The Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Journal Collection offers an annual award for newly published research or thinking that has been recognized to be outstanding by members of the Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Research Network.
Debates regarding visible Islamic practices in the West and particularly in European secular spaces reflect the tensions related to religious expression in the public sphere. Assumptions are often being made on the meaning of these practices leading to speculations on the willingness of young Muslims to be fully part of society at large. However, Islam and its practices are not immune to global cultural, individualist, consumerist, and neoliberal trends. This paper thus explores the new dynamics characterizing Islamic dress so as to reveal that far from separating themselves from society at large, young Muslims in the West adopt Islamic forms of Islamic dress that are reinterpreted in light of these consumerists, cultural, and neoliberal trends. Therefore, young Muslims do not showcase a closed identity but on the contrary, display different layers of identity translated into hybrid dressing practices. The paper focuses on two case studies of hybrid expressions: modest fashion and Muslim streetwear.
Orientalist conceptions, particularly in the media or in political discourses, occasionally continue to convey essentialist depictions of Muslim minorities in the West in a context of heavy securitization. This is particularly true of Muslim female clothing practices despite the numerous academic contributions in the field deconstructing these essentialist readings.
This article seeks to contribute to these deconstructions by embedding dressing practices adopted by Muslim youth in the context of Islamic fashion so as to reflect on global trends which also affect Islam and its practice, especially the neoliberal dynamics reflected in consumerism. I argue that taking into account these dynamics helps to shed light on the different layers of identity and conceptions of modernity that wearers of Islamic fashion claim in non-Muslim and secular societies.
Drawing on voices from the Islamic fashion sphere and the messages conveyed by products of Muslim streetwear, this article emphasizes Islamic Fashion and Muslim Streetwear as hybrid products resulting from the interactions of neoliberal and postmodern globalizing trends, namely, consumerism and individualization.
Finally, this article also reflects my continuing interest in exploring the various experiences of Muslims living in non-Muslim societies.
— Imène Ajala
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