I’ve been waiting to share an unforgettable and very meaningful collaboration I did with a fellow fashion blogger named Jessica Moore from the Missmoorestyle.com blog. A few weeks ago Jessica reached out to me bothered by the highly Islamophobic political climate which led her to realize that she did not know anyone who was Muslim. Religious, racial, and social injustices toward minority groups is something she does not tolerate so she wanted to do something about it. Not only was she looking to get to know a Muslim, she wanted to learn more about the headscarf and why Muslim women wear it. We also thought it would be a good idea to not just get to know each other but to also demonstrate how a Muslim and Christian woman would style the same item: overalls.
I really appreciated Jessica’s honesty and courage to step outside of her comfort zone by getting to know someone from a group of people that have been highly misrepresented and villainized throughout the media as opposed to simply accepting the rampant misinformation about Islam as truth. She wanted to dig deeper, and that we did. We had very candid conversations about our backgrounds, our families, our religious dispositions, and of course our favorite fashions and fancies. It didn’t take long before we realized how much we had in common. We are both originally from the East Coast – she’s from Tennessee and I’m from Northern Virginia. We’re both the same age with birthdays in May - mine on the 19th and hers on the 23rd! (of course I had to add that in there haha). We both attend a UC – she’s an undergraduate student at the University of California Los Angeles and I’m a PhD student at the University of California Riverside, and above all we’re both fans of all things fashion ;-)
Jessica comes from a conservative background where modesty was an important value her parents taught her growing up. This helps us understand how modesty is not just unique to Muslims but rather for women of other faiths such as Christianity and Judaism. She was curious as to why Muslim women wear the hijab and if they are forced to wear it because she was under the impression that that could be a possibility. I explained to her that the hijab represents our commitment to God and our belief in the tenet of modesty in its physical, material, and spiritual aspects. I also explained that though there may be some women in the world that are not wearing it out of their own conviction most do wear it out of personal choice, and I am certainly one of them. She was intrigued to learn that the hijab can be viewed as a feminist statement of a woman’s claim to her own body and how she chooses to be represented.
We both learned a lot from each other but the most meaningful thing we both walked away with aside from our wonderful new friendship was just how powerful relationships are in breaking barriers and fixing misconceptions. Jessica isn’t alone when she says that she doesn’t know anyone who’s Muslim. Data shows that almost 60% of Americans don’t know some who’s Muslim so it’s no surprise why Islamophobia is at an all-time high in the United States. My message to you is to step outside of your comfort zone and make new friends that are different from you. It’s a simple message but you’d be surprised to realize how naturally prone we are to surround ourselves with people that are similar to us religiously and culturally. You’d be surprised how much you can learn and broaden your world perspective just from one relationship.
And now for the fashions of course! We both chose to style overalls because it’s such a staple piece. I explained to Jessica that hijab requires that I cover all parts of my body with the exception of the hands and face. When I get dressed the most important thing I’m looking to achieve is coverage in the right places, especially the hip and chest area. If my pants are too tight I will throw a long vest over it for extra coverage (vests are the best hacks!) I also like my outfits to not look like I’m trying to be modest, I want it to appear natural. I went for more of an edgy look and chose to pair it with a white blouse and a sky blue knit crop sweater. I pulled the sleeves of the sweater up so that the white blouse could stand out and create some two-tone action. I finished the look with suede booties. As for Jessica’s look, she went for more of a fun and funky look by pairing her overalls with a gingham blouse with ruffled sleeve that went together so unexpectedly. I especially loved her pom pom earrings that were waaay too cute! She finished the look with floral pumps for an extra hint of action.
I hope this post inspires you in some regard. I’d love to hear how you all have been dealing with the rampant Islamophobia and ways to combat it? Leave a comment below! And don't forget to watch the video above for the full interview!
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