleton. But the message they are sending out to the world by dressing modestly — defying excessive objectification of women and femme form — is what Muslim women and other religious people have been spelling out for ages. A few decades ago, no one seemed to care about modest fashion, but now suddenly, everyone's trying to wear clothes with big proportions, full coverage, and lose fitting, just because one white celebrity decided to do it. The very people who inculcated and spoon-fed the world the idea that modest clothing is old-fashioned and conservative are now making it trending.
Why Remarketing Modest Wear Can Be Damaging?
Being inspired to do something merely because they align with your values and principles is one thing, but following a trend blindfolded just because everybody else is doing it is a completely different thing, and you may run the risk of harming the original and true intent behind that thing. Dressing modestly has both spiritual and secular, feminist and private reasons that merge together and emanate from the same principles. A modest dresser doesn't dress the way she does because she wants to keep up with a short-lived fad. She only practices modesty in her clothing choices because she wants to present herself in a distinguished and graceful manner.
Objectification of women is so widespread in our society that our self-perception doesn't come from our own selves but from others, especially men. And it demeans and distorts the concept as vast as feminity and reduces it into a very degrading and undignified version of feminity that boils down to women only being seen as a sexual object. The religious practices of Muslims are in line with bodily autonomy. That means that Muslim women who practice modesty have full control over their bodies, and they get to choose how they want to appear to the world. That itself is empowering and frees them from the shackles of the distorted lens of media and the fashion industry.
When The Façade of Inclusivity Comes Down
Wearing modest clothes, like loose-fitting, baggy silhouettes and full covering, airy garbs was never the bone of contention. After all, this is actually what's been rebranded as trendy by the fashion world. But the argument arises when a Muslim woman wants to cover her head and buys hijab or wears an opaque black abaya. The disparity is all the more manifest when a Muslim woman wears a headscarf and strolls outside. She gets snide remarks and is often looked down upon by people; at worst, she can even become the victim of a hate crime. But if she wears something similar to an Israeli tichel, then suddenly people start minding their own businesses. This kind of discrimination against a marginalized group has proven to have dangerous effects on society as a whole.
It's empowering for a woman to simply exercise her lifestyle choices in line with her beliefs, and that also includes having the freedom to wear whatever she wants. And in order to do to bring about some change, some people must be confronted about how complicit they have been in perpetually hate and discrimination, and false values.