Alia Khan’s Talks Modest Fashion and Breaking Stereotypes
Written by: Nikoleta Morales
Alia Khan, founder and chairwoman of Islamic Fashion and Design Council, spoke with Cultured Focus Magazine about modest fashion as a means to break stereotypes and boundaries. Modest fashion appeals to a faith based consumer. According to Khan, it has a significant spending power of over 300 billion dollars a year. She also spoke about how social media has played a role in the spread and popularity of modest fashion.
“People started to appreciate it ‘modest fashion’ as another form of art and expression. Social media is an effective tool helping them to find others and encouraging them on this journey”, she said.
Khan said that a lot of important milestones were achieved because modest fashion has been taken seriously. Even though the Arab population is an important audience, it is still considered a minority. It is the second largest spending power in the world. “When you learn their special inclination towards style, it has the ability to become infectious.” Some Abaya’s have been adapted for the Western market, including interesting fusion choices, such as Japanese Kimono meets Abaya.
Modest fashion applies to all types of women like women in leadership positions, women who are dedicated to motherhood and relationships, women who stand up as an example in society, among many. “They choose their style based on who they are. They are not trying to do it to be trendy,” she said. “I see beautiful depth in character that is not driven by external approval, leaving behind a value system. The way they choose to dress reflects individuality.”
Khan said her organization started to get approached by the media in order to break the stereotypes that don't have exposure, as well as, the misunderstanding that a woman who wears a scarf is oppressed, which is the furtherest from the truth. “It gave us a beautiful opportunity to reintroduce Islam and the Muslim profile”, she said. “We are elegant and we have a sense of style, and it is our choice to dress modestly. There is a process when you wear a hijab. There is a ‘hijab on the tongue’. We view it as an elevated character and type of human being who is trying their best and who is trying not to contribute negatively to the world. It became part of the narrative. It doesn't start and stop with fashion”, Khan noted.
“I think that the media plays a key role and honest media plays a more key role. Media that is interested in really presenting a balanced approach deserves our support. Anyone that tries to take a sincere interest in the topic, like Cultured Focus Magazine, and present information to the audience is very important. This is how we get the message across and rebrand Islam, the Muslim consumer, and person. Modest fashion opens soft doors to be better heard. I encourage you in your work and topics to create this understanding between cultures and differences in people. It is such a beautiful platform to further develop. I hope you keep doing it. It is so important what you are doing!”
Enjoy the full interview with Alia Khan here courtesy of Cultured Focus Television.
For more on Alia Khan and the Islamic Fashion and Design Council, visit ifdc.org Photo credit: The Zay Initiative/Alia Khan