Faith, fashion, fusion: Muslim Women’s Style in Australia
You have heard of a fashionista but what about a hijabista? The latest exhibition at the Immigration Museum Faith, fashion, fusion: Muslim women’s style in Australia sheds light on an intriguing corner of a multimillion-dollar fashion industry we rarely hear about.
Opening 10 October 2013, Faith, fashion, fusion: Muslim Women’s Style in Australia showcases the Muslim designers and fashion entrepreneurs whose work is bringing modest couture to the forefront of contemporary Australian fashion.
“Many of these labels were founded by Muslim women whose own experience of finding fashionable head scarves was either limited or non-existent, and this led them to start designing and making their own clothes. This includes a designer who creates high-end dresses inspired by pop star Rihanna, to the swimwear designer who created the one and only Burqini®,” said Padmini Sebastian, Immigration Museum Manager.
Their clients, the new fashionistas, or hijabistas as many call themselves, use blogs and social media to find out the new fashion trends worldwide. These fashion blogs offer tips on how to make popular fashion comply with the Muslim dress code. Melbourne fashion designer and blogger Zulfiye, who is featured in the exhibition, describes this process as “hijabifying”. Known online as the “Hijab Stylist”, Zulfiye is one of the stars of the Melbourne Muslim fashion scene with thousands of people following her every move on social media.
With nearly 38 per cent of Muslim Australians born in Australia, “modest fashion” is part of a new culture being carved out by a community which fuses faith and beliefs with Australian cultural identity.
This fusion is showcased throughout the exhibition from the striking image of surf lifesaver Mecca Laalaa standing proudly in her custom designed Australian Surf Life Saving Burqini®, to the Western Sydney Auburn Tigers female AFL football team that is made up of players from diverse cultures and whose uniforms allow for among other things, the wearing of a head scarf.
A number of high profile Australian Muslim women are profiled in the exhibition, offering personal insights to their lives through a selection of photographs, treasured objects and interviews. These women include sociologist and former Australian Muslim of the Year, Susan Carland, a Director of the Islamic Museum of Australia, Sherene Hassan, Senior Lecturer of Media and Journalism at UNSW Dr Nasya Bahfen, and award winning writer Randa Abdel-Fattah.
“The exhibition truly reflects the diversity of the Muslim female experience in Australia from artists, activists to academics, and of course fashionistas,” says Tasneem Chopra, the curator of the Melbourne content for the exhibition.
The Immigration Museum is proud to host the Victorian premiere of Faith, fashion, fusion which is a travelling exhibition developed by Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. Entry is free with Museum admission.
Faith, fashion, fusion: Muslim Women’s Style in Australia - 10 October 2013 to 9 July 2014
Immigration Museum, 400 Flinders Street, Melbourne
Adults $10, children and concessions FREE