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Women undercover: exploring the intersectional identities of Muslim women through modest fashion

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posted on 2021-05-23, 14:15 authored by Romana B. Mirza
Significant discrimination is directed toward Muslim women who dress modestly. Despite this Muslims will spend an estimated US$75 billion on modest fashion by 2020, a 70% increase since 2015. Past research in modest fashion has focused on influencers, the industry, or on veiling. Muslim women’s everyday dress practices and their lived experiences have not been studied. Through an intersectional framework, this research uses wardrobe interviews with sixteen Muslim women and digital storytelling with four of them to explore how they embody their identity through modest fashion, how intersectionality impacts their clothing choices, and what contexts influence their sartorial decisions. Three themes emerged: what influences their style; how they shop and style outfits; and what consequences are faced. My research found that by prioritizing modesty as a sartorial practice, these women are diverting the Western gaze, navigating away from superficial and oppressive Western beauty ideals, and challenging narrow Islamophobic stereotypes. Keywords: modesty, female modesty, sartorial agency, dressed bodies, fashion, hijab, Muslim, Islamophobia, intersectionality, fashion diversity, Western gaze, Orientalism





Master of Arts



Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type