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by Yasmin Moll
color, 23 min, 2009
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When most Americans think of the Islamic veil, the image of Afghan women in blue burkas or the black chador of the Islamic Republic of Iran may come to mind. But what about the Muslim-American woman who easily combines her headscarf with jeans or haute couture gowns?
Fashioning Faith takes a behind the scenes look at the emerging world of Islamic fashion and US-based clothing designers who make it possible. The film interweaves interviews and verité footage from a diverse array of Muslim women with one goal in common – to express their faith through fashion.
Nzinga Knight is a young Brooklynite who has won fashion accolades for her modest evening dresses – a first for the Islamic style market in America. Jenneh Williams has been in the Islamic retail business for decades, recently opening up her own boutique in Queens that caters to the growing number of black converts to Islam. Sabrina Enayatulla is a blogger fashionista with a mission – to change negative stereotypes of Islam through stylish creations. Brooke Samad hopes that her pious clothing collection will hit home with young professional Muslims looking for new alternatives to traditional garb, while the designers of the Eva Khurshid label seek to attract all Americans — regardless of creed — to their stylish clothing by making modesty the new mainstream.
Through these women's stories, Fashioning Faith takes viewers on a colorful exploration of a world where fashion and faith fuse with often surprising results.
“An excellent film for introductory anthropology courses. At one level, Fashioning Faith is a primer on Muslim women in the United States and the fact that they actually freely choose to wear modest clothing. But at a deeper level, for anthropology courses this film offers teachers an opportunity to explore more deeply how gender empowerment does not necessarily equate to encouraging women to compete with men. …Fashioning Faith shows us how gender segregation sanctions women's economic empowerment through means that most Americans would mistakenly consider singularly repressive.”
— Carolyn Rouse, Current Anthropology, Vol. 53, No. 3 (June 2012), pp. 368-366
Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
American Anthropological Association / Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival, 2012
Davis Feminist Film Festival, U.S.A., 2012
Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 2010
MESA Annual FilmFest, Boston, MA, 2009
Fashion Matters: Fashion and Faith Series, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, 2009
Docs on the Edge Screenings, New York University, NYC, 2009
View more photos on www.flickr.com
(un)veiled: Muslim Women Talk about Hijab