HijabFest Explores Muslim Fashion

The word hijab can be defined as a veil or a scarf that mainly Muslim women use to cover their heads, but it can have a much broader meaning which is to have modesty in how one dresses, behaves and interacts.

Approximately 400 Muslim women of all ages and diverse ethnic backgrounds participated in this ladies-only event.

The theme of the event was, “What does Hijab mean to you? A celebration of the empowerment that hijab brings.”

The event included various demonstrations and workshops on hijab, inspirational talks, a fashion show, and shopping, which brought together fashion designers, community leaders and American Muslim women.
Due to the growing population of Muslims in the Tri-State area there has been an increased demand for fashionable clothing, styles and accessories which incorporates a sense of modesty.

Dr. Shadee ElMasry, the Director of Religious Education and Community Development at NBIC, came up with the idea more than a year ago, said Rabeeha Khan, one of the event organizers.

She said he saw that there were negative perceptions, stereotypes and discrimination related to the hijab and he wanted to bring a positive view to it.

“I think this event is really important because I think, in this day in society where women are constantly looked at as objects, for us Muslim women, we are empowered through our hijab. I think these events are necessary to remind younger girls and even older women who wear the hijab or dress modestly, that we are beautiful,” said Sufia Masood, 24, from Marlboro in Monmouth County. “We should accept our hijab and our way of dress whole-heartedly, and this is a perfect event to empower one another to do so.”

“I feel it is important because hijab represents to me modesty, faith and love.” said attendee, Annese Higgs, when asked, “What does Hijab mean to you?”

Ms. Higgs said she came to the Islamic faith about two years ago and is still learning about Islam and wanted to spend the day with other women of her faith.

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