Traditional Islamic dress for women, particularly headwear, is a topic often surrounded by misconceptions and assumptions including fierce debate about oppression and subjugation.

It's not always recognised that there are huge differences in the way Islamic women dress, particularly in Australia where there's a great deal of cultural diversity.

An Australian exhibition is choosing to celebrate that diversity by showcasing Muslim designers and their work.

One of the exhibition's curators, Tasneem Chopra, says it aims to overcome a range of stereotypes.

"Often people see the scarf and not the person .. So what this exhibition does, is it certainly uses fashion as a hook to get people in, because the fashions are beautiful, they're glamorous, they're colourful. They're very contemporary, but modest at the same time", Ms Chopra said.

The exhibition is called "Faith, Fashion, Fusion: Muslim women's style in Australia".

It was first developed by Sydney's Powerhouse Museum and is also at Melbourne's Immigration Museum.

Ms Chopra says the exhibition is about more than fashion.

"Once they're in, they actually see another whole dimension to the exhibition which is .. women who've achieved spectacular things in their own right".

"We have poets, academics, writers, sports stars, a marathon runner, a Masterchef contestant. We have a gamut of women portrayed, all of whom are Muslim, some of whom may look Muslim, others not necessarily. And that's the whole point", Ms Chopra said.

It's not just the fact that Australian Muslims come from many different countries and cultures that makes the Australian context unique.

It's also the changes in style that Australian Muslim women and designers, many of whom were born in Australia, have chosen to adopt.

"It is a democratic country here. We have the freedom of choice to express our views, our dress code, that other countries don't", Ms Chopra said.

"I think where laws exist that .. impose a dress code, there are prohibitive laws, where headscarves are banned or where headscarves are imposed. I think that takes away from the human rights of women across the world - be it Saudi Arabia, be it Turkey, be it France, be it Belgium," she said.

The most controversial Islamic headwear is the niqab and burqa which cover most or all of the head and face.

Ms Chopra says both get a disproportionate amount of attention in Western countries, given that hardly any women wear them.

"I don't think I've ever seen a woman in a burqa in Australia that's covering of the entire face. I've seen women wear the niqab .. the numbers are so miniscule", she said.

Ms Chopra says the exhibition shows the creativity of designers and their skills in adapting a wide range of styles to outfits that will appeal to Islamic women.

"As one of our designers says .. she sees an amazing outfit, she really wants to wear it and the first thing she thinks of is, "How can I hijabify that?"".

The exhibition will run at Melbourne's Immigration Museum until June next year.

About News.net

Publishing Services International Limited (PSIL) is the publisher and operator of a worldwide network of online news sites dedicated to delivering fair, accurate and relevant reporting from a variety of the world’s most trusted sources – from the biggest cities to the smallest towns.

We deliver positive and powerful messages to our readers, providing up‑to‑the‑second news that matters to the individual.

Our promise is to serve communities and individuals worldwide, delivering information that hasn’t always been available to them. We will give them back a voice – a voice that’s empowering because it is theirs – and provide a platform to communicate between themselves and the world.

We believe people are not just generic demographics; they are individuals with their own preferences and curiosities. We are about understanding these individuals, listening to them, and serving them.

We are the new pioneering spirit of news – we’re not talking to everyone, we’re talking with every one.

If you want your news, your voice, your way, on your time – we’ve got news for you.

 

FAQs

Email

If you have any questions or concerns please email us on support@news.net

Phone

  • Australia, Toll Free 1-800-983-421
  • Hong Kong, Toll Free 800-906-187
  • Singapore, Toll Free 800-852-3871
  • USA/Canada, Toll Free 1-800-830-4132

Advertise With Us

Interested in being awesome?
Contact us by email or phone.

Cancel